Tyler Nichols shows how it’s done. photo Brandon Hesterman

We’d just gotten a new winch from NextGenWinches, and we needed was a spot to use it, but living in Arizona, that can be a challenge. We turned to Google Earth, on the hunt for water. After driving around Temple for a while, we found Google Earth is not always accurate on water locations. The best we found was some mining reservoir that stunk like sulfur.

After our long search that day, we finally gave up. Almost as soon as we had, I received a call from a friend that was camping in Buckeye, AZ. Now this is an awfully strange place to be camping, but that aside, he said there was a bunch of water out there and it would be perfect for our winch mission.

We packed up one Sunday morning and made the trek north to the small Phoenix suburb. The south end of Buckeye is known as Tres Rios. It’s where the Gila, Salt, and Auga Fria Rivers become a delta.

While traveling down the sandy roads of the Tres Rios, it became apparent the locals don’t care much about the area, despite it being a somewhat amazing natural water purification ecosystem. There was random trash, everywhere — tires, mattresses, swing sets, busted cars, but most importantly, a wrecked boat literally out in the middle of the desert. We looked at this boat as not just trash, but the perfect rail to slide. But we were still missing one key ingredient: water.

Setting up the shot! Photo Joel Hazelton

After romping through tight passageways, and managing to dunk my truck underwater, we found the perfect 2-foot-deep water passage. We went back to retrieve the boat, tied it to a tow strap, and dragged it about a mile through sand and rock.

With a little rigging and the help of a discarded basketball hoop, we set up the boat upside down in the water. We used the hoop to elevate the front end of the boat out of the water a bit, and it was perfect! Time to shred.

Chris Marks from NextGenWinches came out and drove the winch for us, while Matt Bermudez and Tyler Nichols killed it and I shot some photos.

After a heavy session on the boat, we were packed up and about to leave, when a jeep came out of nowhere, barreling through the exact location where we were winching. We watched as the Jeep pushed the boat all the way out of the water and destroyed it, making this a truly once-in-a-lifetime shoot. — Brandon Hesterman