This photo captures one of the basic attributes of Gerry’s style which was how he held his hands. It’s this way or style of how he held his arms and hands is part of what made him so famous. I had been shooting from my boogie board at Pipe, manual focusing with a 135mm lens. It’s very difficult to do.
I had been in a mode of trying to capture shots from behind the wave as the surfers fly past. You often have to anticipate where the maneuver might happen on the wave as the surfer can be hidden in the trough of the wave. As I was panning with Gerry’s ride, he snapped into this move and I got the shot. A few days later he was in the same zone and got badly speared by the fin of his board as he landed on it. It was a serious injury.
It must be strange for Gerry that after all of these years, with many of his peers long forgotten, to be one of those rare surfers who is still idolized by the surfing world. When you stop and really think about it there are only a few: Barry Kanaiaupuni, Tom Curren, Michael Peterson, Dora , Skip Frye, Wayne Lynch, Laird Hamilton, and Kelly Slater – all who fit this ideal. Even today, you can be walking down Ke Nui Road with Gerry and people will recognize him and grab for his attention. I can’t imagine what he and the others have gone through when dealing with the public.
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