The Australian is arguably Australia’s most established newspaper and I am fortunate enough to have been selected for their weekly “Heart of the Nation” photo award for my image, “And then there were two”. Below is an exert written by Ross Bilton, enjoy.
Your timing has to be spot-on when you jump off the point at Snapper Rocks, says surf photographer Josh Bystrom. You want to leap just as a wave is rebounding from the rock shelf; get it right and the backwash will carry you out to the break, jump to early, though, and you’ll get pushed back onto the sharp rocks; too late and you’ll end up in dead water with egg on your face. And as for this grommet pictured at the moment of commitment, prides really on the line: queuing up behind him is world tour surfer Jeremy Flores – and behind Flores is Gabriel Medina, the Brazilian former world champion renowned for landing the first backflip in competition. It was 5:30am during last years Quiksilver Pro – part of the World Surf League championship tour – and the elite surfers were using the dawn session to limber up for the competition later that morning. Bystrom loves the way locals get to “rub shoulders with their heroes” at this annual two-week event on the Gold Coast. It’s thrilling to find yourself in the water with the likes of Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning or Joel Parkinson, he says: “You can talk to them and watch them in action up close. You’re all just caching waves together. That sort of interaction is rare in sport, I recon, and it’s a great equaliser.” Bystrom who’s shot is in the shortlist of this years Heritage Bank Photographic Awards, is a 27 year old from Currumbin who does “a little bit of everything” to make a living. He patrols the southern Gold Coast as a lifeguard during summer, works in construction in winter, and always manages to spend a few months of the year overseas shooting for surf resorts. His dream is to one day become an accredited photographer following the world tour. And this unidentified grommet? Bystrom is glad to report that the youngster didn’t stuff up in front of his heroes: he times the jump perfectly, paddled out with the backwash and joined the line-up with the greatest surfers on earth. Onya, kid.