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SURF & LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHER CODY COLEMAN | CHASING TROPICAL STORM CINDY SWELL TO THE GULF

This past Monday I got a call from Alec Zapponie amping to head west to the gulf coast and chase the Tropical Storm Cindy swell. With an itch to score waves in the gulf for a long time I was in, and with a little luck on my side a Wednesday shoot got cancelled and my schedule opened up perfectly to match the swell window. He picked me up Tuesday afternoon around 1:00pm and we hit the road with tubes on our mind. With the center of the storm getting closer to land on the west coast the weather conditions slowly deteriorated the closer we got.  Once we got to the coast we checked a few spots near Mexico beach before deciding we needed to go further west. Our final destination was just just passed Panama City inside of a State Park. We arrived to head high plus waves and sideways rain at about 6:30pm. With only 2 hours of daylight left & the swell peaking we were on it. The currents were nuts & there was a lot of water moving. That with the dark clouds and sideways rain, it was a challenge to say the least linking up on a good one. I think I had to walk up the beach 3 times.  The rest of the trip was kind of a blur with sub- tropical-storm conditions & little sleep. Enjoy the series...Yewwwwww

Boards... Check, Camera Gear... Check, Van to sleep in... Check!! With a 6 hour drive ahead of us and waiting tubes the anticipation was through the roof... Alex all smiles knowing he is about to score waves in a new part of Florida!

Boards... Check, Camera Gear... Check, Van to sleep in... Check!! With a 6 hour drive ahead of us and waiting tubes the anticipation was through the roof... Alex all smiles knowing he is about to score waves in a new part of Florida!

With the center of Tropical Storm Cindy nearing the coast line the weather conditions slowly deteriorated the further we drove west... This photos was actually taken during a pit stop on the side of Interstate 10 west. Only stop we made the whole trip while driving...

With the center of Tropical Storm Cindy nearing the coast line the weather conditions slowly deteriorated the further we drove west... This photos was actually taken during a pit stop on the side of Interstate 10 west. Only stop we made the whole trip while driving...

High Vibes the whole ride... Alec straight dying after we just realized we had a time change and gained an hour of daylight which basically changed the entire route... In a good way!

High Vibes the whole ride... Alec straight dying after we just realized we had a time change and gained an hour of daylight which basically changed the entire route... In a good way!

First town in 5 hours... At this point we could smell the salt air and hear the grinding tubes... Well in our heads!

First town in 5 hours... At this point we could smell the salt air and hear the grinding tubes... Well in our heads!

rainy, texty ,windy, sendy

rainy, texty ,windy, sendy

Finally reaching the coast line, we decided to check a few spots as we began to trek north up the gulf coast. First checking a spot near Mexico beach before relizing we needed to put the peddle to the floor if we were gonna make it to our final destination before sunet...

Finally reaching the coast line, we decided to check a few spots as we began to trek north up the gulf coast. First checking a spot near Mexico beach before relizing we needed to put the peddle to the floor if we were gonna make it to our final destination before sunet...

After a 100 yard run down a sandy path, we reached what seemed like a dream land. But with swell models showing twice the size about an hour away we knew we had to keep driving...

After a 100 yard run down a sandy path, we reached what seemed like a dream land. But with swell models showing twice the size about an hour away we knew we had to keep driving...

Dreamy

Dreamy

Finally arriving to our destination at 6:30pm. 

Finally arriving to our destination at 6:30pm. 

First look at the peak and Alec couldn't get down there quick enough... Dead winds, sideways rain & draining tubes... Just what we ordered!

First look at the peak and Alec couldn't get down there quick enough... Dead winds, sideways rain & draining tubes... Just what we ordered!

First wave I locked my focus on while walking down the beach to swim out...

First wave I locked my focus on while walking down the beach to swim out...

Alec full amp mode on the walk down the beach... The next photo is a good reason why!

Alec full amp mode on the walk down the beach... The next photo is a good reason why!

Jaw dropper...

Jaw dropper...

Alec prefers his waves on the rocks. We could do without the rain & current though... Those rocks just about became my best friend multiple times that evening. That 2 hour swim felt like a 6 hour swim with all the current and water moving...

Alec prefers his waves on the rocks. We could do without the rain & current though... Those rocks just about became my best friend multiple times that evening. That 2 hour swim felt like a 6 hour swim with all the current and water moving...

Alec's first wave of the session.

Alec's first wave of the session.

Thumpers

Thumpers

Well look who we found just floating around in the panhandle fully solo... Josh Richardson straight sending it!!! He woke up Tuesday morning with an itch to catch some warm rainy tubes on the gulf coast, and did just that. 

Well look who we found just floating around in the panhandle fully solo... Josh Richardson straight sending it!!! He woke up Tuesday morning with an itch to catch some warm rainy tubes on the gulf coast, and did just that. 

Here Josh shows how to late drop under the lip and not fall... This photo was taken at basically dark as we drifted down the beach in a weird rip taking us away from the rocks...

Here Josh shows how to late drop under the lip and not fall... This photo was taken at basically dark as we drifted down the beach in a weird rip taking us away from the rocks...

Alec mid-session catching an inside runner off the rocks...

Alec mid-session catching an inside runner off the rocks...

Snapped this one walking up the beach to swim back out... Felt good to take a few good beatingswhile swimming to get the shot. I defiantly missed a few good ones of both Alec & Josh that are still haunting me but that's part of the battle of what we do as ocean photographers.

Snapped this one walking up the beach to swim back out... Felt good to take a few good beatingswhile swimming to get the shot. I defiantly missed a few good ones of both Alec & Josh that are still haunting me but that's part of the battle of what we do as ocean photographers.

Bonus of walking up the beach every 30 min, I was able to catch of few of Alec's waves from a different perspective.

Back out there & fully tripping on perfect empties going unridden... I'm pretty sure Josh is looking at this thinking the same thing...

Back out there & fully tripping on perfect empties going unridden... I'm pretty sure Josh is looking at this thinking the same thing...

Also making the drive from the east coast was Matthew Glenn & as usual he was absolutely ripping! This photo is a tad different from most typical clean sharp focused surf photos you see but somehow still fully works for me. With so much current, rain, and water moving it was a full mission to hit focus and properly lineup. But if you look around in this photo you can kind of see what everyone was dealing with...

Also making the drive from the east coast was Matthew Glenn & as usual he was absolutely ripping! This photo is a tad different from most typical clean sharp focused surf photos you see but somehow still fully works for me. With so much current, rain, and water moving it was a full mission to hit focus and properly lineup. But if you look around in this photo you can kind of see what everyone was dealing with...

Alec was the head in the far right of the last photo looking at @matthewdglenn get a solid backhand tube & got so amped to go hunt one down for himself...

Alec was the head in the far right of the last photo looking at @matthewdglenn get a solid backhand tube & got so amped to go hunt one down for himself...

Right when you thought things were about to lighten up the rain would basically pour twice as hard.  It defiantly brought a completely different vibe to the line-up. Everyone was fully focused on finding a good one. Rain or no rain.

Right when you thought things were about to lighten up the rain would basically pour twice as hard.  It defiantly brought a completely different vibe to the line-up. Everyone was fully focused on finding a good one. Rain or no rain.

This photo in my opinion gives the true feeling of what we were given Tuesday evening after driving 6 hours in non-stop rain... Alec about to get one of his best waves. Unfortunately my positioning was a tad off and I got sucked through the wave seconds later.

This photo in my opinion gives the true feeling of what we were given Tuesday evening after driving 6 hours in non-stop rain... Alec about to get one of his best waves. Unfortunately my positioning was a tad off and I got sucked through the wave seconds later.

Back up the beach for a another drift & I spot Matthew Glenn grabbing rail to pulling into a mental one.

Back up the beach for a another drift & I spot Matthew Glenn grabbing rail to pulling into a mental one.

"Are you kidding me" (Beener's Voice) HaHaHaHa

"Are you kidding me" (Beener's Voice) HaHaHaHa

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Alec down the beach as I began my drift back to the peak!

Alec down the beach as I began my drift back to the peak!

Speaks for it's self

Speaks for it's self

This one was towards the end of the session. Josh & I had got stuck in a weird rip and started getting pulled down the beach away from the rocks. There was so little light I could only see him if he was right up on me. He had just paddle out for a set wave & this one creeped right under him.

This one was towards the end of the session. Josh & I had got stuck in a weird rip and started getting pulled down the beach away from the rocks. There was so little light I could only see him if he was right up on me. He had just paddle out for a set wave & this one creeped right under him.

There he is...  Josh lurking in the shadows. Just before catching one in.

There he is...  Josh lurking in the shadows. Just before catching one in.

This was my final photo of the night. It was also the point where I realized it was so dark I could not hit focus. I was pushing the cameras settings to its limits while trying to keep a fast shutter & lucked into this missed focued gem!

This was my final photo of the night. It was also the point where I realized it was so dark I could not hit focus. I was pushing the cameras settings to its limits while trying to keep a fast shutter & lucked into this missed focued gem!

Session was over & Josh decided to join us in the van to warm up before we head off to eat wings and drink beer unit we passed out to wake up for round 2.

Session was over & Josh decided to join us in the van to warm up before we head off to eat wings and drink beer unit we passed out to wake up for round 2.

After 20 Chicken wings, a pitcher of beer & a couple beating from the first session Alec was passed out hard when I woke up Wednesday morning...

After 20 Chicken wings, a pitcher of beer & a couple beating from the first session Alec was passed out hard when I woke up Wednesday morning...

With the center of the storm not far from us the weather Wednesday morning was pretty intense. We ended up posting up in the Van for about 3.5 hours waiting for the heavy parts of the storm to pass... 

With the center of the storm not far from us the weather Wednesday morning was pretty intense. We ended up posting up in the Van for about 3.5 hours waiting for the heavy parts of the storm to pass... 

Van life

Van life

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With a break in the weather we set out for some morning coffee and wave check...

With a break in the weather we set out for some morning coffee and wave check...

First spot we checked Wednesday morning was looking really fun but we knew the spot we surfed Tuesday night was the right call so we kept moving...

First spot we checked Wednesday morning was looking really fun but we knew the spot we surfed Tuesday night was the right call so we kept moving...

Finally at about 10:00am the storm had passed us enough that the wind had settled down and we were on it!

Finally at about 10:00am the storm had passed us enough that the wind had settled down and we were on it!

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Amping...

Amping...

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Greetings from the lineup!

Greetings from the lineup!

Alecs first wave on Wednesday. Not a maker, but set the tone for sure...

Alecs first wave on Wednesday. Not a maker, but set the tone for sure...

There were rights too, and Alec found them, but most of the focus was on the lefts...

There were rights too, and Alec found them, but most of the focus was on the lefts...

Was nice to get smacked around by a thicker lip for a change. keeps you on your toes!

Was nice to get smacked around by a thicker lip for a change. keeps you on your toes!

Tubes, Air sections, Open Faces, Alec found them all...

Tubes, Air sections, Open Faces, Alec found them all...

After the storm glass off...

After the storm glass off...

Just your average salt water addict!

Just your average salt water addict!

Was super stoked to see Josh on a fully solo mission over there straight ripping a shortboard. This was my first time shooting with him not on a log & he was looking just as comfortable on a lot less foam...

Was super stoked to see Josh on a fully solo mission over there straight ripping a shortboard. This was my first time shooting with him not on a log & he was looking just as comfortable on a lot less foam...

Here's a little peak at the inside section. This wave is much bigger then this photo makes it look. If you look beyond the front barrel section you can see a seperate section throwing wide in the background.

Here's a little peak at the inside section. This wave is much bigger then this photo makes it look. If you look beyond the front barrel section you can see a seperate section throwing wide in the background.

Yes Please!!!

Yes Please!!!

Matthew Glenn Driving through a runner right off the rocks mid-moring.

Matthew Glenn Driving through a runner right off the rocks mid-moring.

Josh Richardson on a perfect inside section.

Josh Richardson on a perfect inside section.

C for Cody!

C for Cody!

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Insiderz

Insiderz

He came out with a little spit on this one right as I was getting sucked through the wave.

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Off the rocks & down the beach.

Off the rocks & down the beach.

Calculated body movements got your out the other end...

Calculated body movements got your out the other end...

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On the hunt he was...

On the hunt he was...

After 2 days of tubes it was outta the baggies and on the road...

After 2 days of tubes it was outta the baggies and on the road...

Alec amping on the perfect little strike mission we landed with really fun waves on the Gulf Coast.

Alec amping on the perfect little strike mission we landed with really fun waves on the Gulf Coast.

I hope everyone enjoyed the series... Figured it would be a killer way for everyone to wake up & enjoy their Monday morning!

E: CodyColeman@CColemanPhotography.com W: www. codycolemanphotography.com

Cody Coleman