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"This day was a manifestation of a lifelong dream and ten years of very hard work by a hand-selected team."

- Todd Glaser

“The images we make are collaborative,” says photographer Todd Glaser of his work with Kelly Slater. Nearly ten years ago the pair met in France. They became fast friends. Todd got a gig with Quiksilver to trail Kelly for the next three years. That relationship continues. “Being able to work with someone like Kelly is just incredible,” Todd says. “He is a great photographer himself, so he pushes me to be the best person I can be, but also to be the best photographer I can be, too.”

I asked him what he loves most about taking pictures. “I love being able to—this is going to sound really cliché—just kind of create and capture a moment, whatever that means. My first and favorite thing to do is to be in the water and to capture images. I love to surf, and to be able to give a surfer’s perspective of what it’s like to be in the water, it’s something not a lot of people get to see, and it’s something that I really enjoy doing.”

Photo: Todd Glaser Photo: Todd Glaser

“This shot was taken on December 5th, 2015 at 6:42 a.m. After coming in from a morning session at Cloudbreak in Tavarua a few days prior, Kelly's phone had lit up with texts saying the wave was ready with cell phone footage to prove it. A few hours later, he changed his ticket to leave the next day, jumped on a plane, flew all night, arrived in LA by midday and swung by his place to pickup a few new boards along with a wetsuit. He drove to the center of California, woke up in a small motel in the dark. The air temp was in the low 30s. A very small group of friends, engineers, and family had all come together to watch the first waves surfed.

This was Kelly's first look at the wave pool since the water had been put in—an emotional moment for everyone involved. What came from this day we all saw on the Internet and on the cover of Surfer magazine. The location was a secret that was kept very tight, however, the Internet's vast reach showed the location sooner than anyone expected. This day was a manifestation of a lifelong dream and ten years of very hard work by a hand-selected team. After this session, Kelly flew to Hawaii to surf in the Pipe Masters without telling anyone what had happened until the video was released two weeks later.”


Jamie Brisick is a writer, photographer, and director. He surfed on the ASP world tour from 1986 to 1991. He has since documented surf culture extensively. His books include Becoming Westerly: Surf Champion Peter Drouyn’s Transformation into Westerly Windina, Roman & Williams: Things We Made, We Approach Our Martinis With Such High Expectations, Have Board, Will Travel: The Definitive History of Surf, Skate, and Snow, and The Eighties at Echo Beach. His writings and photographs have appeared in The Surfer’s Journal, The New York Times, and The Guardian. He was the editor of Surfing magazine from 1998-2000, and is presently the global editor of Huck. In 2008 he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship. He lives in Los Angeles. For more of his work check out & @jamiebrisick