Shooting a cover can be a mixed bag. Sometimes it just comes naturally — totally unscripted and without much planning or thought — which is usually great for the photographer and rider, 'cause it's easy. Other times it's fully planned out down to the last detail, which usually means more things don't go according to plan and stress levels quickly rise.
Such was the case with this year's Gear Guide cover. Trevor Hansen and photographer Jason Lee were commissioned to get a cool, unique shot of the board leaving the wake. After one earlier-than-the-butt-crack-of-dawn attempt with 40-degree air temps, the "one" photo just wasn't there shooting from one angle. So we had to try again another day. A couple different angles were tried on take #2, but still nothing was screaming "THIS IS THE COVER!" at us. But at least it wasn't freezing cold. Then Jason said to me, "What if we go really close?"
"Like a foot or two…"
"Let's ask Trevor…"
With Trevor's semi-hesitant approval and with younger brother Reed behind the wheel of the chase boat, we got in super close to try to get a cool shot of Trevor taking off. The first couple attempts brought cool results, along with some "Holy $#*@" screams from all of us in the chase boat. We were literally a coupel feet away from Trevor as he cut into the wake and took off. I'd been in a chase boat in the middle of the wake before with a rider more-or-less jumping over the front of the bow, but never had a rider cut in front of the bow like this before. It was insane, but it also got Jason and his camera soaked (something we expected).
To adjust for the serious splash factor, we mounted Jason's camera to a monopod and put a fisheye lens on it so it could be held above the spray coming off Trevor's take offs. After many attempts, we had some really cool shots, but some clouds had rolled in to kill the light. Frustrating, to say the least… So take #3 was held the very next day and the cover shot was made. It took a lot of time, patience, energy, willingness to ride in cold conditions by Trevor, and help from others, but it eventually came together.
Big thanks to Reed Hansen for his expertise chase boat driving (who knew wakeskaters could drive boats so well?) and for not killing his older brother in the process. Thanks to Kyle Rattray and Ben Greenwood for their help and support, as well. And of course, thanks to Trevor for jumping one way during a three-day shoot more times than I care to count.
And just in case it's not obvious, already, DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME… Seriously, don't.