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Drone self portrait at home with Frank, January 2023. Home page photo, Micha Cantor Avon Pier barrel and video below Brett Barley doing that thing he does, hunt down and ride the deepest barrels ever seen at the Buxton Lighthouse groin.

The two time worn, consistent truths about shooting waves on the East Coast is that it will be 1. ) inconsistent with the other being 2. ) patience is a virtue. Sitting here at the very start of 2023, 2022 – the year of The Water Tiger, the king of all beasts in China – did absolutely nothing to change this truism. It was 365 days of long spells of flatness interspersed with limited periods of mediocrity blessed by the short lived, occasional fireworks of some downright, holy shit amazingness.

Brett Barley Buried @ Buxton Cove During Ian from on Vimeo.

Presented The magic moments were there to be captured, either by still images or video and, after deep diving 2022 my files, I was pleasantly surprised to unearth more than I thought I had in both mediums. So, in retrospect, it was really not a bad year after all and after all the miles behind the wheel of the 4-Runner on the hunt for those magic visual moments between south Florida and the Del-Mar-Va. Patience – and a lot of persistence – did indeed payoff for me in 2022 and here is the proof.  – Mez –

Unidentified under glass at Avon Pier, Avon, NC.

Doing the Frisco Disco during the crazy Spring Nor’easter that pummeled the Outer Banks.

Drones are everywhere and are the new GoPros and iPhones – seems everybody has them now it and they are bringing us some really revolutionary still photo and video angles never seen before. It’s like having a Cessna Turboprop in your kit bag. Chauncey Robinson at RC’s nailing it at just the right moment for the lime green drone (at middle right ) with hat’s off to the pilot controlling the sticks who had that thing totally wired.

Dunno why, but this one really speaks to me. Two happy youngsters, deep in the autumnal hued, golden tinged sea oats, checking the late September waves at the Buxton groin. Maybe it’s because I remember myself doing the exact same thing from the exact same vantage point over 50 years ago on my first trip here in 1970. And I’m pretty certain I had the exact same smile on my face and just as long hair. Video clip below Blayr Barton got some pop at Avon Pier, NC during Hurricane Fiona.

Mauro Diaz with shattered glass compliments of Hurricane Fiona at the Star Bar, Pea Island, North Carolina.

Bo Raynor is an amazing and diverse surfer / athlete. He has the air game, the rail game, the barrel riding game and can no doubt take a beating in some seriously heavy water. And, as importantly,he is a surf photo, video clip generating machine every session. Bo goes HAM during Hurricane Ian at the Star Bar on Pea Island, NC

Pirating wi-fi between photo sessions in Kinakeet,NC and finishing an photo gallery web post while on a 6 week Autumnal walk about on the Outer Banks. The internet and the digital revolution has really taken the shackles off photographers allowing more unfettered freedom to go on the road and stay on the road. I never saw this coming 50 years ago when you would shoot film, send it out to process and wait a week or two to see what you captured but I’m super stoked I’m around to witness it and use it to my advantage.

Central Florida’s Kylie Pulcini is another one of the amazingly talented, young women surfers rising up from the Sunshine State hoping to follow in the footsteps of others before her like four time world champs Frieda Zamba and Lisa Andersen and now Caroline Mark’s.

Blayr Barton, Avon Pier, NC. Shooting on the Outer Banks in the Fall can be pure magic when swell, tide, wind, water color and lighting all come together at once which is not easy to get all at once. Blayr adding the other integral ingredient to getting a hyper dynamic capture, high action. And his trademark red board did not hurt either.

My relationship with former pro surfer turned surfboard craftsman par excellence, Matt Kechele is about 45 years old and counting. We live 5 miles apart off A1A and it’s a very short drive from Sebastian Inlet for both of us. There is nobody I’ve photographed or traveled with more chasing waves then Kech and we have some stories to tell that is for sure with hopefully a few more to come. Matt posing in his shaping room for my ongoing passion project, Faces And Foam Dust last Spring.

The hands that sculpt the foam. I always found it a great comfort that a guy who still rips so hard and is really a super serious, inventive, inquisitive decades long student of the board building process would shape my boards. And he never made me a single clunker.

“Shreddy” Teddy Whitteman grabbing rail hauling ass at Spanish House during Hurricane Nicole. Photo: Mez @mezapixels

Up until this Fall, I’d never had the pleasure to photograph Maryland’s Simon Hetrick but certainly knew his reputation as a rad ripper with his own very distinct style and flair. I finally caught up with him at Avon Pier during Fiona and bagged a couple of good ones utilizing the unique and different angles the wooden structure offered and which fit his surfing to a “t”. But, unfortunately, our finally meeting up and getting a chance to do work was to be short lived. Read on …

Oh damn, that was not good. How did this happen ? Click on the video clip below to see how Simon copped a serious ankle injury while surfing the Buxton Cove during Ian that put him out of action for months. Watch carefully at the 9 second mark and Simon getting exploded from the initial wipeout and then pounded hard back to the shore pound’s super shallow bottom.

How windy was it during that memorable Spring gale that wreaked havoc in the mid-Atlantic ? This windy.

The north side of the Lighthouse groin fired off the occasional makeable barrel during Hurricane Fiona but, in reality, is mostly fools gold.

CJ Hobgood surfing for Team Spacecoast at the 2022 Florida Board Riders Cup and doing it with undeniable World Tour form.

Quentin Turko’s perfect positioning at the Star Bar on Pea Island, NC. Quentin and brother, Stef are both world class free diver / fisherman plying their trade with spearguns and are just as deft hooking some of the most insane barrels you will ever see ridden along this stretch of coast.

Something you don’t see on the reg ( or I don’t anyway but Jeff O’Neil, Brett’s longtime filmer on the reg, might know different ) is Brett Barley going left at the Lighthouse Cove. Either way, pun intended, BB has the place wired from First goin to Cape Point, let’s no wave go to waste and could probably care less which way he is going.

Something you do see often at the Lighthouse is Brett with son, Masen who is becoming quite the rad little charger to absolutely nobody’s surprise.

Sebastian Inlet during Hurricane Earl with nobody out. Yep, it does happen occasionally believe it or not.

Spanish House firehose during Hurricane Earl with some poor victim about to get hammered just under the lip line.

Cape Point looking busy during the Fall fishing season.

Jon Mincher waxing a step up looking blade to take on thumping Buxton Cove during Hurricane Ian. 

Minch after an equipment switch about to slingshot himself in to a Buxton barrel during Ian’s second day of waves at Buxton Cove.

I never heard of Chris Bluthhardt until I chased the 2022 Christmas Eve cold front swell down to Palm Beach county but that might be because he’s a relatively new transplant to SFL hailing from Oahu, Hawaii. After shooting him for a couple of hours in freezing ass weather I certainly know who he is now and was almost more impressed with his fortitude in handling the almost sub-reezing air temp than his rad surfing.

Something that is rare to see anywhere in Florida, let alone way south in Palm Beach County, is sea smoke This early morning surf check during the Christmas Eve cold front swell had air temp in the mid-30’s and gave new meaning to the monicker, “The Sunshine State”. Yeah, it was definitely sunny but definitely cold AF !