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Photo Essay: Summer Roadie With A Twist Of East Swell

Mount Maunganui-based surfer and ocean photographer Lou Burton mixes Xmas and New Year with a little pulsing east swell for the perfect summer tonic. Together with her mates she proves the great Kiwi summer surfing roadie is alive and well … with an occasional shark scare thrown in.

Christmas came early on the Coro coast. After months of waiting for some proper solid swell Santa brought the only gift we could ever have wanted. And we roadied around to search out the best of it. // Coromandel 23 Dec 2019.

While some spots were huge or crowded, others were clean at dawn and dusk with no more than 20 people in the water. This spot is usually flat, but when a straight easterly hits with a big swell out at sea it fires. We got some epic waves here. It is always tough to choose whether to surf or shoot, but I focused on surfing this trip! If you know, you know. // Coromandel 23 December 2019


Almost. Surfer unidentified. Series from the same spot as above. // Coromandel 23 Dec 2019

The only kind of blues we had between Xmas and NY this year … Peaks from above, captured from a viewpoint overlooking this break. // Northland 29 Dec 2019

Getting psyched for it. // Northland 29 Dec 2019

Peaks for days beyond the Christmas trees. Surfer unknown. // Northland 29 Dec 2019

A few from the blue hour, and how we saw in the new decade. Because we’re full on wild, we ate cheese platters, drank G&Ts with berries and cucumber, danced around in our undies to drum and bass then went to bed at 10pm. We woke up at 4:30am on New Year’s Day and drove out to meet two of our mates at this break. It was small, but worth the grovel to make sure we started the year the only way we know how. // Coromandel 01 Jan 2020

The shark that went straight for Nicki (far right) had us swiftly paddling for shore two minutes before the sun popped up into view. That’s the worst nightmare for an ocean photographer at dawn. We weren’t sure whether it was a mako or a bronzie, but I wasn’t keen to leave my legs dangling at feeding time. // Coromandel 01 Jan 2020

The sunrise looked too dope, as I shouted how beautiful it was, the froth got too real and Jay, Nicki and Mark headed back out … mostly with all fours on the deck. I was so desperate to head out back again, but wasn’t sure whether it was a stupid move or not, so chilled waist deep in front of the break to get a few shots. // Coromandel 01 Jan 2020

Shark shmark. Getting back out there, yarning out back and cruising into the new decade.  // Coromandel 01 Jan 2020

Raglan Roast in the plunger and a bacon and egg fry up watching the tide fill in dawn’s curves before heading out for more New Year’s Day froth. // Coromandel 01 Jan 2020

Photography and words by Lou Burton @louloubphoto
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