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.
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 InstagramKelly Nicely on FacebookHawaiian Pro DesignsNoah Ka Oi - Takayama boards, fins, and apparel Billabong Cassie Beanie - Billabong cable knit beanie with ribbed cuff. Perfect for those cool mornings at the beach.
More in The Store >>
* Like, tweet, post, pin, comment or whatever. Waves are meant to be shared.
As we embark on another season of sunshine, we feel that there's no better way to celebrate summer than to showcase a few photos from our favorite time of year. Our goal here (more or less) is to post an image or two every few days so check back often to see what's new. We wish you all the best of times this summer and for those of you on the globe who are entering winter right now, I hope these will keep you stoked as you're pulling on your fullsuits. Enjoy!
Leila Hurst - Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
August 9 - A clean turn on a glassy wave will always be a timeless move. Leila Hurst recently moved from the warmth of Hawaii to the every-once-in-a-while sunny skies of California. The highly ranked Pro Jr is a most welcome addition to our shores and I'm hopeful that you'll be seeing more of the stylish regularfoot in JettyGirl in coming weeks and months. Claire Bevilacqua - Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
August 8 - This Western Australian loves to punt airs but even more, she relishes the chance to pull in. I wish I could she Claire in action at Backdoor this winter but for now, some thin-lipped Newport barrels need to suffice. A terror in the air and an absolute maestro in the green room, Claire Bevilacqua. Alana Blanchard and Leila Hurst - Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
August 7 - Yes, this is summer. Our brief season of warm water arrived then disappeared before our June gloom fullsuits ever had a chance to completely dry out. This August morning was gray and drizzling but even the dullest of mornings brightens up when you're among friends. Longtime friends Alana Blanchard and Leila Hurst run to greet each other in Newport Beach. Jasset Umbel - Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
July 29 - The Trestles area responds differently to each swell. While Lowers can seem like top-to-bottom paradise, some swell directions call for a more lateral approach. Florida's Jasset Umbel spends quite a bit of time at the famous pointbreak and knows when to hit the gas pedal to get speed for the sections setting up down the line. Jasset takes the high line on a beautiful, sunny afternoon. Kelly Nicely - Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
July 22 - Four-Eyed Clyde's last ride. Tonight I met up with Kelly Nicely who had just returned from France after competing in the Roxy Pro. While she usually just sells her boards in Europe to save in airline fees, Four-Eyed Clyde was so special to her that she paid $300 to get the board back to California. Exactly one hour after this photo was taken, Four-Eyed Clyde was broken in two pieces by a shallow, double-up. Rest in Peace Clyde 🙁 Shea Hodges - Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
July 14 - Tonight I had the opportunity to meet up with a good friend who happens to be one of the best surfers I've ever seen, Hawaii's Shea Hodges. We don't get to shoot as much as when she lived up here in Oceanside but I'm always stoked when we can meet up. Our evening session was small, really small, but as she always does, Shea took apart the mini-lefts running across the inside bank. Looking forward to many more sessions with the stylish Hawaiian throughout the summer... Marissa Shaw - Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
July 13 - A few years ago I was shooting with Claire Bevilacqua at one of Southern California's busiest point breaks. On this particular day, many of America's top female amateur surfers were splitting peaks with Claire. When she exited the water she asked me the name of the young regularfoot who launched airs on every wave. It was none other than San Clemente's Marissa Shaw. Fast forward to last week at the same spot and there was Marissa, punting at every opportunity and even tweaking it into rotations when the opportunity presented itself. A shredding surfer, gnarly athlete, busy lifeguard and dedicated college student, there's pretty much nothing Marissa Shaw can't do. Alexa Frantz - Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
July 12 - Summer is in full force but still some gray days remain. I don't know anybody that loves bikinis as much as Alexa Frantz. It could be freezing ...as shown here by the dudes in the fullsuits ...and there will be Alexa, throwing buckets like it's the hottest day of summer. There's no doubt that Alexa turns heads as she walks down the beach carrying her hot pink boards but it's the manner in which she hucks spray that I appreciate. Her heart of gold? ...that's pretty cool too! Ornella Pellizzari - Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
July 9 - Overhead, nasty onshores, and river-like currents...all part of Oceanside during a south swell. It was refreshing to see a pro surfer paddle out in WAY less than ideal conditions, all the while smiling and laughing while taking off on ugly bombs. There weren't many hittable sections but this right had one and Argentina's Ornella Pellizzari launched into a nice backside air. So stoked that Ornella will be in town for a while 🙂 Stephanie Schechter - Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
July 5 - It's always interesting to meet new surfers and discover their unique personalities. My wife and I often joke that I have both the gift of perception and misperception in equal parts. I love guessing with each new person I meet how their on-land style will translate once they hit the water. Stephanie Schechter is a case in point. My assumption was that her larger than life, gregarious personality on land would translate into an energetic style of waveriding. In contrast, Stephanie's surfing style is about as calm, cool and collected as can be. Stephanie, relaxed on the nose in Oceanside. Julie Cox - Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
July 3 - I've always loved this shot of Julie Cox...the late afternoon hues, the sunlight bouncing off her wetsuit and the beautiful surfboard shaped by Dane Perlee and painted by Thomas Campbell. As Julie dedicates more of her daylight hours to the California Surf Museum where she serves as Operations Manager, I'm sure she appreciates those extra hours of sunlight that each summer afternoon brings. Heather Jordan - Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
July 2 - While not a fan of the marine layer, I do like those mornings that are "bright" gray if that makes sense. In the half-dozen years I've known Heather Jordan, one thing's for certain, I have absolutely no idea when or where our paths will cross but I'm always stoked when they do. On this morning Heather ventured far from her homebreak and ended up getting some of the best waves of the day. Intelligent and hard-working, Heather will be making her way up to UCLA this fall...meeting up with fellow Bruins, Taylor Pitz and Chandler Parr in what looks to be a formidable surf team in the women's division. Kyla Langen - Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
July 1 - Brains, beauty, soul, and the versatility to charge barrels and draw flawless arcs, my friend Kyla Langen enjoying her favorite local spot. Preparation is key in early summer as the tricky and changing water temps could find you in a fullsuit in the morning and a bikini just a few hours later. Jenna Balester - Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
June 29 - Intimate knowledge of your local break pays off when faced with summertime crowds. While the masses were being swept up the coast in Huntington Beach's Colorado River-like current, Jenna Balester out-positioned the pack and scored one of the better rights of the morning...delivering a beautiful backhand turn on a special quad shaped by her dad, Tom Balester. Brittani Nicholl - Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
June 22 - Even at California's most crowded summertime pointbreak there are occasional moments of solitude. Photo-friendly lighting is long gone by lunch hour but that doesn't mean the waves are done. Brittani Nicholl paddled out for some midday fun and I was lucky enough to join her and her mom for one last session before they left for home last summer. Unfortunately, Brittani like so many of my Australian friends, won't be coming to America this summer thanks to the ridiculous decision to "upgrade" the US Open to a World Tour event this year. Since the same family of companies basically controls both events, my vote is to return the US Open to its former WQS status and make real progress by adding a Women's World Tour event to the Hurley Pro at Lowers in September. Sadly though, I don't get a vote... Claire Bevilacqua - Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
June 21 - In a world of desaturated images, cell phone one-click recipes, bogus light leaks and every other type of digital treatment (some of which were applied here), pure color sometimes takes a back seat to its trendy counterparts. Unlike photos though, colorful personalities like Claire's never fade into the background. Reaching out to feel the arc she's created, Claire paints another masterpiece.