rush | 16th May 2017

Russell Ord is on a mission To photograph the perfect wave. He recently moved to NZ, and we caught up with him to get his perspective on big waves and find out what it’s like to stare down the barrel of Cyclops.

 

interview: mitch alison

photographs: russell ord

 

Chris Ross - The Right, Western Australia. This was the very first attempt trying to swim the “Right” in WA with a 16mm lens, while extremely happy on the day with the effort, this image became the shot that I just had to improve on, a little closer, a touch further down and I just might be able to see straight through to the other side, sounds easy but in reality took me another two years to achieve.  

Chris Ross - The Right, Western Australia.

This was the very first attempt trying to swim the “Right” in WA with a 16mm lens, while extremely happy on the day with the effort, this image became the shot that I just had to improve on, a little closer, a touch further down and I just might be able to see straight through to the other side, sounds easy but in reality took me another two years to achieve.

 

The Wall, Cyclops WA. I have been going down the coast for 15 years, camping out on the beach and heading out to remote parts of the coast to shoot shapes and the raw ocean power, there is a weird type of peace when surrounded by waves like this.  

The Wall, Cyclops WA.

I have been going down the coast for 15 years, camping out on the beach and heading out to remote parts of the coast to shoot shapes and the raw ocean power, there is a weird type of peace when surrounded by waves like this.

 

Jack Robinson at the Box in WA. I have spent countless amounts of hours at this wave which to recently was down the road from my house and this image of Jack is by far the most rewarding simply because of positioning, swimming into the inside here over dry reef with decent sized waves coming through normally ends in cuts and bruises plus a stint in hospital however one of those magical times that everything turned out well.  

Jack Robinson at the Box in WA.

I have spent countless amounts of hours at this wave which to recently was down the road from my house and this image of Jack is by far the most rewarding simply because of positioning, swimming into the inside here over dry reef with decent sized waves coming through normally ends in cuts and bruises plus a stint in hospital however one of those magical times that everything turned out well.

 

Jacob Willcox, North West WA. During this shoot all I could think of was to take an image of Jacob as he is going past and expose for that split second of light, the one in one hundred type of images that over time is still one of my favourites.  

Jacob Willcox, North West WA.

During this shoot all I could think of was to take an image of Jacob as he is going past and expose for that split second of light, the one in one hundred type of images that over time is still one of my favourites.

 

Mark Mathews and Taj Burrow. “Hey Russ can you come down to the “Right” and shoot me and TB” I thought to myself that sounds like a good gig without realising Mark was actually going to pull in behind Taj and take a crazy water angle, absolute nut case to say the least and also a good wake up call to myself of not going hard enough.   

Mark Mathews and Taj Burrow.

“Hey Russ can you come down to the “Right” and shoot me and TB” I thought to myself that sounds like a good gig without realising Mark was actually going to pull in behind Taj and take a crazy water angle, absolute nut case to say the least and also a good wake up call to myself of not going hard enough. 

 

Michel Bourez, Teahapu. I was asking Michel on the way out on the ski to give me a few pointers on the wave, took as much information in as I could and then Michel takes off deep, this was the first wave I ever shot at Teahapu which ended up being two covers and a book cover, if only it worked out like that every time.  

Michel Bourez, Teahapu.

I was asking Michel on the way out on the ski to give me a few pointers on the wave, took as much information in as I could and then Michel takes off deep, this was the first wave I ever shot at Teahapu which ended up being two covers and a book cover, if only it worked out like that every time.

 

Tony Hardy Portrait. I have surfed with Tony out at Margaret River Main Break and here is shaping a single fin for me, when I first looked at this image all I could see was history in those facial lines, Tony is an iconic person around the area and everyman and his dog seem to have some strange story of his life.  

Tony Hardy Portrait.

I have surfed with Tony out at Margaret River Main Break and here is shaping a single fin for me, when I first looked at this image all I could see was history in those facial lines, Tony is an iconic person around the area and everyman and his dog seem to have some strange story of his life.

 

Dan Ryan is one of the best waterman I have ever worked with, an incredible body boarder ( google the wave he takes at Teaupu ), great surfer, great body surfer and one person thats very much in tune with the environment and his place in it.  

Dan Ryan is one of the best waterman I have ever worked with, an incredible body boarder ( google the wave he takes at Teaupu ), great surfer, great body surfer and one person thats very much in tune with the environment and his place in it.

 

Spot X - WA. I think every wave ever ridden should be Spot X, I have never been big on names just because it makes it to easy for the next person to find, the journey behind the image is what makes them memorable and I would hate to take that away from the next person.  

Spot X - WA.

I think every wave ever ridden should be Spot X, I have never been big on names just because it makes it to easy for the next person to find, the journey behind the image is what makes them memorable and I would hate to take that away from the next person.

 

L&B: Where are you from in Australia?

Russell Ord: I am from Margaret River, which is in Western Australia.

 

What's your earliest memory of surfing?

I still remember loading up this old single fin on the home made surf trolley (never see them anymore) and riding the 15km one way early in the morning during the winter to surf the crappiest beach break. I would arrive at the beach and all the stickered up surfers from around the area would just laugh at me walking down the beach with this brown crusty board with no wetsuit, I didn’t care less, I loved the ocean.

 

When did you first get into surfing?

I was into body surfing with my old man from 6-11 and progressed to the beat up old single fin once we moved a little closer to the beach.

 

Who's your favourite surfer?

As a kid it was the two Tom’s – Carroll and Curren.

 

What's your favourite surf break?

Main break Margaret River is where I have done 90% of my surfing, I just love how you can surf the place from 1-15 foot, when I am taking photos its basically anywhere where I am floating out to sea on my own.

 

What do you think of Kiwi surf culture so far?

I just arrived home from surfing down around the Taranaki area and then onto Raglan, it felt like Margaret River 20 years ago, super relaxed and a really good vibe in the water, I met a number of people on that trip that were just stoked on life.

 

How does it differ from Australia?

There are places in Australia that I don’t even know how someone would even want to attempt dealing with the competitive nature of the crowds, no doubt that is here also however on a whole when you get away from those areas its really similar.

 

When and how did you get into photography?

I injured my knee (surfing) 20yrs ago and instead of just sitting on the lounge for a few months I picked up a camera and started taking photos of mates and the local board-riders club I surfed in, getting back my first few rolls of slides that were well and truly underexposed certainly opened my eyes to the steep learning curve I was in for, however I felt more drawn to photography than actual surfing when hanging around the beach, I then became incredibly passionate when I started shooting from the water.

 

What's your advice for young Kiwis who want to make a career out of photography? 

Think of photography as doing a trade, you don’t buy thousands of dollars worth of tools and become a master craftsman over night, any profession takes time. Seek out mentors that can help guide you from business to practical photography skills. I still find photographers that I admire and ask if I could hold their bags while they shoot to see their processes, it’s all about learning which never stops.

 

What's the gnarliest moment you've experienced in the water?

The last few years I have been trying to push my photographic boundaries in waves of consequence and during those sessions I have had some serious moments of self doubt, the occasional Great White scare however it was when I was surfing at a remote wave up North of WA and was charged by a huge Tiger Shark which decided at the very last moment (1m away) that I was not on the menu, I vividly remember just how small I felt in that moment and also how beautiful it was when it cruised in the face of the next wave.

 

 

links:

russell ord: www.russellordphoto.com

 

grams:

russell ord: @russellordphoto

 

hashies:

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