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The Most Unlikely of Places, ASP Girls, JettyGirl.com

The Most Unlikely of Places. JettyGirl Online Surf Magazine.

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The Most Unlikely of Places - Photos by Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com
A lazy summer "Secret Spot" photo shoot with Claire Bevilacqua morphs into a truly unplanned super session.
JettyGirl Locals, Legends & Pros

claire bevilacqua, photo by chris grant of jettygirl.com

 

Nevertheless, for that brief moment I was stoked to know that at that particular surf spot, there never has been and probably never will be a crew of that magnitude out enjoying waves together again.

When the international pros are in town for the US Open, I've learned to keep my schedule loose and commitment-free. During the other fifty odd weeks of the year, photo shoots are generally easy to predict, primarily happening during the light-friendly early morning or late afternoon hours. When the pros roll into town though, photo shoots can happen whenever and wherever.

Enter July Twentieth, Two Thousand Nine...

An hour before noon a text comes in from Claire Bevilacqua, an amazingly talented surfer who comes from one of the most wave-rich places on the planet, Western Australia. Although she's probably used to more or less perfect surf, Claire has a tendency to choose the quirkiest breaks around here while she's in town. After a couple of text exchanges we agree to meet at the "Secret Spot."

The Secret Spot is normally not much of a surf break ...occasionally peaky but primarily an ignored closeout that is never crowded. I've checked it numerous times over the past twenty years and have only paddled out there twice.

When we arrived at the spot, Claire was ready...amping on the new board she had just picked up from Bill Johnson. Claire never disappoints and I knew we'd be getting some shots within a few moments of setting up on the beach. Surprisingly, the Secret Spot was delivering some small but workable sandbar peaks.

When Claire was paddling out I heard her yell out that Kassia was out too. "Nice," I thought, shooting with Kassia is always fun too.

Although zeroing in on the dreaded photo hour of noon, the waves were still glassy and the sun was beginning to poke though the persistent marine layer. As I was dialing in new settings for the changing conditions, I heard a "Chris!" down the beach and looked up to see Rochelle Ballard and snowboard extraordinaire Chanelle Sladics waxing up on the shoreline.

Stoked on my growing good fortune, my friend Kelly Nicely walked up holding her trusty old (and almost wooden looking) shortboard. Like Kassia, Kelly had just returned home from the Roxy Jam Biarritz, site of the annual ASP Women's World Longboarding Championship. We talked briefly before Kelly hit the surf.

With my eyes trained on the surfers in front of me, Kassia floating a left, Bevo obliterating a right with a massive layback snap, Rochelle throwing spray on her new Merrick, I suddenly noticed two other surfers had snuck out without me seeing them. Hmmm, Channel Islands, Roxy...could it be? To my surprise none other than Lee-Ann Curren had just made her way into the lineup at the Secret Spot, accompanied by French pro Amandine Sanchez.


How could this get any better? Seven world class surfers at a normally desolate stretch of beachbreak.

It did get better. A few minutes after seeing Lee-Ann and Amandine paddle out, I received a soft tap on the shoulder. Looking back in utter disbelief at this point, I see the trio of Rebecca Woods, Holly Beck and Sarah Beardmore...all suited up and ready to hit the surf.

With these last three, the all-star crew was completed and for the next few hours I was able to witness a little piece of women's surf history. With the lousy midday light there would be no epic photos and truthfully, the waves seemed to give up their gas, possibly overwhelmed by the sheer weight of talent in the water at one time. Nevertheless, for that brief moment I was stoked to know that at that particular surf spot, there never has been and probably never will be a crew of that magnitude out enjoying waves together again.

--Chris Grant

Special Thank You...
...to Claire Bevilacqua who rang me to get to the beach that day. You readers may be interested to know that Claire has been a full-on supporter of JettyGirl since the beginning. She is a thorough professional in every way, blowing up in front of the camera and then working hard to get our photos into the marketplace. Without her assistance in this and other areas, JettyGirl wouldn't exist. An awesome friend, a fantastic talent in-and-out of the water, truly one of a kind! Thanks Bevo!!!

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Additional Resources:

Surf Into Yoga with Rochelle Ballard

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Caption Index - Photos by Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com

1. Claire Bevilacqua, first wave on her new Bill Johnson shape. Where can I place my order?
2. Another new board out for a spin, Rochelle Ballard puts her fresh CI through its paces.
3. Holly Beck's tiny 5-foot-nothing quad worked flawlessly out there.
4. Back from France and onto her fish, Kassia Meador gets ready to float the section.
5. Lee-Ann Curren rotates and prepares for the landing.
6. Kelly Nicely has loved this board so long that it's looking like it was made of wood.
7. Sarah Beardmore hooks one off the closeout.
8. Rebecca Woods in a borrowed suit paddled out for a few lively snaps.
9. Holly Beck gets the tail free on her new magic carpet.
10. Claire Bevilacqua ends her waves with a flourish. A spray-throwing hack was an excellent choice.
11. Small waves and an all-star crew made for a fun yet competitive arena. Chanelle Sladics and Rochelle Ballard.
12. Grab-rails just feel right. Rochelle Ballard flares up on the inside section.
13. Speed, speed and more speed...an obvious characteristic of Sarah Beardmore's surfing.
14. What a pleasant surprise it was to see Lee-Ann Curren paddle out.
15. Holly Beck hits every lip with authority. I wanted to buy her board after this session.
16. For a moment or two before the sun came out, the waves went sheet glass. Rochelle Ballard arcs a nice one.
17. Energetic and inspiring in any size surf, Claire Bevilacqua turning heads in the shorebreak.

 

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