The Dock 2.0 with Tom Carey

The Dock needs no introduction, the brilliant minds at STAB’s latest creation. It’s shapeshifting plastic existence has bandied and meandered it’s way across your screens over the past few days - and we tip our hats to those that push the envelope a little - non better so than our comrades at STAB. The guys that make this happen behind the scenes are a fine bunch indeed.

However when learnt that the lensman on the ground was Tom Carey, we just had to know more. After 3 weeks on the road with Tom from Lisbon to Paris. Tom - a man of much statue and much honesty. Without futher ado - we picked up the phone and gave him a call.

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TC! It’s been a while - what has been cooking since our last foray on the old continent under the name of Eurothrash?

Hey Alex, well not a whole lot as far as photography goes but I’ve been a busy man lately. Things are good. Probably more happy now than I’ve ever been. Probably because I’ve been playing a lot of golf. I took about a year off after 20 years of heavy travelling and a grueling schedule. It was much needed. I was burnt out and my health was suffering. Can’t tell you how good that felt. 

Tell us about Pup Division!

Well since the surf photography industry is pretty much nonexistent these days, I started a dog walking, daycare company under that name. I’ve been working on it for the last 3 or 4 months and just launched it about three weeks ago. But we are killing it. I have a lot of dogs on board already and I still get to do what I love. I’m lucky I feel like I haven’t worked a day in my life. Not to say I didn’t bust my ass when I was younger or when I was shooting but it’s not work if you’re doing what you love. Now I can still shoot some, do my dog thing and have some time to golf and surf. 

So onto the dock, Stab called and you were on your way to Mexico?

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Ya it was kind of last minute, not really for me. But I liked the crew that was going so I was psyched to go. The first Dock trip was classic. So I jumped at the chance. 

How was the situation on the ground? 

I can’t tell you how hard Sam McIntosh and his crew works to make this stuff happen. Talk about the hardest working man in surfing. Seriously. He plans all of this for months. Shows up weeks early and makes sure all of his ducks are in a row. The surfers in town didn’t seem to mind us doing it. It was probably a fresh sight after seeing the same surfing go down year after year. 

Logistically? 

Well there’s a port there in Salina Cruz so I’d imagine the dock got shipped right there. Cesar, the OG camp owner down there, helped out a lot too. Him, Juan and Nokia are legends. What a bunch of selfless legends. They worked their asses off for us. Getting things done in Mexico isn’t easy. You have to grease a lot of palms and make sure you tread lightly. There’s a lot of machismo down there. So you want to make sure you don’t come off like an arrogant American or Australian for that matter. And things don’t always work out they way they say they’re going to. So you have to just roll with the punches. Patience is key. An open mind and a happy-go-lucky attitude is a must with a situation like this one. I’d say the boys did a great job thinking of every angle. But you know what the hardest thing was? The currents and the boat drivers. During The Dock shoot in Bali we lucked out with a kind of hidden setup and a no current situation. The dock kind of just stayed on the peak and we got so damn lucky it’s a joke. I knew that couldn’t happen again. Odds were against us. The goal all along though was to get that thing in the heaving beach break and see if we could run into some tubes. And we did get a little run at it. But the boat drivers were super scared to get anywhere near the waves. Plus the jet skis we ordered never showed up until the last day and then we flipped one in the surf and flooded it. I guess it comes with the territory. But all in all we made a big production happen in a tough area. I’d say it was a success. 

Emotionally? 

You know the surfers just roll with the punches. They were troopers. They never complained once. They knew they had a job to do and they did the best they could. Sam and Tom kept their heads level as well. They didn’t let their emotions get the best of them. I just tried to be positive the whole time and assure them we were nailing the shots and things were going to work out. Best thing to do is to help out as much as you can, don’t ask a lot of questions and stay positive. Las thing those guys want is to babysit a 40 year old photographer, a bunch of filmers and some surfers. But everyone did a great job performing and having a good time. But in the end it’s a job and you have to do your best. 

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Heaviest thing that happened in the water?

By far when Eithan knocked himself out trying to ollie the thing. He might have knocked some sense into that young brain of his. haha. What a legend. That kid is so awesome. He’s nuts. And is such a good surfer. I always knew he was going to be good and it’s been fun watching him progress over the years.

And out of the water? 

Really just watching Sam take some of his requests to government officials shows how dedicated he was to making this thing work out. I was impressed. 

How’s Eithan getting on, mixing it up with the seniors?

More like how was everyone else hanging with the youngster? He held his own and then some. It seems like he has something to prove. Which is bitching. He’s one of my favorite surfers for sure. 

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Whats next for you TC?

You know I’m just doing select trips now that make me happy. It’s hard to shoot photos for Instagram when you came from the era of shooting for the cover and having some troll judge your shit online. The risk vs. reward factor is just so lopsided these days. And the bar has been lowered so much it’s a joke. All of the progression of surf photography we did over the years at Surfing Mag just went down the drain with Instagram. I’m not about to lower my standards or start showing tits on my gram to get followers. It’s such a superficial world we live in and I can’t stomach it these days. But it was fun while it lasted. Glad I got to tear up Europe with the Wasted Talent crew one last time a couple years back. I hope print makes a resurgence but I doubt it will happen. People want their info fast. And they wouldn’t know a good photo if it hit them in the face. It’s a bummer you know. But it’s cool to see people like you still grinding, putting out a good magazine and doing what you love. When that happens it’s not work. It’s passion. That’s a good thing. Hope to see you guys soon. Say hi to the boys!!

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