Rain pounded against the window as we awoke early to head down to Adelaide's Brighton Beach last weekend.
It was the day of the 7th Annual Brighton Jetty Classic - a surf racing day initiated by the Brighton Surf Club to raise funds for the club.
Michael had supported the race since its inception, working as a volunteer photographer at each of previous six races. He'd been out on the surf boats and up in helicopters to cover the event, and knew pretty much what was going to happen throughout the day. I had no idea, but was keen to tag along...
The weather was decidedly feral and worsening as we drove down to the beach, which had been cordoned off in preparation for the huge crowds who usually participate in the event or who simply come to watch.
Brighton Beach was being blown about - waves breaking hard into the shore, and the cold wind whipping the sand everywhere. The 400m swim race had already been cancelled due to the dangerous conditions and the organisers announced they were re-convening at 9am to determine the fate of the 1,500m swim and boat races.
As well as the races, the club ran a sculpture exhibition, so we set about photographing the artwork. My favourite piece was a huge set of speedos (aka Budgie Smugglers) called "Hanging out to dry". Loved the irony of these mega cossies being whipped about by the wind and rain.
The big swim was eventually cancelled due to the dangerous conditions, which was a shame given how much effort had been put into the event - but it didn't stop people from having a great day. Appearances by Home & Away stars gave the teeny boppers something to scream about, and the oldies kicked on at the bar.
It was interesting to talk to the surf lifesavers about their duties in keeping our beaches safe - there was a very strong sense of family and community amongst the club members, which was great to see.
In an awards ceremony later in the day, the club acknowledged 7-year sponsors of the Brighton Jetty Classic, including Channel 7, Coopers and Michael! We felt it was only fitting to photograph him in front of the iconic Brighton Jetty.
Hoping for the opportunity to do it all again next year in more favourable conditions!