The Bodysurfer’s Toolkit: Winner & Photo Gallery

posted by / Photos / October 13, 2011

Below are some of our favorite submissions from this month’s Bodysurfer’s Toolkit contest, brought to you by Nixon and Patagonia. To win, we asked for your boardless shorebreak photos and got a hard drive’s worth of entries from both coasts, Hawaii, Europe, Indonesia — even Taiwan.

Here are just a few of those, culminating with the winning photo from 17-year-old Nick Palatella:

Submitted by Carlos Santana

Submitted by Carlos Santana

Submitted by Chris Monroe

Submitted by Chris Monroe

Submitted by "Chuck Brah" Olson

Submitted by "Chuck Brah" Olson

Submitted by Cody Dieson

Submitted by Cody Dieson

Submitted by Gregg Miller

Submitted by Gregg Miller

Submitted by James "Kimo" Bernard

Submitted by James "Kimo" Bernard

Submitted by Jamie McClellan

Submitted by Jamie McClellan

Submitted by Joel Manalastas

Submitted by Joel Manalastas

Submitted by Kevin Chen

Submitted by Kevin Chen

Submitted by Luke Robinson

Submitted by Luke Robinson

Submitted by Kevin "Mel" Thoman

Submitted by Kevin "Mel" Thoman

Submitted by Mike Varney

Submitted by Mike Varney

Submitted by Patrick O'Leary

Submitted by Patrick O'Leary

Submitted by Patrick O'Leary

Submitted by Patrick O'Leary

Submitted by Pedro Ramos

Submitted by Pedro Ramos

Submitted by Steph Bellocq

Submitted by Steph Bellocq

Submitted by Matt Rott

Submitted by Matt Rott

Submitted by Robbie Crawford

Submitted by Robbie Crawford

*WINNING IMAGE* Submitted by Nick Palatella

*WINNING IMAGE* Submitted by Nick Palatella

NICK’S PRIZE: “The Bodysurfer’s Toolkit”

    1 Nixon Housing Watch, a digital tide watch pre-programmed with 200 beach locations worldwide
    1 Come Hell or Highwater movie poster, signed by both Keith Malloy and Mark Cunningham
    1 Pair Da Fin Fins, signed and customized by Mark Cunningham
    1 Enjoy Handplane, customized and refurbished completely from recycled materials
    1 Seapod Handplane Bag made with vintage and repurposed fabric

Thanks to Nick and everyone who sent photos, and thanks to Nixon and Patagonia for supporting the slide. For more board-free inspiration check out Keith Malloy’s Come Hell or Highwater, the new bodysurf film just named 2011′s best feature at the New York Surf Film Festival. It’s on a nationwide premiere tour from now until December.

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  • Sliding Sense

    Dear Surfing Magazine,

    First, Flame would slap all of you silly with the shot that you picked as the “winner.” Congrats to the photographer, but seriously folks….who is the acting photo editor on this one? Quiksilver or SPL?

    Bodysurfing is one of the last pure things in life that many of us do. Some of us have been doing it for a lifetime, so it is important to people like me that you get things right when you begin treading on our turf. With all the hoopla surrounding the new documentary by Malloy, along with everyone seemingly getting on the sliding bandwagon, please do me a favor and try to get things right.

    Thank you and have a nice day.

  • FromTheCheapSeats

    oi vay ….

  • foley

    WHaaatt, damn i wish I knew about this…I have some mental ones….

  • Alejandro Santana-Vallarta

    Hey that’s me in the winning photo! So stoked on getting a shot on surfing Mag’s site, considering I’ll never get one of me surfing haha

  • Nick Palatella

    Thanks for the opportunity guys!

  • Mr. Chim

    Nice photos, congrats to Nick P. for the win. Keep shooting.

  • Mel Thoman

    I’m sorry…..but we,The Wedge Crew,don’t consider somebody with their lead hand in the air….”catching raindrops” to be REAL BODYSURFING!!!
    The concept is to PLANE on the surface of the wave with your hands and body….please Nick and others….get a clue!!!
    It will vastly improve your bodysurfing,speed,style and overall enjoyment of the wave!!!
    (this is a major pet peeve….sorry if it sounds too harsh)

  • Mr. Chim

    You guys should keep it positive….the kid didn’t judge his own work, for one thing. Maybe you were all shooting better at 17, but I’m inclined to think we may see great things from this guy as he gets a little more experience. I can only speak for myself, but he’s way ahead of where I was at 17. Not even out of high school yet, come on.

  • Rad Dude

    wow, way to lower the bar. this is some sad shit. i know it’s just an advertisement for patagucci, but still. at least PRETEND to make it legit.

  • Gnar Gnar of the Gnar…

    I have to wholeheartedly agree with Mel and the Wedge crew. Bad form is really simply, bad form. To give an award to someone with bad form is an insult to our hearty tribe. The amount of bodysurfers that rip is insanely off the charts.

    As Mel said, learning how to plane properly is one of the fundamental truths of great bodysurfing. Learn it. Demonstrate it.

    As a note, “catching raindrops” is illegal in Hawaii. When the groms show up doing this, they are corrected quickly by the more experienced, at least in my neck of the woods.

  • blind in 5 ear holes

    “the wedge crew”: this is a bunch of unemployed wannabe’s from the OC that decided to “ban together” because on their own = they are complete pussies.

    Please tell me how hardcore the wedge crew is… Wow, I wonder how long it takes and what the selection process is to be in “the crew.” How about a trust fund and too much time on your hands to be gainfully employed. Most of them are trust-fund losers that still hang around newport: a bunch of 28-40 year olds going on 12 looking for the next photo-op. A bunch of clowns that post on websites knocking form …. lame.

  • Mr. Chim

    Was this a photo contest, or a bodysurfing contest? It’s the photo that won, not the form of the subject.
    As far as knocking the Wedge guys, you obviously haven’t seen them go after a big south swell. Unless you can chew nails and spit bullets, calling those guys pussies is pretty lame. Go check out that shot of Mel again, and tell me you can do better.

  • Hans

    Great advertising for Quiksilver and SPL! Hopefully all the judges and photo editors at SURFING get their free t-shirts, wetsuits, and waterhousings! Out of all the great shots out there, you guys decide to make the advertisers happy first! Shame on you, shame on you!!!!!

  • Rad Dude

    @Hans, it’s the way of the game these days. basically every photo or story in the mags has something to do with advertisers’ wishes. apparently even gay little blog posts like this aren’t exempt. surf magazines are a joke now, nothing more than magalogs.

  • Sliding Sense

    To all surf corporate mongers out there,

    Just please leave us alone and let us slide back into obscurity. None of us ever asked for this exposure. It is unwelcome and unfortunate. You fumbled the ball in prime time and not only do you make our tribe look unsophisticated, you are trying to make $$$ off of us. How low can you get? Exploiting bodysurfers to further your corporate interests? Jesus. The mag has now hit an all-time low…….PLEASE LEAVE US ALONE AND GO BACK TO COVERING THE ASP PORTUGAL CONTEST……ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

  • Mic

    Great to see body surfing get some props and great to see the flick start with the man MARK CUNNINGHAM! I hope ya got some Fall season Keikie Beach in there somewhere……

  • Mel Thoman

    @”blind in 5 ear holes”…..oh nevermind….you’re moniker speaks for itself…..dumbass!!!

  • blind in 5 ear holes

    @ Mel Thoman…

    Word on the street is that picture you submitted isn’t even you? James Dawson isn’t around so you think it’s ok to claim it??

  • Mel Thoman

    @ blind one…..it is me and most people thought it was Robert”Rabbit”Dawson….Mike Moir is the photog in the water…I ended up right next to him at the end of the wave and he’s got 2 water shots from the wave that prove without a doubt…it’s me!!!

  • Sean Starky

    @blind in 5 ear holes

    You know a lot about the wedge crew, why dont you use your real name? What is your name?

  • teddy b

    blind in 5 ear holes,

    how about u ditch the alias name and quit sounding like an idiot. say who you are and quit talking shit.

  • Chris Anderson

    WOW! Not knocking the winner (congrats I guess), but sh*t…that photo is in the bottom 5 of the ones posted.

    Few opinions/thoughts:
    1)Paddles don’t count (pic 2).
    2)Neither should 2 ft waves, they are not hard to shoot.
    3)The body surfing…enough said.
    4)@ blind in 5 ear holes
    Drop your name = no more Wedge. Please drop your name.

  • Mel Thoman

    Sean Starky is his real name shit for brains…..get off this thread you cocksucking fuckhead!!!

  • Mr. Chim

    Mr. Thoman:
    Perhaps you misread Mr. Teddy B’s comment, which was addressed to Mr. Ear Holes, who you previously referred to as a dumbass.
    On a more positive note, I am most impressed by your creative use of the vernacular.
    Did you ever teach English Lit at SDSU? I think I was in your class a while back. One of my favorites, by the way.
    Keep ridin’.
    PS: Don’t be such a tired old queen!

  • king

    you wedge guys are a bunch of queers. i charge hard. i get so many shacks at wedge while you chickenshits are busy shitting in the rocks. when lee isnt around to protect your asses from me and the point charger we will throw down with you kooks.

  • king

    when the wedge starts to pump this winter my crew will be there to ride the big shit, we will get as many set waves as we wish and deal with you chumps later. i have a new bodysurf crew with some big names to back up our talk. we ride now and ask questions later, just stay out of our damn way or else. we party hard, we ride hard, we get all the beach chicks. we are like da hui in socal. stand down mel and sean and tedddy and lee, we’re coming. Leon

  • Sum Dum Goy

    ^Tool

  • Your_Ball_Lickers

    This shit all sounds pretty gay. Who gives a shit about “my wave was bigger” or who reffers to themselves as “The such n such crew” Why dont you guys stop computer banging and meet up at the Wedge and show what your about when your not behind a keyboard, and charge it…
    Because when I go surf I’m not there to give you a reach around, and kiss your ass just because what ???? You’ve bodysurfed there since the seventys and think you look good in speedos. I’m also not there to take your shit, Because even if you have earned your respect, that doesn’t give you the right to be dis-respectfull to everyone.
    Even if its not what u consider the best shot, who knows maybe the boost of confidece this 17 year old gets triggers him some success that you may one day appreciate.
    But who gives a fuck what I think I’m just a sponger who minds his own shit in the water.
    Go ahead with all the booger shit! At least I wont be the Booger wearin Speedo’s.

  • My Mom Says

    This thread is more entertaining than WWF. But less funny.

  • VanMelum

    We’re famous! Melvis, Starky, KING!!!, The Sheriff Lee, this thread has them all.

    @Blind in 5 ear holes: To be in the Wedge Crew you have to go big and look good doing it. Keep it sexy. But you also have to perform 3 reach arounds on non wedge members, wear speedos, and get drunk with the boys at parties. It’s a tough gig.

    @Mr. Chim: I, like you, am more of a calm person. I’m happy for the winner (as you said, it is important to note that he had nothing to do with being chosen as the winner). But you have to admit that is not a good picture of bodysurfing shorebreak. Here’s what I suspect from the editors:

    1. A few of these photos were clearly not taken recently, therefore they don’t really coincide with the PURPOSE of the promotion.(Although I admit it does say “Go dig up…or shoot”)
    2. A few of these photos don’t clearly show “shorebreak” as defined in the promotion, so those are out.
    3. A few of these photos are not shots taken from the water, so I believe they don’t coincide with the PURPOSE of the promotion.

    My vote was for Robbie’s photo. Recent, shorebreak, watershot, bodysurfer, SHACK FEST! I bet if you could see the sand from Robbie’s photo, he would have won.

  • Mr. Chim

    @VanMelum
    Good observations, all. And you are correct in pointing out the problems with some of these photos. I know the kid who won, and I can tell you he’s as surprised as anyone. He submitted a bunch of shots, some of which he liked better than this one, so go figure. I liked Robbie’s shot of Matt Larson better, also the one O’Leary took; that sure looks like sand in the wave’s face. Varney’s is also great, but it looks more like a point break. But what the hell do I know, I’m just an old guy with arthritis. Did I spell that right?

  • Your_Ball_Lickers

    HaHa!

  • king

    HEY VAN MELUM I DONT CARE HOW TOUGH LOOKING YOU ARE OR THAT YOU HANG OUT WITH DUDES LIKE LEE AND BEN AND THAT STRONG MAN FELLA. MY NEW CREW WILL BE HANDING OUT BEAT DOWNS TO ANYBODY THAT SNAKES US AT WEDGE. YOU INCLUDED. WE PLAN TO TAKE OVER. YOUR BEACH THUGGERY DAYS ARE OVER. WE ARE GONNA CLEAN THAT DIRTY OLE WEDGE UP. SHOW SOME RESPECT, HONOR THE CODE.

  • My Mom Says

    Ooooh, scary.

  • VanMelum

    King!

    I thought I was a part of your crew. The crew that bodysurfed all day, partied all night, and got all the girls. Who could say no to that offer? I was planning on one day cruising up to that house in LA you speak of, rolling to Topenga canyon 5 or so deep, and bodysurfing that fun little right there.

    I think we should include all my friends in this New Crew too. The amount of facial hair and muscle going around in our circle is unparalleled. Keg toss? Done. 20 footers? Done. Making babies? Done. Just sayin’…

  • JasonGuthrie

    Wow, I can’t believe that was the winning photo!!! I’m not tryin to knock the kid, but that was in the bottom 3 photos! Robbie’s was WAY better with an unreal perspective, but like mentioned above doesn’t really show the shorebreak. But the winning photo had nothing to offer, no vision, no photographic style, and certainly, poor bodysurfing style! King, come on out this winter, I’m sure there will be lots of people to ride with!

  • My speedo’s sexier than yours!

    King says…”when the Wedge starts to pump this WINTER”….do I need to say more…Kings’ an idiot “non-rider”.

  • king

    WEDGE GUYS ARE ALL A BUNCH OF BACK STABBING CHUMPS. I SPOKE WITH MEL ABOUT A YEAR AGO ON THE PHONE AND HE TOLD ME PERSONALLY HE WAS OVER THE WEDGE, AND HE’S THE ONLY GUY THAT EVER HONORED THE CODE. HE AND I USED TO PARTY IN THE 80′S, GET ALL THE CHICKS, AND SURF ALL THE BEST WAVES. NOW HE’S JUST AN OLD FART LIKE ALL THE OTHER WEDGE GUYS. AND VANMELUM, DON’T PATRONIZE ME. YOU’RE DAYS OF RULING THE WEDGE ARE OVER.

  • JasonGuthrie

    Shhhhhhh, as far as he needs to know, Wedge GOES OFF during the winter!!!

  • Blow Me

    Hey King:
    Try turning the caps lock key off.
    So Mel is an old fart, huh? Here’s a little news flash for you, buddy. The only way to avoid that fate yourself is to eat the business end of a .45 while you’re still young.
    Give it a try, dickweed. We’ll all miss you terribly when you’re gone.

  • Mel Thoman

    I can honestly say that I don’t know,nor have ever met the king….I’ve survived 3 deadly cancers in the last 3 years and rode more waves this Summer than I have in am long time….I was only trying to tell the kid who “won” that he needs to get his lead hand “planing and lifting” on the face of the wave.I’m one of the only guys still around from the original “Wedge Crew” from the 1970′s when Greg Deets and Terry Wade were part of the core group….I miss that action….but I’m still very passionate and riding bigger and better than ever….kind of like a fine wine!!!

  • Nick’s Dad

    Hi Mel:
    I met you a long time ago (late 70′s) and was up at the Wedge with my buddy Eric Riffel from ’78 to about ’83, on and off. We went to school together, and his parents lived on Channel, just a few houses from the beach.
    Anyway, my son Nick is the kid who took this picture. You met him up at the Wedge this past summer, when he was up there shooting some pictures. He is not the kid in the photo, he took the photo. I can assure you that when he rides, his hand is in the correct position. But we’d love to come up there and say hi one of these days. He’s interning with Aaron Chang here in Solana Beach, refining his photo skills. I heard you’d been sick; hope you’re ok now. Let Nick hear from you on Facebook, and we’ll come up and buy you a couple of beers. Well, we can have ‘em; he’s too young. Take it easy, and best regards to you. Frank Palatella

  • Mel Thoman

    Sounds good Frank!
    I still see Eric and Craig and their Dad from time to time when I’m walking down there.
    I thought I was offering some constructive criticism….and it got way out of hand.
    I’m stoked these youngsters are stoked on bodysurfing and I hope they all keep charging!
    Mel……………….out!!!

  • king

    i charge hard. you fags.

  • KING

    early season wedge breaking today and i was on it. shacks everywhere for myself and the point charger. we ran that place. we own van malum. we own you. my crew and i will be there in force tomorrow. come on down so we can give all you kooks a proper beat down. you all been warned. and hey jason and sexy speedo dickweed….ITS STILL WINTER YOU FUCKS!!!!!!!!

  • Terry Wade

    I just want to know: how come a wave just magically comes out of the rock jetty? I was told it was from the bay getting too full of water from all the boat traffic – thus it just kind of spills through the rocks & makes a safe wave to ride. I trust that Mel can tell me. But that leaves me with another question. How is it possible that this wave always seems to come out of the rocks at proper time to make a “Wedge”? Maybe the Winter Crew can explain it. Thanks. Sincerely, Terry. PS: Mel, I think you know how it all works, but man these guys are really mean!

  • Foamy

    Terry, the wave comes from deep underground from an artesian well of carbonated water. Don’t you remember you told me that back in 81. I’m here in the islands riding some pretty fun waves, but none compare with our Wedge shaped monster. Miss riding with you, Mel, Tom, and think of the good old days often. Hope you’ll come over and visit, I’d love to see you again.

  • Foamy

    P.S. You’re still the best I’ve ever seen. Mel the smoothest, and Greg the most creative. Hope you guys are all well.