The call of the sea
A Christchurch man’s lifetime love of surfing is celebrated in a book that’s a visual feast. reports.
Fourteen-year-old Warren Hawke had been surfing all day and was starving. And he needed to get home, fast. He wasn’t meant to have been surfing. It was the winter school holidays and his mother, who was at work, thought he was at home. He needed to get going on his 45-minute bike ride to get home before she did. But in a shop window he saw a new surf magazine.
If he bought it, he wouldn’t have enough money to buy the icecream he needed to fight off his hunger. And worse, he wouldn’t get to see the beautiful girl who served ice-creams. He stood and stared at the magazine. He thought of the girl and the ice- cream. He went inside and bought the magazine. There it is. An overriding obsession with surfing.
And now decades later, Christchurch photographer Hawke has published a book – NZ Surf: Captured by a Surf Lens – that embodies that impulse, that absolute focus of those who Live to Surf and Surf to Live.
The photography is stunning. Hawke might have had surfers in mind when he put together the book, but its appeal is wider than that. It’s a tour of New Zealand’s spectacular coastline (with a particular focus on the South Island); it’s a celebration of Kiwi beach life; it’s top sports photography; and it is a homage to those who devote themselves to the pursuit of the perfect wave.
Hawke has had pictures published in nearly every major surfing magazine in the world and for almost 10 years was a contributing photographer to Surfer Magazine when it was one of the top surfing magazines in the world.
His book is both the telling of a personal story – early days of surfing at New Brighton in the 1960s through to surf trips around the country – and a pictorial record of great Kiwi surfing.
‘‘I’ve tried to put in the book the best photos that I can – some historical photos from the 1970s and 80s, and also modern-day photos,’’ he says.
There’s a deliberate philosophy
Taylors Mistake: Rob Skidmore has grabbed a rail and is racing to beat the section ahead.
Reverence: Surfers dream of the perfect wave at Taylors Mistake.