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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Ninety-one: A month on America’s “Last Beach.” > A moment later, disaster strikes. Imperial Beach, California, 2014
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A moment later, disaster strikes. Imperial Beach, California, 2014

Within one second after I made the previous image, my burst-shooting mode caught the same pair of surfers in action. The wave now seems to explode beneath them. The surfer in the foreground, who seemed to be doing so well only a second earlier, is abruptly pitched backwards. His body language expresses futility, and he looks skyward in frustration. He will go no further on this run. Meanwhile, the surfer in the rear seems to have stopped abruptly as well. He still rests on his knees, but he, too, is left behind in the wake of this wave. This image shows us that surfing is a sport where skill does not always triumph. Sometimes nature plays its own hand, and the surfers must try again.

FujiFilm X-T1
1/1200s f/10.0 at 230.0mm iso800 full exif

other sizes: small medium large original auto
Phil Douglis30-Sep-2014 20:53
He is certainly frustrated here, Iris. He indeed fails, and falls back into the sea. That "next wave" you mention will come on his next run, but the result is usually the same. There is a huge failure rate among the surfers I usually saw, but I salute every one of them for going back out there again and again to seek success. I assume that they think of these failures as knowledge, and will put it to good use as they try and try again.
Iris Maybloom (irislm)30-Sep-2014 18:40
The agony of defeat is clearly expressed in his body language, but the next wave awaits him with hopefully different results.
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