First Photo from Sunset Beach
This morning I was going thru the archives and this image of a young Michael Ho charging at Sunset made me stop. I called the photographer, Ralph Cipolla in New Jersey hoping to chat with him about the insights of this image. It was the Fall of 1977 and Ralph found himself on the North Shore from the east coast. He was equipped with his camera and his 650mm lens ready to shoot photos at Pipeline and Backdoor. this image, however, was taken at Sunset and Ralph clearly remembers this shot as it was the first photo he had taken at that location. On that day his memory was sharp, he looked at the photo and remembered it was just before the Smirnoff Event and everyone was out that day as the swell was delivering clean waves. With one click of his camera and one still, he captured a young Michael in the perfect spot.
DW: How long were you on the Northshore?
RC: I went for 2 months and stayed for 5. I had to keep calling my Father to bail me out and after 5 months I had to sell my car and go home as my Dad had a ticket for me at the airport. The goal was to just try and get a job so you could stay longer. I still have friends who never left and are still there today.
DW: Where were you living?
RC: There used to be a few houses on the lot where FOODLAND is today. I lived in one of them and was surrounded by some amazing Surfer's from the Pipeline Underground. One of the guys I knew was Britt Kuntz.
DW: When was the last time you were there?
RC: I went back in 1980 and it felt the same. It was so great to get back and so sad to leave. But thats how life is..I got married, I worked and had kids. I still could still smell the flowers today reminding me that everyday was a good day.
DW: Do you still shoot today?
RC: I do. I have a Canon with a 100-400mm lens and I go down to the local break here and shoot. I don't have the patience as I did when I was young. I would say on the beach all day, now I just snap a few and go home. But I did snap some gems last year as we had quite a winter.
I find it so compelling to listen to these stories and look forward to posting many more.
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