It's no easy task getting so many great surfers together at one time. But somehow Herbie Fletcher is one of the few people with enough clout and respect to pull this off. Last year, 25 years since Fletcher's last Wave Warriors shoot, renowned artist Julian Schnabel directed the photo shoot, this year Herbie did the honors himself, with a little help from Jim Russi and friends.
There were too many great surfers on hand to list here, but to give you some idea, Kelly Slater, Gerry Lopez, John John Florence, Metallica members Robert Trujillo and Kirk Hammett, Mark Healey, Ian Walsh, Dusty Payne, Reef McIntosh, the Rothman clan, Kolohe Andino, Kamalei Alexander, and Christian and Nathan Fletcher were among the notables. On the other side of the lens, the photogs who are lucky enough to be invited know it's a gathering to be missed.
The very first Wave Warrior photo shoot took place in '83, it was a low key affair on the beach at Keiki Beach with only about 8-10 surfers. The next two Wave Warrior shoots are the ones everyone remembers in '84 and '85 and shot by Jeff Divine. Everyone gathered at the Gerry Lopez Pipeline house, front/center to the Banzai Pipeline.
Divine recounts the shoot in '84, "All the best surfers in the world who were in Hawaii, locals and visitors, were there. They came from all over the island, creating a traffic jam on the Kam Highway, leading many to believe that Pipeline must be firing!"
Among them were Larry Bertlemann, Gerry Lopez, Rory Russell, Rabbit, Tom Carroll, Mickey Nielson, and the late Marvin Foster. Fletcher remembers, "I was having a hard time getting everyone out of the water, as Pipe had some decent waves coming through."
Wave Warriors began as a series of videos that Fletcher started shooting in '83 and released in '85. Last year's photo was shot on the beach at Off The Wall. This year's photo was taken about 50 yards above in the yard of the Oakley house. And as usual, Wave Warrior t-shirts were handed out to everyone in the photo and a good time was had by all. These photos are becoming an interesting sidebar in the history of surfing.