NEW ZEALAND BY GAETAN DUQUE
For some odd reason, we've been receiving a lot of stories from New Zealand as of late.
Gaetan is a french photographer hailing from Britany. If you've heard of him before, chances are that it was through "Space Cobra", a custom second hand clothing label he founded with girlfriend and fellow film photographer Agathe Potin. Gaetan's well work is worth following if you're into film photography with a penchant for faded color tones and film burns, and we thought we would introduce him via this series he shot whilst being overseas. A van, a friend of the opposite sex and the road leading to far too many surf spots... it sounds appealing to us and we thought it would also be to you too.
So without further ado, here's a few words from Gaetan himself to give a little bit more information about their journey, and of course the pictures he snapped along the way.
"Our trip to New Zealand lasted three months. We first arrived in Aukland on January's 1st, and found what would be our whip for the trip straight away: and old luxury Nissan van from the 90's. We first started cruising around the North Island, then headed to the South one by taking coastal roads and heading inland every now and then to enjoy the mountains, swim in rivers and enjoy the scenery. Surfing was not that easy on the South island, as you need a strong knowledge of the spots, and the fact that you need to cross a lot of private properties to get to the sea can makes things really hard. Knowing some of the farmers helps, otherwise you might end up being stuck in front of a "Keep Out" sign.
We also had some troubles with the weather. We had to face 4 or 5 hurricanes, and it wasn't that fun in the van... it was even a bit sketchy and we feared a couple of times when branches started flying everywhere and trees were falling on the ground. The good side of it was the huge swells that produced amazing waves to some of the most inconsistant spots such as Whangamata, an epic well known river mouth left.
What's impressive on top of the high quality of waves is the very active underwater life. We once went surfing a slab that's just next to this tiny little island. You have to paddle 10 minutes from the shore to get there and it's called Sharkies... Anyway, some friends told me they saw something spitting far out to sea, and that it might be a whale. I joked that it could also be an killer whale. We then saw the same spits getting closer to us, without really being able to identify what animal it was. The tide then dropped too low and we decided to call it a session. After walking up to the panoramic parking lot just above the spot, we found out that we've been surfing next to a flock of 7 or 8 killer whales. I was super impressed and I still feel weird when thinking about the fact we've been surfing next to these beasts that look more like a war submarine for 2 hours without paying attention.
We then decided to spend the last part of our trip on the North Island in order to enjoy the heat and the surf as long as we could. We also had to think about selling back the van, and we ended up staying around Muriwai Beach, near Auckland for a while. I was really impressed by the consistency and quality of the waves there. We surfed beachbreaks with a lot of current most of the time and for this reason it was kind of hard to shoot in the water. For this reason I was a little bit disappointed to leave without any good surf shot, even more so when knowing how good the waves actually were. But it would be a good excuse for me to go back I guess!"
Stay tuned for more from Gaetan and his upcoming projects, including a zine from their journey!