In most photos, West Oz’s Mick Corbett is usually on The Right’s good side — the side that shows a flying exit out of a two-story, deep-water vice — but a knee injury from an earlier swell has kept him out of the water, limiting his stunts last week to a fishing trip in Gnaraloo. A few days back, he received texts from friends. The charts looked good. A large SW was forming. They were on their way.
Corbett was in no position to charge, but he did want to man a jet ski and watch. He called cinematographer Chris Bryan. They agreed to team up and shoot from the water. Corbett sped back to Dunsborough, emptied his car, repacked it with equipment a little heavier than bait and tackle, and set off for the long drive back to the southern edge of West Oz.
Corbett eventually met with Bryan and surfers Brad Norris and Phil Reid, who were the only takers on a pumping Saturday afternoon. Then, on a wild hair, Corbett chose to shoot the action himself, for the first time, on the back of the ski.
“Brads first wave was ridden to perfection,” says Corbett. “It was so big, and he was so deep. Unfortunately, that wave surprised me, and I couldn’t get a shot. But the second wave he got was almost as good. And with the first wave I have ever shot at The Right, I think it will probably be the best shot I will ever take.”
Sunday came, and with it came 15 more jet skis whipping willing captives into The Right, including Andrew Cotton and Zac Haynes, whom Corbett says grabbed the rides of the day. The swell dropped slightly on Monday, which swung open the door for bombs on the left. Though he’d never taken photos of waves before, Corbett understands the addiction.
“I’m normally the one getting pitted, but I do understand why photographers do it now. Getting an awesome shot of your mate in an insane wave is the next best thing to getting barreled yourself.”