Handplane Image of the Year

April 11, 2013 2 min read

Slyde's handplane image of the year

Why We Love This Photo

Above is the photo our team has considered the best image of the year so far.  It was photographed by the immensely talented Morgan Grosskreutzthe future of handplane photography!  Riding the best is the equally talented Slyde Handboards rider Willy Cole, possibly the best handboarder in the country.  Why does this image really stand out to us?  Well, apart from the incredible clarity, color and amazing composition, it really captures exactly why we love this sport.

The stoke!  The smile!  It says it all.  It's just fun!  I love surfing, however between the competition (even if you are not in one) and the constant pressure to get better and get bigger airs and faster boards, I lost a little bit of why I started to surf in the first place.  Handplaning brings back what it truly means to be out there in the water, without the pretense of trying to be the best in the lineup as you're jostling for the best spot on a crowded day.  With handplaning, you are not out there to impress anyone, just your inner stoke.  That is what this picture represents.  It's a dude just having the time of his life.  Get the backstory to the image below.


Location:  Sebastian Inlet

Rider:       Willy Cole


Behind the Scenes with Willy Cole and Morgan

That morning, Morgan and I were on a mission to find a barrel. We knew that the swell was gunna be fun, and the winds would be offshore, so the plan was to get on it early. Morgan woke up ahead of me, and I met him at the "secret spot" just after dawn. The tide wasn't quite right... so we were banking on the fact that Sebastian Inlet would be good. Of course, as we pulled up to the inlet we saw that the sets were barreling, and nobody was out!! Fully stoked, we grabbed our gear and hit the water. The tide was a little high, but when you waited for set waves, it was worth it! I think we got this picture on the second or third wave!!

I was so stoked to be getting such good waves to ourselves I just couldn't hold in my excitement!! When I caught this wave I was soo stoked I just stuck my tongue out and threw out up a shocka at Morgan...after the shot was taken, I flew into a nice barrel section and got spit out right by the sand!! I was literally screaming with joy, as I paddled back out. We had a great session that day, Morgan got some great pictures and I pulled into so many barrels that I lost count. We really scored! It was one of those sessions that you always talk about getting...perfect waves, and nobody out... This picture really conveys how I felt that morning, full of stoked and excitement! I also believe the pic conveys the spirit of bodysurfing itself. It's all about having fun, and staying stoked!! Riding handboards has opened the door to a whole new world of wave riding, and a new way to get barreled...which in turn has given me one more reason to love riding waves!! 

Back Story by:  Willy Cole

steve watts
steve watts

Growing up in South Africa, Steve spent his youth dreaming of far off places. After spending eight years extensively traveling to many of the great surf destinations of the world getting dengue fever, having a near death experience from a falling coconut in mexico, Surviving a 15 foot drop on a handboard on a Nias bomb, jumping from every rock he could find without adequate health insurance. and comprehensively debunking the myth there are no waves in Thailand, even if they are small. He decided it was time for a a degree. Steve Graduated from Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design in London with a degree in product design. He missed his graduation to go surfing in Californian, found a kindred spirit with Venice and never left