I don’t recall a time in my decades of shooting Bondi that so many youngsters are going hard, day in and day out. Not just saying that as a couple of them are mine.
A few years ago, I’d struggle to find anyone surfing Bondi that wasn’t on a 100-litre softie going dead straight on white water (I love you beginners, but I do like to shoot the performance end of the spectrum, too).
Back then, many top guns wouldn’t surf sunrise, as it’s too busy with beginners drifting south, and they’d wait for the quieter 9am shift when most go to work.
There are still plenty of learners, as Bondi is a relatively easy wave to surf (especially up north – hint hint), but these days, I see fins out, coaching, sponsors, and rail turns regularly. The new guard is here, and they’re SO competitive, especially when this Sunday is the final boardriders for 2023 and double points.
This protest from Matahi Drollet (Tahitian royalty) from Teahuppo was interesting. The 2024 surfing Olympics will be held on his patch of reef, and they’re planning an enormous offshore structure to judge it when the existing small wooden frame stand has been acceptable for decades during the WSL visits. I’ve even shot from the old structure; it’s suitable and less invasive on the reef – do you need toilets and air conditioning to judge an Olympic heat? Hmm.
This year is flying past, and the Sculptures are being set for their 25th year.