Sunday 15th

This years WSL Challenger Series (CS) event was the very first one that would incorporate both the Mens Longboard Tour (MLT) and Women's Longboard Tour (WLT) during the same schedule.

In previous years, the Longboard Tour has been at Noosa around the same time as the Noosa Festival of Surfing. It's been a goal of mine to get up there and shoot some of the long boarding, however, availability never seemed to lined up. Seeing as this year it is literally on my doorstep I knew I had to make some time to get in a few photo sessions during the event.

I was itching to see if there any of the competitors had turned up early, so I started with a warm up swim on Sunday afternoon. I could see a couple of, obviously very good surfers. I entered the water about 50 metres north of the pipe, and despite it being small there was a serious rip draining off the sandbanks and going sideways from Queenscliff around the pipe and into the WSL Pro Juniors competition zone. It was hard to keep in position, it's not normally a problem as I would just drift around, and not worry about it. However, I didn't relish the idea of drifting into the field of play, and a chance being called out over the PA, or worse still - being picked up by the Jet Ski. I got a few shots, swam a lot against the rip and made it back to the beach. I tried my luck further south, but there were no good surfers out.

Kirra Seale from Hawaii

Lucas Garrido Lecca - tip time in the rip bowl

Yea, that pipe was getting in the way

Afternoon light at Queenscliff

Piccolo Clemente Rothfuss - strolling around

Monday 16th - Morning Session

The rough plan was to get up early during the week, get a parking space in Manly and get in the water before sunrise. Hopefully to get some shots, of the pro surfers in the competition area, before the competition starts.

I was parked up early in Queencliff, first light was starting to show on the horizon and it looked like out was going to be a good day (in recent Sydney terms that means it wasn't raining!). The gamble of taking a day of leave looked like it would pay off.

I checked the bank in the competition zone, and it was well attended by what looked like professional surfers on a variety of craft. At least there were waves, small waves and some light offshore winds. I had already prepped my housing and camera to maximise the water time, so I wasn't long before I was feeling the cool and crisp sand between my toes.

Unlike the CT event at Narrabeen in 2021, there were no other water photographers in the line up already, which surprised me. However, not long after I got into the water Mark Morgan turned up. A Queenscliff resident, local legend and one of the finest lensmen around - and all round nice guy too. I bumped into local slab charger, Anne dos Santos, she had a wildcard into the CS event and was getting in some time on the bank, of course and had to ask her about the session at deadman's - if you've not seen the footage, it's pretty Sketchy and impressive at the same time. I stayed as long as I could, and eventually we were give the instructions to clear the zone ahead of the competition running for the day. I swam south, but the high tide was killing most of the banks except the one in the competition zone and so the morning was done. Time for coffee and to watch the early rounds featuring local longboarders Tully White and Declan Wyton.

Amuro Tsuzuki, Bronze medal in the Olympics for Japan. Taking in the pre dawn light

The contest zone bank was well attended

Sunrise on the first day of competition.

Mason Schremmer, gliding past

Local Lad, Jordy Lawler sharing a wave with Kirra Seale

Victoria Vergara, pro surfer and pro model

Local lady, slab charger and wild card into the event. Anne dos Santos

It's just Morgan. Morgan Ciblic

Local Gentleman, Declan Wyton. probably knows these waves better than most.

Monday 16th - Afternoon

After a short break and some lunch, I returned to Manly for an afternoon session and tried my luck at Queenscliff again. American QS surfer Jett Schilling was out, but the small waves were making it hard. There were a couple of longboarders out, one being Keoki Saguibo , who left shortly after I got there. Keoki is the Editor and Director of Photography for Lost Not Found Mag which is a new surfing magazine from Hawaii, shipped worldwide but only available at select surf shops, which happens to include Freshwaters own Keel Surf & Supply. (Drop in and pick up a copy).

With not many good surfer out, I tried the area south of the competition area to see what was going on. I spotted a few short boarders and longboarders surfing a left and right on the edge of the zone. When I got out, I could see Caelan and Tom Payne trading waves between the like of Frederico Moraiis and a solid crew of the ladies CS competitors.

As it was getting late, probably the last heat of the day, a few more longboards turned up to surf this bank. Augusto Olinto, Edouard Delpero and Lindsay Steinriede. I spent some time getting a shots of Edouard and Lindsay (which haven't made it here) before calling it a day.

The extra bonus for the day, was meeting Tommy Pieruki on the walk back to my car. Tommy, a surf photographer from Hawaii, has fast become, a photographer of note in the longboard world. You have probably seen his covershots on Pacific Longboarder Magazine. It was a pleasure to meet him, shake his hand and have a quick yarn.

Augusto Olinto going backwards.

Tommy Pieruki, and the trademark Gath

Edouard Delpero, spotting a quick section

Lindsay Steinriede, staying essentially salted

Tom Payne, Sequence

Tuesday 17th

Tully and Declan had both made it through to the next round, so there was a certain buzz around the local crew. I woke up early and followed Mondays pattern, camera ready and a quick change. There was barely surf, but still a few people out, so worth a swim. Daniel G was in the water, getting shots for Chloe Calmon and Zoé Grospiron part of #teamwaxhead

The higher tide was swallowing up what little swell was hitting the bank, and the waves were slowing down between the sets. I had a full day of work ahead, including playing catchup for the previous days leave, so left after an hour or so. I kept a eye on the next rounds through the webcast.

Moon set over the WSL VIP tent


Tully White, getting in time on the bank

Sunrise again.

Bettylou Sakura Johnson, making the most of a small wave

Tully White, relaxed, gliding on past

Mason Schremmer, silhouette

Morning glare, through the glass

Not quite Clark Little, 1 foot and grinding !!

There's more shots, so a part 2 will be in the works.

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