The July issue of Alliance Wake features Nico Von Lerchenfeld doing a tail backside 180 at the Thai Wake Park bi-level pool setup. Here’s the scoop from photographer Garrett Cortese on how he and Nico got the shot.


The first night of riding and shooting at Thai Wake Park during our trip to Thailand was on the bi-level setup. The sun was setting right behind the top lake and the sky was bright orange. I shot some silhouette photos of Nico and Daniel as they took turns going up the spillway ramp. The shots turned out pretty awesome, but I knew that they could be better if we added some flashes. I told Nico what I wanted to try and he was game.

A couple nights later we were back at the bi-level park for an evening session, but the sunset wasn’t looking as good; clouds and haze filled the sky to a pale gray and it didn’t look like we’d get much color. I set my lights up anyway to get some shots while the guys were filming. After Daniel and Bob rode Nico started getting ready. The sun had almost set and as it got low to the horizon the clouds and haze started turning orange/red. I knew we wouldn’t have much time with the clouds looking like this so I told Nico to go for it and we started shooting.

I just missed the poke on Nico’s first attempt

I set up two flashes on the shore to the right of the photo. One behind me pointed at Nico to fill him in and one on the top lake looking back toward Nico and my camera to act as a bit of a rim light and light up the spray I knew would be coming off of his board. The tail grab backside 180 was looking better than any other trick for that shot, so Nico did a bunch of them for me. I wasn’t too mobile as I had to float in the middle of the bottom lake to get this shot. After I got a couple with a long lens I tried shooting a couple from the stairs next to the spillway with a wide angle lens to see what kind of results we could get.

It was only an attempt or two later when we got the photo that ended up making the cover

I got closer with a wide angle lens, but the sky was already starting to fade. The lighting of the spray from the flashes made for a cool effect

In this position Nico is cutting into the spillway not far behind me, so spray coming off his board was creating a lot of depth and movement in the photo. I kept a T-shirt on my head to wipe my camera and lens after every jump because there was no avoiding some splashes

Nico and I were having so much fun we shot this trick at least 15 or 20 times. By the end it was getting pretty dark, but the photos still had a cool look to them. Even if we’d known we had the cover after the third or fourth attempt we still would have kept shooting because you never know when something else could look cooler.

This was Nico’s first cover of an American mag and we were both stoked that we were able to get it on the LF’n Awesome trip to Thailand. The trip was a lot of fun and a big part of the whole video, but just a couple days after this shoot Nico ended up tweaking his knee in a bad crash and couldn’t ride for the last few days in Thailand, so we were extra stoked to get the cover a few months later.