Kai High Line at Pe’ahi: Kai is a phenomenal athlete and artist on the wave at Pe’ahi. His spontaneity demands 100 percent attention to photograph him, so you don’t miss those special moments. This day, the waves were groomed to perfection by a sweet wind, and Kai put the pedal to the metal and broke the sound barrier.

Marlin Rodeo: Ruthie Stone and Danielle Kierz obliged me to work as models for an ambitious shoot. Hang an artistic glass-covered marlin from a small crane (yes, I photoshopped the ropes out) off an older torpedo tender anchored off Lahaina. Have them swim down and pretend to ride the fish like a bronco. Hope the ropes don’t break in the surge or I’m gonna owe a lot of money. One did, and Captain Dave showed quick thinking and jumped in with another line to tie around the bill so that it doesn’t sink into the blue depths.

Anna Fry Hookipa: There was about a decade that whenever the wind was light (not often on Maui) and small swell with clear water, I would hit up one of the surfer girls (good swimmers) to float around with me in the lineup at Hookipa. The surfers would look and try to figure out what was going on. Anna Fry was one of several favorite models and has the best toe point and fluid grace around. I would ask them “wear this and wrap this around you and by the way don’t drown.”

Brock at Waimea: Brock, RIP, and his famous airdrop in 1990? It was the first time I had shot the Bay really well, as I was always at Honolua. This was such a special day with so many heroes of the time going ballistic. This started my infatuation with big surf, and the opening day at Pe’ahi was just around the corner.

Annie Reickert Photo Erik Aeder

Rush Randle: Back before Go-Pros, there were big heavy housings with DSLRs and radio receivers in them. Rush Randle is one of the most talented multi-sport athletes I’ve had the pleasure to work with and a good friend. We put the housing on the nose of his tow-board, and he did “sky flings” at Mudflats. I was amazed that nothing on the camera or him was broken.

Molokai reef: I’ve been shooting the M2M race since its beginning, and one of the first years I was put in a helicopter by Clare Mawae, the race organizer. Such a beautiful day, people were riding all kinds of craft across the channel and over the reefs on the south shore of Molokai, and I had been given the best seat in the house. Thank you, Clair!

Bigfoot toy: Archie Kalepa likes to give his friends a thrill ride. My boat captain, Keith Baxter, asked if I wanted to go on the ski to shoot canoe and tow-toys one day. I said, “Oh hell yes, that sounds fun!” Hawaiian waterman extraordinaire, Archie Kalepa, first paddled his canoe and crew into some 8-foot waves then said now for the real fun because he could steer by his flippers. Erik Aeder is represented by Morrison Hotel Galleries.

Laird at Pe’ahi: It was about 1993. Laird had towed at Pe’ahi several times and was getting very comfortable in his element. His tow partner was bringing him back out to the lineup when Laird spotted this wave, gave a circling motion with his hand, and got whipped up and over the back of the wave and jumped off the cornice and flew down the face. No PFDs or padded wetsuits or inflatable vests, just trunks. He landed smooth and glided out of the wave like it was just another day.

Nias 1978: The trip of a lifetime. Being at the end of the Indo season (we had just spent 3 months in Bali and gone to Singapore to renew visas), my friend Mark Oswin and I got to Nias, and one of the village boys told me the last few surfers had left 3 days before. Mark hurt his knee the first day, and I surfed by myself with only the fisherman in the canoe watching for a few days. I walked a very thin line in publishing those images at the time, as Nias had only been discovered 3 years before I went there. Even if you don’t name a place, word travels fast, especially if there is an idyllic background in the photo like this.

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