Scuba surfing—for me, anyway—came about when a tropical depression off Vanuatu generated swells that made the diving around Mary Island (Solomon Islands) plagued with surge. Even down at 30m/100′, steady shots were almost impossible. So I decided to head shallow and film the beautiful waves rolling overhead and breaking on the rocky reef. To my surprise, madman Vern appeared in a few of my shots. As he moved closer into the break, the shooting became more and more exciting. High adventure and adrenaline were back in my diving again!
I learned a few lessons over the course of a few dives in the waves. The most important one: be sure there is enough water for you to swim with your 27kg camera rig when the water sucks out as the wave approaches. If there isn’t, you hit bottom, slow down, and get thoroughly worked—a very unpleasant and scary experience as wave after wave smashes you into the bottom. Reef makes for nice visibility under the waves, but it doesn’t have much give. Even so, I’m looking forward to trying again at my local breaks around Noosa.