Feature

Cutting Edges

Underwater projections from “the great cosmic Mentawai experiment.”

By the time I heard, it went like this: Photographer Everton Luis and surfers Craig Anderson, Alex Knost, and Ozzie Wright sat at anchor on the aft of the good ship Star Koat, trying to come up with an interesting way to photograph the Mentawai experience. Within sight, across the channel from Thunders, the tide was draining off the Rags Right reef like God himself had pulled the plug. Even at high tide, Rags Reef is dicey. But Everton knew that a dropping tide at Rags Rights turns the water to liquid crystal.

Inspired by Ozzie’s concept of seeing what fish would see, Everton suggested they go for it—but only if Everton could shoot the entire session from underwater. To make it even more interesting, Everton had each member of the crew select a distinct craft. One single-fin, one fish, and one thruster.

At the crux of the ride, he torques the inside fin, leaving the other almost insignificant as he walks the tightrope between technique and catastrophe.

Craig Anderson (in the two slides above) chose to ride a 5'6" hull-bottomed, classical, snout-nosed fish. Caught in a desperate moment of adjustment during the only wave of his session, the fascination with these images begins with the wake: the pulsing cloud-puffs of turbulence, the symmetry of the skipping leash, the vertically-set wooden fins locked in and tracking. Anderson, at the crux of the ride, torques the inside fin, leaving the other almost insignificant as he walks the tightrope between technique and catastrophe.

An hour later, with only six waves ridden between them, the reef was too hairy to continue and they all paddled back to the boat.

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