the feeling of getting sucked under

what did you feel?
when you were sucked
under a strong wave.

maybe its the closet
feeling to the moment
just before death.

lack of control


and then...
suddenly you let go
and trust that this force
more powerful will eventually
bring you to the surface


syoin kajii NAMI
a priest, a photographer


fitz said...

absolutely. a complete lack of control like that is so terrifying.

when i was about 15 i was surfing in dana point and i got pulled under by the most powerful current. i felt like i was pleading for my life, which is humbling in an awful way.

never been so happy to see the sand in my whole life.

fitz said...

p.s. i find myself having a very visercal reaction to these images.

do you know how they were taken?

wool and misc said...

wow. that's exactly how i felt.

alex sunday said...

amazing shots. very powerful.

Brakhage said...


Excellent blog btw

_rojo & a lunares said...

...And after the storm: Hiroshi Sugimoto, the peace.


Caty said...

yes... Happened to me a lot...swimming in the Caribbean sea, Venezuelan coast. You kind of learn to deal with the "rhythm" of the wave...and adventure the first time...to not panic is the best

CassK said...

this post and the images reminded me so much of a book I read this winter... Breath by Tim Winton. It is about surfers and their obsession with the exhilaration and fear of being breathless under waves.

emily said...

Wow very powerful images.
I hate that terror of not being able to breathe or hold onto anything.

Matador Lucida said...

i was particularly moved by these shots although i personally tend to feel emotion only when i sense the effort of the eye behind the lens. perhaps it is the lack of structure in these that so perfectly mimics what is captured (loss of control while you are at the mercy of the movement).
i enjoy your posts and check them on a regular basis.
to add a personal experience: i was studying abroad in alicante, spain last year and being a surfer i brought my board. i traveled up to euskadi and decided to surf at mundaka without extensive research on the tides that control that river mouth. when i surfed on the brink of the outgoing tide i found myself attemptng to paddle in without progress (my 510 quad unable to gain momentum. the tidal movements carried me as if on an oscillating conveyor belt towards the river mouth and the open ocean. terrified and exhausted i threw myself onto a rock shelf and had to climb the side of the cliffs below the church. these photos remind me of that relentless and uncontrolled movement i experienced both surrounding my body and within my mind.

Anonymous said...

Swimming to shore from a small boat in the Hawaiian Islands. The waves were about 12 ft and just kept coming. I had to turn around and dive back into the mountain waves over and over and over. The people waiting for me on the shore thought that I was body surfing and having a great time when in fact I was fighting for my life. This went on for at least a half an hour, I was maybe 100 yards from shore and quickly loosing my strength. Finally I just relaxed, waved goodbye to my friends on shore and accepted my fate....One of the Hawaiian guides realized that I was in trouble and swam out to me just in time to prevent my demise. He hauled me to shore...my bikini top was askew and covering nothing important as i crawled up the sand to collapse. I was saved! But had to get back into the ocean to swim back to the anchored boat within minutes of having reached the safety of the shore....I was so afraid to get back into the water and was nearly in tears by the time I reached the boat. I have never been so happy to see a hotel room in my life! Lynnda

cerre said...


you said it so well.

I'm also drawn to more composed photography, but in this case, the images are as disorienting and chaotic as the emotion of being at the mercy of a powerful force of nature.

thank you for expressing that emotion so well.

ps: because I'm a beginner, when i fall off a surf board there's nothing like feeling of tumbling in the ocean and just praying that the surfboard is not tumbling with you. Sometime my eyes are open and I see just bumbles and green and foam. The noise in my ears is like thunder. My heart beats faster as I not sure which way is up or down. when I finally get to the surface I feel as if i was just punched in the head. you feel, kinda broken. its an incredible feeling, and humbling as well. I can't imagine what it would be like to fall off a wave at Mavericks.


mariarriz said...

I allways believe that what is killing me later must bring me to the surface. You added amazing images to my favorite thought and put it in beautiful words.

R4TH said...

a friend of mine suffered heart failure whilst surfing, and was returned to the land of the living via the repetitious pounding of the waves...true...miracles happen in encinitas.

sammy and glenn: pachadesign said...

this is too close to home for me, something I think about when glenn has gone surfing - maybe he will tell you about his experience someday.

but, beautiful images - you always find such beautiful things.


The Wanderers' Daughter said...

Also very visceral for me.
I have always had a love/hate relationship with the sea. I'm terrified of going to sea on a ship, and equally as fascinated by the idea. I found my comfort level when I first learned to SCUBA dive...somehow, being at ease beneath the surface of the oceans, in the realm of living things, felt right. The turmoil and danger of the surface is what scares me. Such mindless power in an element - it's hard to fathom.

Anonymous said...

I am 19 years old, and I feel like I am never in control.

jen laceda said...

ooooh...once in Cancun (i hate this place, by the way. not only for the beach, but for its tackiness too). anyway, once in Cancun, I almost drowned because of a stupid undertow! it's a good thing my (future) brother-in-law was on the sand bar I was trying to swim to and he pulled me to safety! anyway, the nest day, he almost drowned when the boogey board he had swept him far away to the deep ends. that place is evil!

by the way, love you blog and have blogrolled you! will be visiting often!

malo said...

I've never had the experience of being sucked under a strong wave. I walked on the ice once and the ice burst and I found myself in the ice cold water not knowing how to get up. My head never got under water so I guess it's a totally different feeling but the experience left me with enormous respect for water. Seeing pictures like this both amazes and scares me. Life in a nutshell.

Anonymous said...

... or not.