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First in a series where a select group of Right Coast shooters pick some of their favorite frames from 2021 and tell you a little bit about them and to kick this month long series off we have Maine’s Nick Eaton. You can check out more of his work at @nick_eaton_lifeinfocus on Instagram or on his website at www.nickeatonphotography.com
Rip Tide: In the winter of 2021, a nice Nor’Easter came up the coast and I swam out at a new spot with some of the local groms to try and get a barrel shot of Liquid Dreams owner’s son, Jake Anastas. Unfortunately there was an insane rip current and it was impossible to line myself up in the perfect position to capture Jake in a barrel. I spent a couple hours trying, fighting the current but eventually gave up, settled for a few empty wave shots and swam in.
Lone Solider: Dana Knowles, AKA SpiritChai, is always the first one out on a big day and this swell was no different. He was the first one out an hour before anyone else joined him. He’s definitely one of my favorite locals to photograph and thatÕs why this one made my top ten list!
Close Encounter: I like to think this may be my favorite photograph of 2021. I have been wanting to swim out at this spot and shoot for 3 years now but never committed due to the complexity of getting to it. It’s a hollow wave that crashes right onto some rock which has sent one guy to the hospital ( (that I know of) so a first swim out there is a little nerve-wracking. But once I got out there in the channel, I felt like I could have stayed all day and kept watching these awesome waves. I wanted to go back as soon as possible after that.
Nick Eaton. Photo: Ray King
Whips: This wave is a hard one to shoot from shore. I made it back to this spot a month or so after my injury and didn’t get to swim back out. From the front, without someone in the barrel, it’s hard to see just how massive the wave is, but it’s bigger than it looks.
Day of the Injury: 2021 started off great. I was pretty fit especially following a pretty good winter season of surfing and shooting but come summer time and I was working every day editing wedding videos and some other projects, so I was sitting a lot. Tropical Storm Elsa was coming up the coast and I hadn’t swam in a while but thought I would be fine. I didn’t realize while I was out swimming that anything was wrong, but the next day my hamstring flared up in extreme pain and I couldn’t walk for a day. The swelling went away but the pain has persisted even til now and every time I think I’m ready to swim again, the pain comes back. I’ve been going to physical therapy and trying to get back to where I can swim pain free so here’s to 2022 and hopefully getting back to shooting from the water!
Glimmer of Hope: In August, I headed off to Hawaii to shoot a wedding but also got in some surfing and some shooting. Unfortunately I was still injured and couldn’t swim (somehow I have no pain with surfing though) but I still found time to capture some waves, and some rainbows of course. Here you can see some waves crashing off in the distance as a rainbow appeared. This definitely landed on the list as one of my top favs due to the rainbow and amazing light play across this jaw dropping landscape.
“Skippy”: Evan Anastas, son of Mark, the owner of surf shop, Liquid Dreams, stepped up his game in the 2021 season and was out charging as much as he could! I’m excited to see him out there this winter season and try and I’m a mission to up my game as well and get some better shots of him. That’s why this one makes it in the top ten!
Winter swell: This is another shot from the day I paddled out into an insane rip current and was one of the last few times I swam out in the water and got some good shots. I am leaving it as the last one to top of the top ten photos for 2021 to hopefully bring good luck and some similar swells this coming winter 2022 season!
The Boys: Raymond King and Jack de la Pena scurry across the rocks to head out to a slab only a little bit off the coast. This makes the list as it was the only time I got to shoot with Raymond this past year as he ended up staying in Puerto Rico scoring some insane waves during the pandemic instead of returning to Maine (who could blame him!?) He even picked up a GoPro and has been shooting every session as you can see here.
Hidden Walls: On a fun swell that came into town on a day I had to film a wedding, I got out to shoot the waves pretty early to log a couple hours in before the wedding. This one came through and was definitely one of my favorites of the year due to the color, the light hitting the wave in the right spot, and the spray off the back.