Editor’s Note: Learn more about HI1K, and support the project’s Kickstarter.
Mark Cunningham gives John John Florence a reassuring hug on the porch of his North Shore home as the throne transitions to a new generation. Kelly Slater wanders back to his own North Shore abode alone, dejected, after a hard loss at Pipeline. “Buttons” Kaluhiokalani pops out of a room dressed in drag and flashes a big smile. All quiet, poignant moments in surfing’s guarded North Shore community with one thing in common: Justin Jay was there. He captured a photo.
Jay, a Santa Barbara native, cut his teeth shooting photos in New York, where he spent years as a documentary photographer for rapper Sean Combs (You know…Puff Daddy). In that time, Jay distinguished himself as a world-class voyeur. He’s able to blend into high-intensity moments among icons of insulated cultures without disrupting them. Only documenting them. Which is a hell of a hard thing to do. Ever heard of the Observer Effect? It’s real. Jay manages to defy it.