THE ULTIMATE SELFIE
WALSHY AND LAIRD IN A GOPRO MOMENT
It's the morning of finals day at the 2014 Women's Pro Fiji and Cloudbreak is firing at 8-10 foot. Laird Hamilton and Anthony Walsh are part of a hungry pack trying to secure some tube time before the contest organisers clear the lineup, sound the hooters and send the girls out in the contest of their lives. "Laird was getting a little bit greedy," suggests Walshy. "He was getting in really early on his SUP so I decided that next time a set came through I was just going, whether he was on it or not." When Laird hauled his way into the next bomb, Walshy slipped in behind him with GoPro in hand and got all paparrazzi in the pipe. "He didn't even know I was there until I pulled up into the tube," chuckles Walshy. "Although the photo looks like there is a lot of distance between us I was only about two feet behind him." By the time both surfers came flying out of the barrel Laird was digging the idea that his ride was being captured, and urged Anthony to pull in again on the next section, but Walshy was a little wary of sharing another shack with surfing's version of He Man. "There's not as much room in the tube down there at shishkebabs."
Laird high-fived Walshy on the paddle back out and was so pumped he encouraged his new Australian friend to do it all again. Unfortunately they didn't get another chance and it wasn't until later that afternoon that Walshy got to see the product of his labours. "The girls final was on. So it wasn't until we were sitting down at Tavarua later that afternoon that I got to see it." It was then that he realised he had pulled off the ultimate selfie with Laird – not only was the oar-wielding gladiator perfectly framed beneath a curling lip, but there in the foreground was the outline of Walshy's face also.
When Shane Dorian set eyes on the well-composed, couples shot, he reportedly went straight over to Laird and said, "Laird you have to see this." According to Walshy, Laird took one look at it and bellowed to the crowd who were now hunched behind Walshy's laptop. "Oh my God that's the shot of the century!" Not bad props from the man who is credited with riding the Millennium wave at Teahupoo in 2000.
Although pleased with his positioning and the end result, Walshy had only one regret. "I just wish I'd turned to look at the camera, then it really would have been the ultimate selfie with Laird."