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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ocean in motion: Surfer captures mesmerising world where waves break against the shore

By Mail Foreign Service


Churning up the golden sands, a wave breaks upon the shore in a glorious mix of emerald greens and frothy whites.

The crystal clear shots were taken by photographer Clark Little, who spent two years capturing these remarkable shots in Hawaii.

Featured in his new book, 'The Shorebreak Art of Clark Little', he braved the notoriously fierce swell off the coast of the island to illustrate the beauty of the ocean.


Photographer and surfer Clark Little has spent years capturing waves breaking against the shore in Hawaii


The moment a huge wave begins to break as sand is churned up from underneath in the never-ending cycle

'Three years ago that my wife Sandy wanted a photograph of the ocean for our bedroom wall,' he said.

'I got a very inexpensive waterproof camera for this challenge and went to the shorebreak near my house on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii to try and capture a good wave.

'I had been trying to explain to people for years what the waves look like when I was surf the shorebreak.

'Not many people surf these type of waves since large waves that break right on the beach are very dangerous.

'The photographs were able to convey to people a very unique view which they would never be able to see.'


The sunlight shines through a breaking wave just off Hawaii with the water turning a deep emerald green

Clark Little

Clark Little in his element. The surfer has been a professional photographer for three years after being inspired by the ocean

Standing, wading and swimming in the waves, Clark spends up to six hours in the water each day. With a waterproof camera strapped to his wrist, he used his surfing experience to plot the best positions and timing for the perfect picture.

'I have over 30 years of surfing experience so that is what has helped me the most,' he said.

'Having the knowledge of how waves break in the shorebreak, wave timing, and how to escape them is needed.

'You must always watch the tide, swell height, swell direction, wind, weather, sand bar conditions.

'You must be able to swim very very well. I wear swim fins made for bodysurfing which are a lifesaver and can get me out of dangerous situations very quickly.

'I could be out in waves up to 20ft high or standing in just a few feet of water while shooting. I took as many shots as I can before the wave crashed down on me.'


Mirage: A sandy beach viewed through the water, creating a strange mirror effect

Clark only turned professional three years ago. His new book is the result of shooting thousands of pictures since then.

'The colours, patterns, texture are all mesmerising. The ocean is always in flux and changing so the mind is always awake and intriguing,' he said.

'Nothing is ever the same, yet there is a rhythm which people start to understand the more time you spend in it, so there is a level of comfort you feel being in it. To be able to work in an environment like this is a dream.'


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