Goleta - Santa Barbara - Carpinteria, Saturday, May 23, 2015


Kelly Slater Ate My Wave

By Steve Bissell

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Images © 2011 Steve Bissell/SANTA BARBARA SURFER


    Kelly Slater is so perfect…he’s scary. You don’t think he somehow made a pact with the devil…do you? Two weeks ago at the end of that Teahupoo swell I was throwin’ down some jpegs at a local beach, enjoying the sun and the general California vibe when there was a small, but noticeable disturbance in the force.  Something was magnifing the energy level, and then I saw him…Slater slowly moving like a cat through the boulders blocking the beach, and then stood at the edge of the tideline and studied ocean-wave canvas for about 20 minutes. The odd thing was as he stood there, in full wetsuit, and everytime the lapping waves would approach his feet, he would make a point of backing up and totally avoiding the reaching foamy fingers of the sea. “Say what?” Strange for sure, but who knows what kind of relationship this guy has with the ocean. Maybe it was some kind of a game between her (Mother Ocean) and he…kinda like a tease, before he finally joined with her for their daily get-together. Now that’s rare stuff, but, I did see that. Why else would the man care if his footsies got wet while he studied the surf?

    Anyway, the guy went out and played with his real girlfriend for about an hour and a half. I have never seen such natural symbiotic poetry in motion before in my life. Everytime she threw one of her liquid arms out to embrace him, he would just slip away. He never fought with her, she gave him her energy and he used it to her and everyones delight. Most surfers I’ve seen think that aggressively attacking and surviving the oceans energy is where its at. That style makes for a great macho show, but this guy is smarter than that, he understands better than anyone else I’ve seen where her secret pockets of energy are and he EXPLODES with speed in places that the normal surfer sinks in.

    I think he was really a lot of fun to shoot, I’ve seen a million images of the man through the years and they were just flat compared to the real thing. You know, this guy could actually have the genes to split apart from the rest of us and become the next thing…what the hell am I on?

Steve Bissell

Watch the Slideshow
Music: The Rolling Stones  Sympathy for the Devil
** Please allow ample time for download (this may take up to a minute or longer depending on connection speed).


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» wrote on 09.27.11 @ 11:15 AM

“” Daddy- 0”“....
        You Rock !!....  just perfect !
      lots of power… lots of juice…
      loved it !  rupe

» wrote on 09.27.11 @ 11:22 AM

Hey Steve.  Rupert Turner forwarded this to me.  Amazing photos.  I had no idea back in high school that you even had a slight interest in photography and now look at the stuff you produce.  Really very entertaining.  Thanks.

Steve Clarke

» wrote on 09.27.11 @ 01:52 PM

another great one Steve, loved it!

» wrote on 09.27.11 @ 03:10 PM

Wow Steve! Really really great!

» wrote on 09.27.11 @ 03:57 PM

Stevo, once again you have frozen time perfectly.You and Kelly are definitely the best in your business. Love You!

» wrote on 09.27.11 @ 08:53 PM

Dad, you crack me up! Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos with us and I love that you got a couple of Dan Malloy too.

» wrote on 09.27.11 @ 09:02 PM

Once again the Stevo we all know!  Great job. Diablo Boys Rule.

» wrote on 09.27.11 @ 09:58 PM

Wow!!!! Big Man the Pics and Choreography is Impeccable . Even if you didn’t no the man on the white board with one white arm, you would have to know he was something from some other land. Fantastic work Steve O .

» wrote on 09.27.11 @ 10:07 PM

Steve, love seeing the surfing pictures. You are an awesome photographer. Will pass on to Butch!! Never forget the good old days in Panama!!

» wrote on 09.27.11 @ 10:59 PM

Enjoyed it Steve brought back memories of Las Cruces St. you still have an eye for beauty!

» wrote on 09.28.11 @ 09:17 AM

What a great description and very poetic!  Good stuff!

» wrote on 09.28.11 @ 11:47 AM

Great slide show. You & Kelly make a awesome combination.

» wrote on 09.28.11 @ 04:11 PM

Great work! I love it! I usually get bored looking at too many pics of the pros but i must say your sequence is very good, unusual and with action. It is alive and the text gives a good vibe. thank you for sharing it!

» wrote on 09.28.11 @ 04:24 PM

Poetry in motion both kelly and Bissell the misguided missle

» wrote on 09.28.11 @ 04:53 PM

If you’ve ever done this you will always remember the thrill of the five seconds or so of the ride on that board. Why do I live in southern ILLinois. I do keep in touch with “a few good surfers”.

» wrote on 09.28.11 @ 04:58 PM

You still got it Stevo.great stuff keep it up.

» wrote on 09.28.11 @ 06:40 PM

Genius, Steveo…..and who is this Kelly Slater cat anyways?

» wrote on 09.28.11 @ 08:20 PM

Inspirational Steveo!  Thanks for your hard work and dedication to perfection…

» wrote on 09.29.11 @ 12:36 AM

Great Job Steve, you need to come to Malena Panama for a little visit.  Get KiKi to come back and we will do a road trip.

» wrote on 09.29.11 @ 08:34 PM

WOW, Steve! Frankie forwarded this to me…..Absolutely fabulous photography, and, someone else said it first, poetry in motion! Between his surfing and you capturing him…awesome! Thanks!

» wrote on 09.29.11 @ 08:43 PM

Hi Steve….The Same, Yep, Rupe forwarded it to me too!.... Just Poetic Surfing!!.....Extraordinary ´´Cocobolo´´ surfing, ta RRASSSS!!!!.....ToooTaallll Energy!!!..It´s weird that initially he did not want to get his footsies wetsies, very strange guy!!.. Thxs for sharing them with us all!.....

Saludos y un gran abrazo desde Panamá,
Beto Miró (29 Sep 2011)

» wrote on 09.29.11 @ 08:59 PM

tweeted at @ventura101 Woot, great shots!

» wrote on 09.30.11 @ 10:00 PM

Your amazing my friend!!

» wrote on 10.02.11 @ 07:14 AM

Bissel the Missile
Still got it 2011 Luv it
Balboa & Rio Mar forever

» wrote on 10.03.11 @ 05:55 AM

Kelly Slater???

Kelly? as long as he stays happy in his personal life, age will be no factor for a while yet…

» wrote on 10.03.11 @ 07:09 AM

Stevo, so soulful and rhythmic, another beautiful chemistry success between two alien artist. Love ya

» wrote on 10.03.11 @ 04:10 PM

Awesome Shots!

» wrote on 10.08.11 @ 12:58 PM

Great story and slideshow. Different from the usual surf media coverage of Kelly. Dope!

» wrote on 10.08.11 @ 08:53 PM

Nice pics, Panama Man.

» wrote on 10.08.11 @ 08:56 PM

Steve great pictures ! Aloha Brotha!

» wrote on 10.20.11 @ 09:08 PM

Another amazing slideshow….sonrisas to you.

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