Monday, June 11, 2007

The Protest Clothing photoshoot 2007

Every year the riders on the Protest clothing International Team go to a sunny location to shoot mostly action shots for the following years’ summer collection. This year was no exception and on the 2nd June I flew out with a team of 6 to shoot in fuerteventura.

The 6 in the team were:
Photographer Joris Lugtigheid
Videographer Frank Borghstign
Team Manager Jody Koenders
Rider 1. Ralph Karstes (North Young Bloods)
Rider 2. Christiaan Brouuwer (Slingshot)
And then me (Naish)

It’s a trip that I look forward to all year knowing that I will be out on the water all hours possible in a location where the sun is shining the chances of wind are maximised but also in reality its really hard work.

There are two things with photography and kitesurfing that go without saying. Firstly obviously kitesurfing is wind dependant. You never know how long the wind is going to hang around for and secondly in photography light is a key factor. The best light is early morning sun or the late evening glow. What does this mean? Well basically kite from first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening including all hours inbetween with possibly the occasional after dark session using flash with the camera.

Exhaustion at end of day springs to mind!

Next up how many kitesurfing photos have you seen? A huge amount. Something has to make the pictures special and this is the back drop – the location of the shoot. We have to choose locations where there is more to see then just water or sky. This also then means the photographer and the kitesurfer positioning themselves to capture this. The reality of the location isn’t always pretty, but for a photo it looks great.

We kited 5 locations in 2½ days.

Location 1. Secret spikey stone hang out.

This location was possibly the best for kiting. It looked beautiful with good head high waves and the wind was a fairly steady and pretty strong so perfect for my 8m Naish Torch 3. I named ‘secret spikey stone hang out’ was not because no one knew about it, but because the entire waters edge was a mass of stones. When the waves sucked the water back secret spikey stones would pop out beckoning you ever closer like some kind of homing beacon. However these secret spikey stones also provided a great outline for the lovely breaking wave which developed from a point and then carried on across the small bay allowing you to make 3 or 4 bottom and top turns. For a photo opportunity this looked like as good a place as anywhere to begin. However there is one small part that I have left out… The hell launch and land!

All 3 riders suffered cuts and bruises to different extents. You could launch the kite from the dirt road leading to the water but once the kite was in the air it was a matter of grabbing your board, scrabbling over the rocks and perfectly timing the waves to submerge as much as possibly before either body dragging out to safer depths or pouncing on your board hoping to avoid impact and make it out to sea. It was literally as hectic as that! Once finally out so long as you keep your board everything was well, but as soon as you time a section a bit late or you trip your edge boom your board has gone and where is it headed? – straight for the secret and not so secret spikey rocks. Putting this at the back of your head the location was great. (This is not my leg by the way, i would have waxed well before this point... it belongs to christiaan)

Location 2. Looks can be deceiving is definitely a very true saying

Imagine vast and glorious deserted beaches, yellow sand and clear blue waters with a mountainous back drop. The place is baron but beautiful and what a perfect location to provide some excellent action for a great photo!!!?

Too good to be true? Yes, the wind here is bolt offshore. It accelerates from the mountains and blasts out to sea in the manor of a frenzied bull escaping blood thristy matadors in a tiny ring. Here you can be sure that the first rock you are likely to come into contact with if you drift downwind is approximately 500 miles away and comes broadly generalised under the name of Africa. There is no worries of cuts and bruises unless you crash into each other (which incidentally did happen) or the photographer and videographer. When you see white caps on the water like here there is something else you can also be sure of – there is no doubt which kite size to take. Its 110% your smallest. I’d say the wind strength was between 20-35knots in any given second!!! At least getting the kite launched in these conditions are the least of your worries.

Location 3. Why do rocks and cliffs make such a great background

There are some great cliffs here and it basically creates a warmer version of Watergate Bay in Cornwall. The wind is cross on shore from the right, but the beach is around 100 metres long. Downwind of here is all cliff and rock for many miles. With the wind dropping or a wave ride gone wrong its not worth thinking about where you will end up. Christiaan took a nice wave at the beginning of the session and then lost his board when timing a section wrong.. He was well passed the end of the beach and the board washed in over the rocks, but the cliffs prevented him from getting it back. Ralph rode back to shore to get him a twin tip and then kited it back to him while riding his own board. They both then had to work their way back upwind and christiaan had to land his kite and scramble around the bottom of the cliffs to retireve his now slightly dented wave board. Meanwhile I’m playing it safe popping a few jumps over the photographers’ head. Sod that for a game of pigeons! In all honesty I had a little fit about this location I didn’t have the confidence to bust any decent moves and as such we left for a new location after 2 or 3 hours of shooting.

There were two more destinations on the trip. Firstly the famous flag beach in Correllejo. Here the conditions are more favourable for kitesurfing. The wind is cross shore from the left with around a steady 20knots. The beach is long and golden. Taking shots here is easier for the rider, but not necessarily the best for the photographer. The photographer works with a range of lenses from water proof housing for close up action shots with water, kite and sky all in the same photo and then moves on to a long lense to shoot from the rocks or the shore. We shot here for several hours two days in a row.

The last location was cross offshore at a beach called glass beach. The water here is crystal clear, but it’s mostly a windsurfing location however we waited for after dark and shot using flash. There were two people involved aside from the riders. Firstly of course the photographer and secondly Frank (usually the videographer) but as it was dark he scored the job of holding a big tube with more flashes inside. He was the lucky one who could sit right by where we were taking off. This flash lit up the riders from a different angle to the flash on the camera. It gave a really good effect although I have no photos of this to show on here. After this session we returned back to the hotel around midnight having first left the hotel at 7.30am! Drawing ourselves out of bed for the next day was close to impossible and the idea of kiting seemed even further off the forefront of my mind. Fortunately for at least that morning there was no wind, but unfortunately that was the end of the wind for the following two days. Good job we used the previous days to the maximum.

The shoot was 4½ long not including flight days. When the wind stops we have a chance to calm down a little, but not too much because of course then we have the opportunity to shoot lifestyle shots. All in all we had a successful trip and I am sure you will be able to see many of the photos kicking around stores that sell Protest Clothing and of course in the Protest Clothing Catalogue you can find out more about the brand on

Now I am back in the UK and will be heading to Brighton for the weekend before going to the Dominican Republic for the next competition on the world tour. Will keep you posted.

No comments: