When San Clemente big wave maestro Greg Long took off on a 65ft southern hemi monster at Cape Town's Dungeons last August, there were relatively few people around to witness it, and strangely (these days) only one photographer got the shot - TSP regular Al Mackinnon. It was the week after the Red Bull Wave Africa event and there'd been big, but not record-breaking swells for the ten days, on and off. While all the other photo boats that had been swarming the break headed in due to cloudy conditions, Mackinnon and local shooter Shaun Timoney decided to stay out a while, just for the hell of it.
"All of a sudden," said Al, "a set that was far, far bigger than anything we'd seen all day started looming out the back. Greg was straight into it and when it jacked we just couldn't believe the size of the thing!" While Long slid down the endless drop Mackinnon snapped a sequence and by the time the ride was over it was clear this was probably the biggest wave ever ridden at Dungeons.
From the moment it was entered into the Billabong XXL Awards it was a clear contender, even in a year packed with huge southern hemi entries. Last week at the XXL Awards ceremony in Anaheim, California, Long picked up a cheque for US15,000 for his super hero performance, and Mackinnon walked away with US$4,000 for his.
So for a guy who started taking shots for TSP's Reader's Waves section 10 years ago, things have come a long way! XXL congratulations, Al. Shots are on you!