JOHN BILDERBACK’S FINAL SUBMISSION

Intro by Jim Gaunt, Kiteworld editor

Been there, shot the shredder, scraped the reef, JB is a legend of Oahu’s North Shore surf-photography line-up. Having his name appear on our masthead as Kiteworld staff photographer for so many years has been a thrill and a blessing. JB held the same position at Surfer magazine, (no doubt profiting far more from it) and has documented the changing of surfing’s guard since the early 80s, yet the raw thrill of the emerging kite scene in the early 2000s had him frothing, photographically and through his own water time. While he most often posted his photo-journals in Kiteworld from Hawaii, he also submitted some of the gnarliest wave shots we’ve ever run from pits along the Western Australia coastline, too. Prevailing from the generation of pre-digital photographers, JB learnt his trade the hard way. He’d swim out at Backyards with a heavy camera rig through one of the world’s toughest surf breaks for a living, just hoping to get a chance at scoring something usable from the precious 24 shot reel in his housing. His craft was tough and, while he’ll carry no passengers when it comes to the calibre of riders he works with, in contrast, he has the warmest of souls. If you cut the mustard, he can make you a star. Whether JB’s photo submissions arrived on slide film via FedEx, or as a bundle attachment on email, there was always ensuing relief on my side that we’d be inking at least eight pages in that upcoming issue with some cutting edge quality. If I was lucky, I’d then be able to twist his arm to write some accompanying words because, for me, his fluid, conversational and sharp, observational commentary, ranks him amongst the best writers we’ve ever had in Kiteworld. I’m so pleased we could squeeze him once more for this final issue. This time he looks at what he thinks binds us as kiters and, over the next pages, shares images of some of his favourite characters to have graced the sport