Surf Photo Friday – Kelly Nicely and the Pelican Session

Pelican feeding frenzy in Oceanside, California. Photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine.

Surf Photo Friday – Kelly Nicely and the Pelican Session

When it comes to favorite animals, birds in particular, the choice nearest my heart is the pelican. The awkward bird glides along waves with a grace that’s without rival, but when she dives for a meal, she does so with the elegance of a falling sack of potatoes. One morning not long ago while driving up and over the bridge that parallels the San Luis Rey, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw what looked to be a hundred surfers bobbing up and down in the water at South Jetty. As I drove closer I realized just how much I need glasses–there wasn’t a single surfer in the lineup, but the break was packed with several hundred pelicans.

I didn’t have any particular plans to shoot that morning but upon seeing the frenzy in the water, I knew it was time for a swim. The waves were pretty tiny so I called one of my best friends, North Carolina’s Kelly Nicely, who I knew owned a beautiful, bright yellow Takayama single fin that would work perfectly in the shin-high peelers. I was curious if the birds would hang out there with us if we paddled out amongst them. Sadly, by the time we got all our gear together, the feeding frenzy had subsided and most of the flock had flown away. Undeterred, Kelly paddled out in front of the remaining pelicans posted up on the jetty and scored a few noserides before we called it a day. I’m not sure if it’s the timeless single fin, my favorite birds, or hanging with my good friend, but whatever the reason, this session is one I’ll always remember.

Pelican feeding frenzy in Oceanside, California. Photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine.

Checking the surf with Kelly Nicely. Photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl.com

Pelican taking off from the jetty in Oceanside. Photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine.

Kelly Nicely and her yellow Donald Takayama single fin surfboard. Photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine

Kelly Nicely and her longboard toes. Photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl.com

Paddling into a wave with Kelly Nicely. Surf photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl.com

Kelly Nicely sets up the inside section with some classic cross-stepping. Surf photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine

Little right peelers in Oceanside. Photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl.com

Kelly Nicely cross-stepping in Oceanside. Surf photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine.

North Carolina's Kelly Nicely is one of the best noseriders on the planet. Surf photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine

Paddling out with Kelly Nicely. Surf photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl.com

Kelly Nicely waits for a set wave in Oceanside. Surf photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl.com

Kelly Nicely's backside noseride. Surf photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine.

Kelly Nicely walking across wet sand in Oceanside. Photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine

Reflections of North Carolina's Kelly Nicely. Photos by Chris Grant, Jettygirl.com

Kelly Nicely's yellow Donald Takayama single fin. Photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine

Wary pelican eyes the photographer. Photo by Chris Grant, Jettygirl Online Surf Magazine.

Photos: Chris Grant / Jettygirl.com

Previous Surf Photo Fridays | Mary Osborne & Her Beloved 9’10” Cooperfish Single Fin | Kelia Moniz, Megan Godinez, Geodee Clark & Bruna Schmitz | Kamalehua Keohokapu | Claire Bevilacqua | Lulu Erkeneff | Alexa Frantz |Rebecca Woods | Silvana Lima | Alessa Quizon

Additional Resources:
Kelly Nicely on Instagram
Kelly Nicely on Facebook
Hawaiian Pro Designs
Noah Ka Oi – Takayama boards, fins, and apparel



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