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Fish­eye Fly-By

La­gun­dri Bay wasn’t the only wave in Indo to catch fire in the bumper swells of July. Lo­cated fur­ther south in the Play­grounds area of the Mentawai Is­lands, Nokan­dui is an­other spot that man­ages to draw its own ded­i­cated crew of thrill seek­ers when­ever it reaches a cer­tain size. Its long, foot-to-the-floor tun­nels, no­to­ri­ously skin-hun­gry reef and gnarly end sec­tion pro­vide the per­fect arena to get the adren­a­line hit the Nokan­dui spe­cial­ists crave. In this case it wasn’t just the surfers that were chas­ing a rush. Mark ‘Stork’ Thomp­son was in the area shoot­ing the ac­tion on a trip with mates when the pulse ar­rived. He started the day shoot­ing with a drone, nail­ing ev­ery­thing that moved from the air. Once suf­fi­ciently con­fi­dent he had enough im­ages of the boys to avoid be­ing keel-hauled, he threw the fish­eye lens on his cam­era and jumped into the fray. The thing about shoot­ing fish­eye is the wide an­gle of the lens re­quires the shooter to get real in­ti­mate with their sub­jects. In this case that meant flirt­ing with roar­ing eight-foot tubes break­ing in fright­en­ingly lit­tle wa­ter. Get too close and you’ll be­come one with the lip and be treated to a very painful, up close and per­sonal tour of the reef. “I hadn’t shot fish­eye in so long and I wanted to try my luck,” ex­plains Mark. “Years ago, fish­eye was my go-to! My lanky frame and lots of time swim­ming laps in the pool made shoot­ing wa­ter rel­a­tively easy for me, but I hadn’t done it for quite some time and I wanted to have a crack at some­thing over six feet.” Even­tu­ally the swim paid off when Por­tuguese surfer Nic Von Rupp came fly­ing down the line to­ward him on one of the big­gest waves of the morn­ing. Mark man­aged to nail this weight­less shot from in the lip as Nic mo­tored past – the hun­gry reef clearly vis­i­ble be­low, which thank­fully both surfer and pho­tog were able to avoid.

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