The Hunt for Red October

33395895.jpgOctober has become synonymous with combo swells, Santa Anna winds, and wildfires for Southern California in recent years. The trend continues in 2007. Spencer Skipper, Ross McBride, Eddie Solomon, Nelz Vellocido, and Rusty Friesen led a crew of boogie heavy hitters who escaped the smoke and flames and ventured southward. What they got in return was pure Santa Anna gold. And with Flindt and McBride shooting megapixels, they were only a Kelly and Bar scuffle away from a full-on surf paparazzi firestorm.

They were not alone as we received reports of good waves running from SD to Orange County, Ventura, and all the way to the Bay Area. Up in The City Adam Terpening, Mark Miller, and Alex Statom rode the very same swell with a visiting Willie Richerson to similar results. Hope you got your share while it lasted.

Ben DeCamp was born on a salt pond in Rhode Island, fends off bikini models named Pocahontas, and is inspired by hermits. He cracked open his growing vault of photographs in our newest interview/etcetera feature.

Link of the Week: Another San Diego bodyboarder/photographer has a new site to showcase his skills behind the lens:

Guest: DeCamp


How long have you been shooting for and how did you get interested in photography to begin with?
I’ve been taking photos since I was 5 years old, but shooting surf seriously for about 3 years. My Dad had a ring-flash setup that he busted out during the middle of surgery to take photos of organs, bones, ligaments, etc. After seeing a few surgeries, and the stars swirling above my head, I knew I wasn’t going to become Dr. DeCamp Jr.

What does your current camera setup consist of?
I keep an exact copy of my water setup, in case the housing floods and I’m on a trip. I use all Canon bodies and mostly Canon lenses. It’s not really the equipment that’s important because I’ve taken some shocking photos with a $20 Holga and a roll of medium format.

You were raised in Rhode Island but now you live in San Diego. What’s to like about each coast?
Back home I live on a salt pond, it’s really quiet and I can kayak to the beach. Only about 5 cars drive down my street each day. I think people are less jaded on the East Coast because it doesn’t get that good often and when it does the whole world stops, surfers lose their jobs, and girlfriends are discarded. I love San Diego for the powerful surf, the ridiculous amount of beautiful girls, and how close it is to Hawaii, Puerto, etc. To think about how my life would be if I didn’t move out here to go to school is pretty trippy. I’d still be slumming it in a 6/5/4 riding alone in blizzards, but not involved in any of this surf photography.

You recently visited Mainland Mexico over the summer. How did that trip go over and where do you plan on traveling to next?
It was my first time down there and I went with Chad “Stickman” Stickney, he gave me the grand tour which I greatly appreciate. I made a lot of friends with the locals, a bikini model we call Pocahontas fell in love with me, and I learned the true meaning of riptides. Heck I have an article we can just put up on your site, the mishaps and disasters could take up this entire interview!

I hear that you’re currently finishing up a bachelor’s in philosophy at UCSD. What made you go with philosophy?
The Economics classes are so hard to get into, I once slept on a boogie in front of the department building to be first in line for free slots in a class. But Philosophy was always something that interested me because it’s given me a new world view, and helped me out a lot with relaxing in heavy situations. I’m actually working on two new innovations with surf photography that I probably wouldn’t have conceived of otherwise. Obviously there’s no job being dangled from a string at the conclusion of this schooling, but it’s helped me grow as a person, something I didn’t think the Econ major would do.

You were rocking an insanely grotesque beard for a while. How come she get taken away?
For some reason I can’t shave against the grain, so I decided to sport the facial fuzz. The amount of maintenance to keep that thing in a somewhat groomed condition led to all kinds of beard/mustache trimmer purchases. People thought I was in my late 20’s. I got rid of it because I was tired of finding cereal, sand, and seaweed lodged in it. Also only the creepy chicks liked it.

How was the experience of building housings with Sean Labrie at SPL in San Diego?
Working at SPL was really rewarding because I have a a new appreciation for how laborious it is to produce those devices. It was wild seeing some of my photographic idols come through the doors, working on their equipment, and breathing in lots of glue fumes. If you bought a Canon 30d or Mark II housing in the last couple months, there’s a good chance I had some part in its production.

Lastly, who are your inspirations in the bodyboarding world and in life in general?
In bodyboarding I definitely look up to my good friends and longtime LJ locals Ron McAdams, Craig Timmons, and Terry Upton. Ron has consistently pushed my comfort zone with riding bigger waves and paddling out to heavy waves in the dark. Craig is like my 2nd father, he’s so supportive of all my endeavors. I have Thanksgiving with him each year and play croquet with his wife. Terry is pretty bizarre. He’s one of the biggest chargers I’ve met. The amount of fights he gets into (and doesn’t lose) all in the name of holding down a single patch of reef along the coast is pretty deadly. These three guys could care less if you cross your legs on a wave or if you’re wearing some brand. It reminds me of when I was innocent and pure riding straight to the beach, and just enjoying riding a wave without all of the politics. They are the original SD boogies and to show that kind of longevity and dedication to a break for 30 or more years are amazing qualities you can apply to anything in life.

Outside of bodyboarding, I’m inspired by people who have turned their backs on society and lived their lives as hermits, something that a lot of people only dream about and then wake up in their cubicle. One of my favorite novels is “An Island to Oneself” by Tom Neale. He basically moved to an island on Fiji and didn’t talk to anyone for years at a time and kept a journal. He points out how we become caught up in social requirements like fashion, materialism, and peer acceptance. Neale claims in reality we should be focusing more on our own existence through active meditation and reflection. That might be heavy for some of you so basically he supports minimalist living on an island, drinking coconuts, and surfing some long barreling point break you discovered.

Thanks for looking at my photos and showcasing my work with the Rookies.


Derek Dunfee, San Diego. I had been trying for this angle for a long time to show the crease in the reef on the take off and the dry reef on the inside.

This is one of the best preserved ghost towns in the world in Northern Chile, it’s like walking onto the set of a western movie. It hasn’t rained in over 25 years, and the water tower I’m standing on proved that…empty.

Chad Stickney, West Coast. I’ve been on a couple trips with this nut, before we rounded the bend he had to go find some goodies he hid in a cactus months earlier. We came around the corner and surfed this by ourselves.

Lance McCann, San Diego. One of the original boogies in the area. This is a spot rarely surfed or photographed because of heavy localism. I was getting out of the water down the coast in the pouring rain and to my surprise he yelled for me to swim over.

This is Pipeline on New Year’s Eve 2006. One of the cleanest days I’ve seen. I was hanging on the inside trying to shoot the empties that snuck by the pack, and paid the price after this one when a 2nd reef set rolled through.

While the circus was unfolding in Arica, I posted up a few hours away. The tall building on the left was my apartment for a couple months.

A lot of the spots have pretty sketchy keyholes to paddle through the reef. This one was no exception. After this photo I jumped in and stepped on an urchin.

Rotting fish intestines are good bait.

Alex Wittmann. The relentless clouds. The time I spent in Chile I was forced to learn flash photography. This local was religious about showing up early and would pull into anything for me, he and his family showed huge hospitality towards me for which I’m eternally grateful.

Simon Bell. Puerto gold.

We’re Really Californy

Calls were made for more Warthen and more Warthen we are giving. We might be beating a dead horse on this one but what else is going on related to boogieboards these days that isn’t wrung through the msg board in a matter of minutes? In tonight’s episode the Adolescence enigma took down the supposed top golfer on the show – Hiroshi Matsuo – in a one hole reality faceoff. Although the azn dude’s unconventional putt from the depths had me worried (and mildly humored), Warthen sunk his 5 footer with ease and scored critical points for his team of hodge-podge golfing hopefuls. Somewhere in a gritty Grover City bar (Mongos?) towels were waived, beers were cheered, and Warthen was king of the 805 for the day. Here is his intro from the first epsiode which will double as our link of the week:

P.S. – Swell on the way and accompanying updates to come.

Radar Love

Well John Lindsey ain’t going nowhere. Here’s an excerpt from a mass email sent from the Director of Nuclear Communications:

I am pleased to announce that John Lindsey will be joining the Nuclear Communications team as a Corporate Relations Representative effective Monday, October 15. In this role, John will support community education programs, coordinate station involvement in community events and volunteerism, and support the plant tour program. John will also continue to provide his weather forecast to the community via existing relationships with local media and directly to community members via e-mail. John clearly has been an effective representative of Diablo Canyon and PG&E in the community over the years and I look forward to leveraging John’s talents in this new role to add even greater value as we expand our community outreach efforts.

His first forecast back in the saddle looks promising as well. Swirling purple-eyed monsters are on the charts in the north Pacific for this coming week which should shake things up along the California coastline. We received a few gems chronicled by grom videographer Ryan Hoover from the past series of swells as well. If this is any indication of what’s to come we could be in for a good winter. Check San Francisco boosting, Los Osos snapping, Branch Mill lurking, and Roman Candles just plain lighting it up.

crew.jpgIn local news we got Murdock stepping up to the Hawaii plate. He’ll be moving out there at month’s end to setup shop with an ex-lifeguard doing oddjobs along the North Shore and surfing his brains out this winter. Be on guard for some updates from the Rock coming shortly. Kellen Keene has been splicing his busy schedule between shooting Chad Jackson for his standup release, Cale Moore for his boogie release, and selling baby Jesus offerings to the groms. And that’s not even counting his new Los Osos yoga informational video!?! He leaves for Mexico in 12 days and will be premiering The Dawn along with Zach Nicholas on November 23rd. Check back here in the coming weeks for more details. Sandy Sphincter made it down to SD last weekend. He’s enjoying his new lavish lifestyle as an Acutane spokesperson and got a few fun waves in down south, although he admits it has nothing on Huasna. Frankie Robles is mirroring cousin Louie’s footsteps on the dk scene in Pizzy. He was spotted getting some Baby Seal goodness on the last series of swells when not cuffed to the chowder station for his new job at PBF&C. Ruben Nunez’s comp had a little hiccup but that hasn’t stopped him from shooting. Here’s a few pics from Randall’s little bachelor BBQ get together. Ruben will be in full effect next month at Randall’s wedding on Maui. Speaking of weddings, we also found a few(!) pics from Burkfart’s wedding over the summer. This guy has been all over the world this past year shooting for various publications so look for his work in upcoming mags.

Link of the Week: Asthmatic meets the space.


79-slo-20070927-b001-popularweatherm-53241-mi0001standaloneprod_affiliate76.jpgWe are sad to announce the recent layoff of forecasting guru John Lindsey from Diablo Canyon Power Plant. His Central Coast reports had become a staple to our surfing diets over the years. In a day in age when commercialized internet forecasting has taken over, John added a personable touch with his free telephone reports. From summer flat spells to big wintertime groundswells, he was on the other side of the line providing accurate and reliable information to the general public over the years. His approach was more objective in its quantitative format and he gave us better insight into how weather actually works in his explanations as compared to his corporate counterparts. John will be missed for many swells to come.

On a more upbeat note we finally cracked the vault on the pics from two days of marathon-ing along the Central Coast two weekends ago and included them in Murdock’s write-up. First things first you gotta check this Cale Moore sequence. Thanks again to Cale, Guhs, and Zach for all the eye goodies.

I thought we exhausted all the Mexico talk until next year. Not yet. Kellen, Cale, and Chad Jackson are spearheading a late season return later this month with more in tow. Talk of less crowds and better defined sandbars got the boys frothing for more. Video guy Stickballs is over there right now with photographer Ben DeCamp and some of their goodies have already flooded the net. Word is that Ventura shredder Nick Ostrovsky is gaffing his way down as well.

Willie’s finally back from Nicaragua. He’ll be handling your bags for his new job at the San Luis Obispo Airport. Don’t worry he’ll still have time for the water as evidenced here. He also had time to attend Esteem owner Randall Hamilton’s bachelor party last weekend in Avila. Yes that’s right Randall is biting the bullet and tying the knot. He’ll be doing the deed in Maui in mid-November. We may have to do a full write-up on this event as the crew scheduled for attendance continues to grow.

Lastly, Alex Statom and Adam Terpening sent us an e-postcard from San Fran. Looks like the seasons have changed and Christmas came a little early to the Golden Gate in the form of a very interesting looking wedge.

Link of the Week: October. MLB postseason. NFL regular season. NBA preseason. We’re giving this one to