Pipe water shooter snaps wrist prior to season. Photos improve!
Imagine this. You shoot water for a living. It’s a perilous game, sure, but enough to keep the damn wolves away from the door. And it’s s a great life. You swim and you’re front row to the best in the biz.
“I’m not stacking paper but my bills are paid, my kids taken care of and I’m travelling the world doing what I love while calling Hawaii base camp,” says Brandon Campbell (aka Laserwolf) whom I claimed, yesterday, had taken the best big-wave shot ever. “I wake up every day and do whatever I want. Surf when I wanna surf, shoot when I wanna shoot. No one telling me to shave my face, tuck in my shirt, where and when to be.”
This year, howevs, his craft was imperilled when he went mountain biking with his thrill seeker pops in Canada just before the start of the North Shore season.
“The old boy is such an animal when he gets on a bike so I was just doing my best to keep up,” says Laser. “I had work contracts lined up and I didn’t want to risk getting hurt. But I didn’t listen to my instincts so I went on the trip and ended up snapping my hand half-way off my arm and doing a ton of ligament damage,” says Laser. “I flew home for surgery and my hand is still held together by a metal bridge plate and a bunch of screws. I can’t bend my wrist in any direction and it took a while to get control of my fingers. It wasn’t just your typical broken wrist that heals in a month. I was going to be one-handed for the entire season.”
Laser says he sank into a depression. “My shooting hand! My only means of providing for my family! A baby on the way. The high cost of living in paradise.” Also, he says, “This was my winter to really shine. I thought for sure I would lose my contracts and would be stuck shooting from the beach all season, getting the same boring photos as everyone else on the beach.”
Once he binned the painkillers, howevs, Laser got his old hustle back.
“Once I got off those things, I snapped out of my funk, quit my bitching and started training my left hand to hold that heavy water housing,” he says. “I kept the injury under wraps and, fortunately, none of my contracts started till November so I had almost two months to adapt. By the time everyone showed up to the North Shore, I was 100% with my left hand and just sort of played it off as a minor injury. I was still in pain and was risking doing long-term damage if I smacked my injured hand on the reef or even if I just got tossed around too much in the water.”
And the effect?
“It was a blessing in disguise. I’m getting different angles and now I can shoot with either hand! My photos went up a notch! Blessing in disguise? Yeah, it was.”