Nathan Florence. Photo: Tony Heff
Professional Surfer Nathan Florence and Water Photographer Tony Heff honored the legacy of Sion Miloksy by winning the 2012-13 Steep and Deep Pipeline Photo Challenge. During its second year, this contest grew immensely. Participants submitted their sickest steep and deep shots from the water, land and aerial angles of Banzai Pipeline and Backdoor from November 2012-March 2013.
"We had more participants than the first year with more surfers and photographers alike," said Suzi Milosky, Sion's wife and contest director of the Steep and Deep Pipeline Photo Challenge. “I’d like to especially thank Vans for being our main sponsor again this year. The respect they continue to show Si, his family and our community is amazing. Also a big thanks to Volcom, SURFING Magazine, Oakley and Kicker who continue to give their continued support in the cause, we are so grateful, as without our sponsors support, this contest would not be what it is today. And to Aqua Tech, for hopping on board this year and taking notice from the photography side. It’s just awesome! Everyone has been helping put the word out on this contest and we are hoping this contest just gets better and better as we get more organized. This is just a great event for the boys who charge and shoot Pipe while perpetuating Sion Milosky's extraordinary legacy. We are all stoked to put this together to showcase all the sick images that come from Pipe. We would also like to thank the judges and participants who made this happen. This contest is a collaborative effort and we are stoked to see what’s in store in the years ahead.”
Surf Photographer Tony Heff, 33, won a $2,500 prize purse from Vans, a custom-engraved-framed-picture of the winning image and an $3,000 Aqua Tech underwater housing camera pack (water housing, pistol grip and dome port) for the winning image of Nathan Florence. Heff—who is originally from Satellite Beach, Florida, but now resides at Sunset Beach—nailed the shot on the last day of January in tricky 16-to 24 -foot wave face heights at the world's most dangerous wave.
"Pipe was pretty good that day and then the evening was a little tricky with not as many good waves coming through [compared to the morning]," explained Heff. "I went down to the beach thinking it was going to be really good and perfectly backlit evening session at Pipe, but it was not looking good at all. There was absolutely nobody shooting from the water, but I was there with all my stuff so I decided to swim out and see what I could get anyway. There was a lot of current and all over the place. I swam out and that was the only wave that came through and I shot. It was the only photo I got from the whole swim that evening. It just all came together. Like I said, it was all over the place so being in the right spot was little trickier than some days out there."
Sion Milosky was known for being in the right spot when Pipeline was huge. Miloksy was an inspirational person for the way he skillfully charged and negotiated giant waves and the Banzai Pipeline. Furthermore, Sion's commitment to his family, friends and trade is perhaps the most inspiring part of his life says Nathan Florence.
"Sion was one of the gnarliest guys to ever come out of [Hawaii]," said Nathan Florence, 19, who is the younger brother of John John Florence. "The sick part was that he had a family, he had a job building custom-gates—like we have a sick gate system on our house that he built—during his off-time he was making money for his family and picking up his kids from school and bringing them to the beach. He was charging big Pipe or big outer reefs harder than anyone. We all definitely looked up to him a ton and it was one of the most radical shockers when he passed away because it's hard to believe such a good person could go so fast like that. Sion is definitely one of the top legends."
Florence—was awarded a $2,500 prize purse from Vans, a custom-engraved-framed-picture of the winning image, a custom Will Scovell surfboard and Kicker audio gear—had his eyes set on the Steep and Deep Pipeline Photo Challenge from the start. He was unsure about his chances of winning. So the teenager from the North Shore of Oahu was over-the-moon stoked to find out he won.
"This is the sickest thing I ever won! Pretty much our whole little group—or our generation or age group—was so psyched when the [Steep and Deep Pipeline Photo Challenge] came out and the fact that I actually won is baffling," beamed Nathan. "I had no idea because I entered kind of late that one of my shots would win. It feels super good and I'm super psyched!"
For more info and to see the other top images submitted go to : www.livelikesion.com
2012-13 Steep and Deep Pipeline Photo Challenge Results:
1) Nathan Florence and Tony Heff
2) Ricardo Dos Santos and Paulo Barcellos
3) Koa Rothman and Brent Beilmann
4) John John Florence and Zak Noyle
5) Tie between Evan Valiere & Brent Beilamnn and JD Irons & Juan Munoz