Footage courtesy of Red Bull / Blake Kueny / Rock Star Energy / Diego Santos
Taj Burrow sees life through rose coloured glasses and it’s not often you’ll hear him sigh or say dull things. He’s been aggressively shoving aerial progression forward since before you filled out your first custom order. His tail kicks as high as anyone 10 years younger than him, and the reason he’s kept so deeply in the mix is because when it comes to airs, he watches the young guys carefully. “I look at their techniques for getting their boards above the lip,” he says. “A few years ago, you would not throw yourself into positions that kids are now. But once you actually do it, so much more is possible. If you’re open minded about where you can put your surfboard, you can really make it become reality. You see some of the huge airs that go down at the moment. A few years ago it was too scary to land airs like that, but you see guys now making them.”
On the first day of August, Stab towed Mark Mathews and Taj Burrow into WA’s The Right. At the same time. The idea? Mark would hold a camera, ride the tube behind TB and capture the most amazing surf imagery ever seen.
Despite Taj’s intentions, Mark insisted that they not ride any waves solo – “The one I see you ride from the channel is the one I don’t get the shot on,” said Mark. “Pretend I’m not there. You won’t know I’m there. I’m invisible. But, don’t let your hand touch the face. Don’t wreck my shot.”
The Right, notorious for multiple wave hold-downs, was the ideal studio for the shoot despite it’s wildly dangerous elements – where else would the barrel so perfectly fit two surfers? And so, Mark and Taj pulled went for it. Eventually a wave came through that would open up into the best studio ever seen in surf photography. But, the exit closed. Mark has experienced countless wipeouts in his big wave career. But this was number one by a long shot. He took home a ruptured eardrum and a torn up face. But also some of the craziest footage ever captured.
Today, we release the full story of Stab and Red Bull’s trip to The Right in pursuit of the greatest surf photo of all time, right here.