California Coast - Matt Walker
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A Shot Worth Dying For

A Shot Worth Dying For

(Sorry, but there is a real story to this photo)
I checked the satellite in the afternoon, and the saw scattered clouds off the Pacific. I called my friend, James, and told him I was heading over to shoot the Crack. Once I arrived on Highway 1, I sent him a text telling him to get up here. The clouds and light were really nice, and the waves were massive. I thought that the swell might be too big to shoot the Crack, but fortunately it was a super low tide. I decided it would be safe as long as I stayed way back inside the small canyon.
It was about forty minutes before sunset, and the rocks were wet, and extremely slippery with moss. I slipped a little while trying to get to my position. I was extremely cautious, and took a very high, and dry route to get to my location.
Shortly before sunset, James showed up. We hadn’t seen each other in years, and it was great catching up on lost time. As we were talking, a couple showed up with their camera gear, and tripods. I could see them struggling over the slippery rocks, slipping a few inches, and then stopping. The waves were pounding just outside the reef, and they made their way closer to James and me. They guy knew that he was in our shot, and was trying to find a place to shoot, so we invited him to set up next to us.
He took his first step towards us with his camera and tripod in one hand, wearing his fully loaded gear pack. He slipped and fell, landing on his back, and instantly slid across the rocks like a torpedo, and flew down into the crevice.
I looked at James, and asked, “Did that just happen?” James replied, “F#*K!”
The crack is much deeper than I ever imagined this time of the year. He was down in there, and there was a good six to eight feet of rock rising above his head. The guy’s wife was screaming while he clung for life. The surge of the ocean pounded him inside the crevice. He was holding his camera gear, and grabbing onto the rocks below for his life. I kept screaming, “Let go of your camera! Throw your camera away!” I wanted to help him, but I didn’t want to die trying. I have heard about too many people dying while trying to save others in dangerous situations.
The man would completely disappear under the rushing water each time the ocean charged in.
I couldn’t just sit there and watch, so I climbed down the rocks and jumped across the shallow part of the crack. I carefully walked towards him still telling him to throw his gear away. By this time he was in so much shock that he clearly wasn’t thinking straight anymore. I finally found some rocks that didn’t have slippery moss, and knelt down reaching my hand out. After some time, a big ocean surge came in, and pushed him closer to me. I eventually grabbed his arm. He wanted me to take his camera first, and I told him it was ruined, but he insisted I take the camera clearly not thinking. I took his camera and put it out of the way. and tried to pull him out. He was exhausted, but eventually I was able to help him out, and on to higher ground.
About ten minutes went by wile the man sat down on the rocks in exhaustion; his clothes were soaked, and I can only imagine his thoughts about almost dying. Eventually he came over to me, and said, “My name is Z Y. Thank you.” His wife thanked us too, and we told them to get to their car, and get dry.

I will never forget that day as long as I live.

I hope my story gives you a sense of how dangerous this place can be. Please be careful if you shoot the Davenport Crack, or anywhere along the coast.

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