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Ten Years in the Garden

Photographer Al Mackinnon spent a decade waiting for conditions to align on an island in the Atlantic.

Light / Dark

In TSJ 27.2, photographer Al Mackinnon details a mission to track and score massive point surf on a small island in the Atlantic.

“At about 3 a.m.,” he writes, “in my insomnia, I started to hear something. Instead of counting sheep, I amused myself by timing the period between each wave. It was huge, possibly the biggest interval I’ve encountered. The windowpanes rattled with each detonation. The boom reverberated around my room. I touched the curtains, the sheets, the door. They shivered with the thunder of each lip.”

“After ten years of hearing about giant, perfect surf discussed in hushed tones, this was the day I’d always hoped to see.”

Mackinnon’s images of the swell were the culmination of nearly a decade spent dedicated to scouting the subtropical, big-wave locale. To see and read more of the results, check out “The Colossus in the Garden” in 27.2. In the interim, spin through the gallery above for a back-file of his images. Even a passing look reveals that, while he may have finally photographed the island’s surf at it’s peak during his last visit, he didn’t exactly find it shabby in previous outings.

All captions by the photographer.