Navy surfers in focus

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Geoff Long (author), AC Stewart Gould (photographer)

Location(s): Maroubra Beach, NSW

Topic(s): Surfing, Imagery Specialists

Royal Australian Navy Warrant Officer Electronics Technician Dion Blair surfs at Maroubra Beach, during a training session. (photo: AC Stewart Gould)
Royal Australian Navy Warrant Officer Electronics Technician Dion Blair surfs at Maroubra Beach, during a training session.

Members of the Navy Surfriders Association and next generation Defence Imagery Specialists both practised their skills at Maroubra Beach, Sydney.

As surfers enjoyed one-metre swells to hone their technique, the current crop of photographers shot them to practise theirs.

The trainees of the Service Basic Imagery Specialist course are undertaking full-time practical training at HMAS Kuttabul as part of the ADF Imagery Specialist Initial Employment Training program.

Royal Australian Navy Leading Seaman Boatswains Mate Michael Douglas, a member of the Navy Surf Riders Association, surfs at Maroubra Beach, Sydney.

Royal Australian Navy Leading Seaman Boatswains Mate Michael Douglas, a member of the Navy Surf Riders Association, surfs at Maroubra Beach, Sydney.

Imagery specialists play an integral role in delivering ADF capability by enabling military public affairs activities within Defence and supporting operations.

Course instructor Petty Officer Imagery Specialist Andrew Dakin said shooting surfers in action was a challenging assignment but one the course members pulled off with flying colours.

“Photographing action sports from a distance is a challenge for anyone but the trainees did exceptionally well and have managed to capture the surfers on the waves and in a range of scenarios at the beach,” Petty Officer Dakin said.

“We have to be innovative in providing opportunities for the students to capture imagery and in this case it was an excellent scenario to demonstrate the skills and learnings they have gained throughout the course.”

President of the Navy Surfriders Association HMAS Canberra Engineering Warrant Officer Dion Blair said there were a number of imagery specialists in the association and members were happy to be subjects for the trainees.

“This year’s Navy Surf Carnival was pushed back to next year because of the current COVID-19 situation so it was a great chance for some of us to get back out in the water as a group,” Warrant Officer Blair said.

“As well as helping the trainees fulfil their course requirements, it’s also a great opportunity for us surfers to see our technique, which is something we don’t often get the chance to do.”

The six trainee imagery specialists are undertaking a 22-week training program that includes a Certificate IV in Photography and Photo Imaging coupled with specific on-the-job practical training at Kuttabul that prepares them to work in a military environment.

Imagery is available on the Defence Image Gallery: https://images.defence.gov.au/s20203029.