An outtake from the fun with Bob Sichel

Shooting this year’s cover for the Gear Guide was a little bit of everything: fun, challenging, last-minute, and a little bit nerve racking. We had all the boards leftover from the Board Test and wanted to find a way to implement them into the cover photo. After selecting Bob Sichel as a great candidate to be the cover boy we started coming up with ideas together that would include as many new boards as possible. Bob actually proposed mounting them to his gnarly towable jib box, which we all agreed was a great idea. Bob and I had to move quick because our deadline to get the magazine to the printer was only a few days away. When we started working with his towable contraption we realized we couldn’t get the boards mounted in a way that looked very clean, plus the weather was not cooperating — high winds make it hard to tow a giant box behind a boat. We needed Plan B, and fast.

Thankfully just down the street from the Wakeboard Camp in Clermont is Kevin Henshaw’s house, where he has a very nice wall ride. Kevin was kind enough to loan us his giant backyard toy and let us mount the boards to the back of it. Bob and I got together the next afternoon to mount some of the boards and fire off some test shots — we needed to make sure everything looked good/worked and that the rest of the Alliance staff agreed. We were down to two days at this point.

Practice shot #1

Practice shot #2, found the right angle

The next evening Bob and I got together again with approval from both the Alliance staff and Mother Nature. I set up some lights so we could shoot during the sunset. Using lights in the evening allows the camera to capture the colors of the sky/sunset while filling in light on the subject. We wanted to have a vibrant background while also lighting up the colorful 2012 boards, so using flash was pretty much a no-brainer. Because the sun was setting, we knew didn’t have much time to get the shot. I threw on a wetsuit so I could stand behind the rail looking up at the boards and get Bob sliding by overhead. Bob went to town and did his thing on the rail. From the practice round the day before I knew where I wanted to be and where Bob would be on the rail to get a good shot. On the third shot we got something I knew had the cover potential we were going for. It was a good thing too because a just four shots later and we were done with the light.

Shot 1

Shot 2... a little closer

Shot 3... pretty stoked after this one

Shot 4... I tried mixing it up a bit after the success of shot 3

Shot 5... insurance

Shot 5... insurance

Bob and I immediately ran up to Henshaw’s porch where I had my laptop setup waiting to send the file to the Alliance office in California. Art Director William Lawther took a look at the image, said we were good to go, and a few hours later a mockup of the Gear Guide 2012 cover was being passed around the office for approval. Considering the hurdles we had to get around and the timeline we were up against, I was really happy with the result.


  • Camera: Canon EOS 1D Mark II N
  • Lens: Canon EOS 16-35 f2.8 L (shot at 16mm)
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter: 1/250th of a second
  • Aperture: f/8

The final product