Last Sunday (July 13) thousands gathered in Newport Beach, CA to pay tribute to Ben Carlson, a lifeguard who gave his life while attempting to rescue a struggling swimmer.
The highly respected 15 year veteran lifeguard got the call and jumped into the water to save the swimmer struggling in the 6-8 foot surf waves. Both men were pulled back into the water by a large wave as they struggled to get back into the rescue boat.
Sadly Ben was pronounced dead after an exhaustive 3-hour search.
If you are unfamiliar with surf culture, when a fellow surfer passes away (either in an accident or non-surfing related cause), the community will organize a memorial service out beyond the surf. Typically they will form a ring, have a moment of silence and throw flowers into the center of the circle. It's been a tradition for years.
Watching the video of the memorial for Ben Carlson above, it makes me wish that the sea kayaking community had a traditional way of mourning those who have passed away as well. I guess we tend to keep things more internal and that's ok but there really is something very powerful about getting the kayak family together and going paddling in someone's honor.
I remember attending a memorial at the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium three years ago for a fellow Great Lakes paddler (and former student of mine) who died doing what he loved. Rev. Bonnie Perry led the short service and spoke about the impact he had inspiring others to get out and live your dreams. I got to admit it was pretty tough one to get through but even while standing on the beach, I remember thinking that this should have taken place out on the water. Bob would have thought that would have been even cooler.
It might be a weird but maybe it's time to brainstorm our own method of mourning the loss of a fellow community member. Any ideas?
Photo credit: Associated Press
While I am by no means a fan of romantic comedies I did enjoy this clip of Jason Segel from Forgetting Sarah Marshall attempting to get a surf lesson from Chuck (or Koonu, his Hawaiian name according to an internet website) who is played by Paul Rudd.
For you paddling instructors out there teaching, the take-away lesson here is to basically do the exact opposite of everything Chuck does and you are guaranteed to be a more effective instructor than him.
All through my teenage years (and pretty much up until mid-last week) I wanted to be a rockstar so bad and the fact that I couldn't play and instrument or sing didn't stop me from dreaming I was Slash in GnR's wicked awesome video for November Rain. I mean how cool is that scene where he leaves the wedding service (half way through!) and walks into the desert just to go play a guitar solo? Both amazing and inspiring.
So with all those rockstar dreams floating around in my head, I always had a little soft-spot for them doing stuff on the water while they are not rocking it out on stage.
Here is a little round-up on rockstars out on stand-up or surf boards:
I can all but guarantee that you are not having as much fun today as this 2-year old boy is when he went out surfing for the first time.
If you didn’t at least smile while watching you have a heart of stone and thus currently dead.
Mark Tipple is a surf photographer who got bored of shooting empty waves so he decided to dive down and see what the waves look like from that perspective. The results are amazing.
Mark is also selling a very limited edition handmade book containing his best photos as part of The Underwater Project. Only 250 of these gems are going to be produced.
More info: theunderwaterproject.com
Photo Credit: Mark Tipple
I don’t really know what to think about this surfboard guitar. I guess it could be practical if you were playing a gig and the bar got flooded out. Other then that I’m not sure… Image Credit: failblog.org
Here is a sweet three minute SUP surfing film for your Friday afternoon. About 1 minute into the film it flips over to footage shoot with the camera strapped to the blade of the SUP paddle. It makes for a very interesting and unique perspective.
This is one amazing piece of surfing footage.
From the official press release: This morning at 2:00am local Hawaii time, professional big wave surfer Mark Visser made history by achieving a night ride on waves measuring 30-40 foot faces off the shores of Maui with specially engineered LED lights built into a buoyancy vest and modified into the surfboard.
Keeping in line with the recent surfing theme, I found this film trailer below. I’m fascinated with surfing but even more then that I’m fascinated with surf films. To me, they seem to be so ahead of kayaking or canoeing films in that the angles are better and they make better use of techniques like slow motion to create those big beautiful sweeps as the surfer goes from left to right across the TV. That’s not to say that there are lots of good sea kayak pieces out there but I will die a happy man if I never see another camera-stuck-to-the-front-deck-facing-backwards kayak surfing film.
Here is the description on the new Fiberglass and Megapixels film that won several cinematography and documentary awards on the film festival circuit.
Fiberglass and Megapixels sheds light on Hawaii's North Shore winter surfing scene and finds the true beauty within the overcrowded image gathering free for all.
The surfing industry relies on these inspiring pictures from Hawaii to sell the surfing lifestyle to the masses. It’s all about the surfing image, and these surfing images must first get in the camera. Fiberglass and Megapixels goes deep as professional surfers, photographers and cinematographers share their perspective on what it takes and what it means to get the shot and be able to live a life completely based around surfing.
This is easily one of the best looking short films I have seen in a long, long time. Put together by renowned photographer and body boarder Mickey Smith, Dark Side of the Lens is a poem set to images and music dealing with his motivations behind surfing and surf photography.
"Originally I planned for the film to be more anonymous, rather than biographical, an all encompassing piece, to represent the photographers keeping the surfing machine afloat", explains Smith. “Something that offers insight into what it takes to grind out a living as a water-based photographer in the surfing industry: a short experimental glimpse at a life lived in the shadow of obsessive photographic pursuits."
Listen for the best quote in the film: "If I only scrape a living, at least it’s a living worth scraping."