Best action sports photography in the dry season
Fabrizio Santos, Lake Elsinore, California
XGames.com presents our monthly ZOOM gallery, featuring the best action sports photography across all sports disciplines. This month, we focus on the dry weather affecting California, the Southwest and the Pacific Northwest, and how it has created unique opportunities for athletes searching out empty pools, drainage ditches and new ski routes. First up is Brazilian skateboarder Fabrizio Santos, who now calls Lake Elsinore, California, home. "Fabrizio knows where the best spots are and the best time to get the golden hour in, mainly in and around his neighborhood," says photographer Pablo Vaz.
Coco Zurita, San Diego, California
"Coco Zurita rolls in off the overhead pipe and bomb drops into a bone-dry ditch at Mach 10," says photographer Justin Kosman. "The ditch once funneled rain runoff to a nearby water-treatment plant in San Diego. The reclamation ditch has been dry for months, revealing some steep transitions and the nearby smell of sewage. [I was] laying facedown on hot concrete, breathing a consistent mist of sewage dust over time. Coco would land and kick up a cloud of fine particles. Not fun."
Omar Hassan, Bakersfield, California
"We were told to 'take the dirt road until you see the palm trees,'" says photographer Ben Karpinski. "With most of Bakersfield looking like a desert, a few palm trees are all it takes to use to find a landmark. Omar Hassan recently took the trip to the San Joaquin Valley in search of empty pools caused by the drought and stumbled across this gem of a DIY skate park, where he got this ollie to front-side pivot."
Alex Perelson, San Diego, California
"We went to this bowl for the first time on the outskirts of San Diego," says photographer Brian Fick. "It's a work in progress, and the homeowner was really cool about letting us skate it. Alex has been on a rampage lately, and I couldn't be happier for him. I've been shooting photos of Alex since he was a tiny kid and it's always a pleasure to watch him destroy everything with effortless power and style."
Iikka Backstrom, Eero Niemela, British Columbia
California isn't alone in the drought. This past winter, unusually little snow fell over an area that stretched up the Pacific Northwest coast and into British Columbia. "BC had one of the worst snow years in history. A solid base never accumulated, so it was 'low tide' the entire season, and this made it near impossible to find optimal snow conditions for shooting," says photographer Erin Hogue. "Iikka Backstrom and Eero Niemela spent the majority of the season exploring unknown zones for good snow and new features. As a result, our morning commute often looked like this. Fortunately, these guys are at the top of their game, so no matter where we were or what it took, they always managed to make something epic happen."
Theodore Van Orman, Los Angeles, California
"Scouting the dusty spots surrounding L.A., we found this sunrise air out over the City of Angels on a dry December morning. I composed the photograph on my tripod and my wife triggered the exposure," says photographer Ted Van Orman.
Tyler Imel, Southern California
"Tyler 'Squints' Imel and I made the hour drive followed by a half-mile hike to get this ollie into the steep bank of this Southern California spillway, with the knowledge that due to the the lack of rain, the ditch was sure to be dry," says photographer Joe Hammeke.
Jimmy Hill, Southern California
"Summer in California is rough for Moto. It's so dry, and the dirt is blown out, but it's even worse when there's a severe drought," says photographer Chris Tedesco. "That led Jimmy Hill and myself to load up his van and explore for other riding options. We stumbled upon this hand-built park under a freeway overpass, unloaded, and let Hill rip. The best shots are unscripted."
Bernard Rosow, Mammoth Mountain, California
"I took this photo at Mammoth Mountain, which is right out my back door," says photographer Christian Pondella. "These past few seasons have been leaner than normal for our snow depth, which makes the mountain a lot more interesting for skiing. This season we had lot of smooth, firm, chalky snow with a lot more rocks and cliffs exposed to ski around. This makes the skiing more technical, and in this photo I wanted to showcase how good the skiing still is during the lowest snow year on record."
Chris Haslam, Lake Havasu, Arizona
"A few of us went out to Lake Havasu, Arizona, for the weekend to skate," says Chris "Rhino" Rooney. "We hit up some locals at the skateboard park to see what other skate spots were around. We were given directions to a few ditches and this dusty wash, which has not seen any water coming through it in a long while. Chris Haslam adapted with ease and landed this front boardslide pop out below the [Route] 95 freeway."