Shooting down the barrel, with a lens


Shooting down the barrel, with a lens

Fred Pawle
From: The Australian
September 20, 2011 12:00AM

Chris Ross attacks The Right, an out-of-the-way shelf in the southwest of Western Australia. Peers say photographer Russell Ord’s technique has changed the game. Picture: Russell Ord Source: Supplied

WHEN surf photographer Russell Ord arrived at The Right, a remote rock shelf off the southwest of Western Australia that creates dangerous but rideable waves in big swells, his plan to be the first to shoot it from the water looked sketchy enough.

A 4m bomb set came through and Ord decided he couldn’t do it without the helmet and mini air tank – enough for eight breaths underwater – he’d brought just in case.

But that wasn’t the worst of it. Just as he was about to dive in from his jetski, he saw the splash of what looked like a shark 10m away. As with all surfers in the southwest, the fatal attack on bodyboarder Kyle Burden at Bunker Bay less than two weeks before was still fresh in his mind.

“I felt shocking,” Ord said. “I just took a couple of deep breaths and went in. I’d been thinking about doing this for a long time, so I didn’t want to stop.”

Much has been made of the crazy competitiveness of big-wave surfers, but those shooting them are often equally mad. Ord dived into The Right because he was bored with shots of big-wave surfers from the safety of a boat or ski in the channel. “They’re not part of the moment,” he said.

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