SURFING photographer Dan Merkel yesterday with some of his pictures from the
SURFING photographer Dan Merkel yesterday with some of his pictures from the "Big Wednesday" movie set. In this digital age, an

Dan clicks into a changing wave



PIONEER surfing photographer Dan Merkel knows taking surf photos ain't what it used to be.

Back in the 1970s, photographers like Dan ? in Coolangatta for the Quiksilver Pro contest ? had ample time to get the best quality pictures in surfing magazines across the world.

Now, in the digital age, Californian-born Dan says surf photography has become a race to get action shots out to publishers. In the process, the best pictures might not be the ones that get published first.

When a riderless jet ski almost "cleaned up" a surfer at Tahiti's feared Teahupoo wave last year, pictures of the freakish near-death accident were available to news outlets within the hour.

Dan, who won an Emmy award for a TV program about an Indonesian surfing trip, was a water photographer for two of the best known surfing films, "Big Wednesday" and "Free Ride", back in the '70s.

He survived a cracked spine which almost left him paralysed after hitting the reef at Hawaii's awesome Pipeline wave. Dan's past and present work is featured at the Big Shots gallery in the Showcase shopping centre.



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