Editor’s note: In more than six years, Chris Schanz has taken thousands of photographs during his time as sports editor. In this “Photo Focus” series, he will take a look back at a handful of his favorite pictures and describe the story behind them.”
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “inspire” is defined as to “fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.”
Artists find inspiration from a wide range of sources.
Rembrandt inspired himself, leading to the famous painter creating dozens of self portraits. Claude Monet found inspiration from his gardens.
It’s perfectly acceptable for creatives, photographers included, to find inspiration from others.
That’s how this December 2014 photo — “Tension at the top” — came to be.
The majority of accounts I follow on my social media are photographers and other digital creatives and influencers.
Years ago, I had come across a photo from Getty Images, one of the top visual media companies in the world, of the moment before a swimmer breaks the water during the start of a backstroke event.
Around the swimmer, the water was pristine. Flat, calm and unbothered. But as the swimmer’s head reached the surface, the water rose around the swim cap but the water’s tension kept it blanketed tight.
I thought it was an incredible image, and wanted to do the best I could to recreate it.
Back in the 2014-15 school year, then-Jay County High School junior Anne Vormohr was in the midst of a historic year. She was a few months away from capturing her second backstroke state medal by placing fifth.
Claire Adams of Carmel, who later went on to be an 11-time All-American and Big 12 Swimmer of the year twice at Texas, was the eventual state champion.
After seeing the Getty photo of the surface tension, and the fact Vormohr would be the best female backstroker I’d probably ever get to see, I knew she’d be the one swimmer most capable of helping me reach the goal of making such an image.
I had tried to create the image at a handful of meets earlier in that 2014-15 season, but I just couldn’t seem to get the timing right. I’d either misjudge the spot in the pool where Vormohr reached the surface and I’d miss the moment, or the shutter releases on my camera — the click you hear the camera make each time an image is captured — was a split second too early or too late.
I was just unable to make the image and it frustrated me.
But I kept trying.
Then on Dec. 15, 2014, in a meet on the road against the South Adams Starfires, it happened.
Vormohr kicked off the wall to begin the 100-yard backstroke. Under the surface she went, kicking her legs like a dolphin’s dorsal fin while reaching out above her head for minimal hydrodynamic drag.
I tracked Vormohr underwater as she traveled from my left to right, anxiously awaiting for her to reach the surface. As she approached, I put pressure on the shutter button to start taking photographs.
The first six in the sequence show calm water. The seventh shows a slight bump in the surface, and the eighth is the image I was hoping to get and the one which accompanies this story.
Below the surface, Vormohr’s right arm has made its way toward her torso to begin the first full stroke above the water. Her left arm is heading in the same direction.
By now, Vormohr’s head is about 3 inches above the surface of the water, but it has not yet broken the tension at the top. Her head is completely covered by a thin layer of water, and her goggles and nose piece are not quite to the surface.
For a brief moment, Vormohr’s cap-covered head has created a bit of a wake in the water between her body and the surface, and the photo shows the area about to be violently disrupted by her right arm breaking the water and her first exhale.
The next frame, the one right after the one pictured, has Vormohr’s right arm above the surface, with her left nearly directly below her. There’s still a small layer of water wrapped around her head a millisecond before she fully breaks the tension. The wake behind her face as she exhales has gotten bigger.
But it’s not as close of a resemblance to the image which inspired me in the first place.
I’ve found swimming to be one of the hardest sports to shoot. There are only four strokes (and diving) so essentially the pictures never change; just the people do. So finding inspiration of different ways to document a meet can become challenging.
Water sports, however, can make for some pretty fun photographs. I try to recreate, or even improve on, this Vormohr photo each year.
But there’s a reason why most of the people I follow are fellow sports photographers — it’s so I can draw inspiration from my peers.
Because it’s never a bad idea to get fresh takes so creativity doesn’t go stale.
With a break away from winter conditions approaching, fishing is definitely going to undergo some changes. With the warmer temperatures come normal migratory changes of fish and crustaceans. Some prefer colder water, while others prefer warmer water.
For example, the sheepshead fishing that I mentioned a few articles ago should start thinning out. Our wonderful local Georgia shrimp should be spawning soon if they haven’t already, depending on the weather. With the spawning of shrimp and warmer temperatures, local favorites like sea trout and red fish will become more plentiful inshore.
One migratory species that starts entering our area during this time is a popular pelagic fish called king mackerel or king fish. You can catch this fish with trolling techniques while fishing offshore and sometimes near shore.
And, since we’re talking about going offshore, I’d like to discuss boat safety with you and share a couple of experiences I’ve had recently. I will focus on crew safety in a future column.
First, let me share a few things that I call “Safety for the Captain and Boat.” A couple of years ago, I had a great boating experience that included some bad luck. On the way back from the Bahamas to Fort Lauderdale, in a 25-foot boat, we broke down in the middle of the ocean with 30 miles to land in either direction. The details aren’t terribly necessary. What is important is preparation, which I’ll get into in a moment. A month later on a different boat, I had another bad situation, to put lightly. Eighteen miles offshore near Savannah, I discovered my batteries had a short and neither of them had enough energy to get my engine started. I was stranded – again. But, thankfully, I’d made proper preparation, so staying calm prevailed. Lesson 1, for me, in boat safety – both as owner and (non-licensed) captain of my boat – is to research where you’re going before you go, including route, tides, weather, shallow areas, docking, range and any other things you think are important for the specific trip, as not every trip is the same. Learn from others. I personally know we have a small boat, by oceans standards, with a single engine. With this knowledge, whenever we’re going offshore on such a long journey, such as to the Bahamas, we agree to set up a buddy boat system with everyone involved. Then if someone gets into a bind, we know someone will be there to help.
In my case, we’d made an agreement with the trusted crew of another boat that we would not leave one another if there were any issues. Therefore, when our boat broke down 30 miles offshore, we weren’t alone and did not have to wait hours for rescue, while drifting away in the current.
For long trips offshore, it’s well worth setting up a buddy system like this – even more so if you’re going out in a single engine.
Lesson 2, for me, includes three important parts: proper maintenance of your boat, proper battery management and a back-up plan.
For example, I have an old two-stroke engine that I’ve pre-mixed fuel and oil for. Some of you know that’s basically like a tugboat on the back of the boat. I know my old two-stroke like a glove and I seldom turn off my engine when offshore. Sometimes, when bottom fishing and the wind kicks up from the aft, we’ll start breathing fumes, which is not good, so I’ll turn off the engine.
My boat has two batteries. For my long 18-mile trek offshore, I had both batteries on for charging. Somehow on the way out, both of them went bad, possibly a short. They were on the older side, but still on the last leg of warranty.
I should have checked to be sure both batteries were fully charged before leaving. However, I’d just used the boat the weekend prior and didn’t have time, which was why I went out with both batteries on. Once we got out, I could have gone to one battery for most of my fishing, which would normally not be a big deal since older engines have a stator as an alternator and high reliability for charging the battery system.
I shouldn’t have turned the engine off, but luckily, I’d noticed a couple of boats in the area. (And I wouldn’t have turned it off, had I seen that I was alone.) Before going out in my boat, I always ensure that I have a proper functioning radio. The charge on the battery was so low that it could not reach shore, so I had to radio to other boaters to help relay a signal to the Coast Guard and Sea Tow.
Yes, I have an annual Sea Tow membership and it is well worth the money. I’ve gone many years without using it, but with just one usage every three to six years, it pays for itself and the payments are spread out.
The third and last lesson I’ll share with you is the sense of security that having some kind of emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) will give you. Of course, it should be waterproof. A simple google search will show the many varieties available.
Yes, these items may seem a little pricey, but if you frequently fish offshore, venture far offshore or ever have to battle certain conditions while fishing during a tournament, I’m sorry, but it’s a must.
Within the past two years, I’ve seen reports of boaters being lost at sea from Florida and Georgia. Whether we’re young, old, experienced or a novice, the ocean can claim any of us, so let’s increase our chances of being found.
I’m big on seeking out value, so I chose the Garmin In-Reach EPIRB, which does poll tracking. I can program tiny increments from which to send a beacon signal of my last known position to satellites, which greatly narrows the focus for any search party, should I ever need one. One time, during a tournament this past year, we battled with small craft advisory conditions. We did the smart thing and learned our limitations, but it still feels much better knowing I’m being tracked by loved ones.
Every boat owner must also become a hobbyist weather man. You’re going to need to know what you, your boat and your crew can handle in a variety of seas. There’s no harm in throwing in the towel if you think it’s going to be too rough out there – that is, if you want to live to fish another day. Remember, the ocean and weather don’t care how much you or your guests are yearning to take a boat ride in the fresh salty air or get a fish on the end of your line – and you’re responsible for all the lives on board.
What kind of water sports are there? And what exactly is a water sport?
First of all, we have to set up a criteria for validating water sports. So what is and defines a sport?
The majority of sources define sport as an individual or team, athletic activity that involves physical exertion and prowess, and technical skills.
A sport has a set of goals, rules, and regulations, and can be related to competition or self-enjoyment. The truth is that sports are often, but not always, competitive.
The difference between a sport and physical exercise is that the former is often associated with recreational and monetary purposes, while the latter is meant for wellness purposes and keeping the body healthy and fit.
And why is shooting an Olympic sport?
Shooting is an Olympic sport because it requires a combination of physical and mental skills.
You can’t say any sport is purely physical or purely mental. They’re all some sort of combination.
And from a mental perspective, shooting is one of the toughest sports. The execution of movements and the athlete’s precision are more complex than people might imagine.
What about chess? Is it a “real” sport?
According to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), chess is a sport because it requires both physical exertion and mental prowess.
Did you know that a long, tough game of chess can elevate the heart rate, heighten a player’s blood pressure and cause perspiration?
Chess involves much kin-aesthetic movement. The world’s top chess grandmasters need to keep their bodies in shape to perform at the highest level.
According to doctors and scientists, in a multi-day tournament, a chess player could burn up to 6,000 calories a day. As a result, they can lose around 15 pounds (seven kilograms) after an intense competition.
Despite being a sedentary game, chess’s mental workout burns a lot of calories.
Defining Water Sports
Now that we’ve set the boundaries of a sport, all we need is to add water.
Water sports – also written as watersports – are physical activities that can be practiced in both indoor and outdoor bodies of salt or freshwater.
And each water sport has its own disciplines.
Motorized water sports like jet skiing and powerboat racing were excluded from this category because they’re not human or sail-powered physical activities.
The following list was sorted by most searched water sports on Google in the United States.
The Water Sports List | From Most to Least Popular
1. Swimming Type of Sport: Individual and Team; Disciplines: swimming, diving, water polo, synchronized swimming, open water swimming, and high diving; Governing Body: Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA);
2. Kayaking Type of Sport: Individual and Team; Disciplines: surf kayaking, white water kayaking, marathon kayaking, freestyle kayaking, polo kayaking, slalom/race kayaking, extreme slalom kayaking, marathon kayaking, ocean race kayaking, and sprint kayaking; Governing Body: International Canoe Federation (ICF);
3. Snorkeling Type of Sport: Individual; Disciplines: plain snorkeling, full-face mask snorkeling, bog snorkeling; Governing Body: Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS);
4. Surfing Type of Sport: Individual and Team; Disciplines: tandem surfing, shortboard surfing, longboard surfing, tow-in surfing, big wave surfing, wave skiing, and horse surfing; Governing Body: International Surfing Association (ISA);
5. Sailing Type of Sport: Individual and Team; Disciplines: fleet racing, match racing, team racing, offshore/oceanic racing, and speed sailing; Governing Body: World Sailing (WS);
6. Water Polo Type of Sport: Team; Disciplines: water polo; Governing Body: Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA);
7. Canoeing Type of Sport: Individual and Team; Disciplines: slalom canoeing, flatwater canoeing, and sprint canoeing; Governing Body: International Canoe Federation (ICF);
8. Wakeboarding Type of Sport: Individual; Disciplines: wakeboarding, cable wakeboarding, wakesurfing, and wakeskating; Governing Body: International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation (IWWF);
9. Rowing Type of Sport: Individual and Team; Disciplines: sweep rowing and sculling; Governing Body: World Rowing Federation (FISA);
10. Windsurfing Type of Sport: Individual; Disciplines: freestyle windsurfing, slalom windsurfing, wave windsurfing, speed windsurfing, foil windsurfing, super x windsurfing, and indoor windsurfing; Governing Body: International Windsurfing Association (IWA);
11. Diving Type of Sport: Individual and Team; Disciplines: diving, synchronized diving, and cliff/high diving; Governing Body: International Swimming Federation (FINA);
12. Rafting Type of Sport: Individual and Team; Disciplines: sprint rafting, head-to-head rafting, slalom rafting, and downriver rafting; Governing Body: International Rafting Federation (IRF);
13. Spearfishing Type of Sport: Individual; Disciplines: speargun spearfishing and sling/polespear spearfishing; Governing Body: International Underwater Spearfishing Association (IUSA);
14. Kiteboarding Type of Sport: Individual; Disciplines: wave kitesurfing, strapless kitesurfing, freestyle kiteboarding, speed kiteboarding, big air kiteboarding, slalom/boardercross kiteboarding, course race kiteboarding, foil kiteboarding, snow kiteboarding, kite buggying, and land kiteboarding; Governing Body: International Kiteboarding Association (IKA);
15. Freediving Type of Sport: Individual; Disciplines: constant weight, constant weight without fins, free immersion, variable weight, no limits, dynamic with fins, dynamic without fins, static apnea, speed endurance apnea, jump blue, and skandalopetra; Governing Body: Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS) and Association Internationale pour le Développement de l’Apnée (AIDA);
16. Water Skiing Type of Sport: Individual; Disciplines: speed water skiing, trick water skiing, show water skiing, slalom water skiing, jump water skiing, barefoot water skiing, and wake skiing; Governing Body: International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation (IWWF);
17. Paddleboarding Type of Sport: Individual; Disciplines: paddleboard racing technical and paddleboard racing distance; Governing Body: International Surfing Association (ISA);
18. Skimboarding Type of Sport: Individual; Disciplines: wave skimboarding and flatland skimboarding; Governing Body: None;
19. Underwater Hockey Type of Sport: Team; Disciplines: octopush/underwater hockey; Governing Body: Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS);
20. Canyoning Type of Sport: Individual; Disciplines: canyoning; Governing Body: Fédération Internationale de Canyonisme (FIC);
21. Bodyboarding Type of Sport: Individual; Disciplines: prone bodyboarding, drop-knee bodyboarding, and stand-up bodyboarding; Governing Body: International Surfing Association (ISA);
22. Kneeboarding Type of Sport: Individual; Disciplines: wave kneeboarding and wake-style kneeboarding; Governing Body: International Surfing Association (ISA) and International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation (IWWF);
23. Bodysurfing Type of Sport: Individual; Disciplines: bodysurfing and handplane surfing; Governing Body: International Surfing Association (ISA);
24. Water Basketball Type of Sport: Team; Disciplines: water basketball; Governing Body: None;
25. Stand Up Paddleboarding Type of Sport: Individual; Disciplines: SUP surfing, SUP racing technical, SUP racing distance, SUP sprint race; Governing Body: International Surfing Association (ISA);
25. Underwater Rugby Type of Sport: Team; Disciplines: underwater rugby; Governing Body: Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS);
27. Flowboarding Type of Sport: Individual; Disciplines: stand-up riding and bodyboarding; Governing Body: None;
28. Finswimming Type of Sport: Individual; Disciplines: swimming pool finswimming and long distance finswimming; Governing Body: Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS);
29. Kayak Polo Type of Sport: Team; Disciplines: kayak polo; Governing Body: International Canoe Federation (ICF);
30. Underwater Football Type of Sport: Team; Disciplines: underwater football; Governing Body: Manitoba Underwater Council (MUC);
31. Sport Diving Type of Sport: Individual and Team; Disciplines: event M 300 meters, night diving, immersion 6 kg, obstacle course, and briefing; Governing Body: Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS);
A fully upgraded Grangers Point could be the jewel in the Bucklands Beach area’s crown.
Grangers Point is poised for future development as the Howick Local Board, Auckland Transport (AT) and Auckland Council consider addressing better beachside paths and solving coastal erosion by restoring the popular Bucklands Beaches.
Grangers Point separates Little Bucklands Beach from Bucklands Beach and has long been a focal point for sailing. The original clubhouse was built in the sixties also accommodating winter haul-out for boat maintenance.
Bucklands Beach Yacht Club (BBYC) is now recognised as the BBYC Sailing Academy and still accommodates winter haul out. The sailing club has nurtured and trained budding young sailors since the 1960s.
BBYC club manager Lyle Tresadern said the BBYC Sailing Academy trains more than 1000 young sailors each year across several programmes from the “Have a Go” primary schools involving local schools, through to the progressive New Zealand Qualifications Authority approved sailing programmes which involve secondary schools.
“This area has been an important factor to international sailing success, with the area having produced more Olympic sailing medals and more offshore champions than any other small body of water in the world,” Tresadern said.
“BBYC Grangers Point is an important community facility. In addition to the junior sailing centre, there is a race control tower for keel yacht racing, a community meeting room used by art groups, toilets that are available for public use and an all-tide deep water launching ramp. But due to many reasons, the facility is not meeting its full potential and requires an upgrade.”
To coincide with new local authority attention towards upgrading these beaches and paths, BBYC is planning to partner with the local board, AT and council under the Community Facility Partnerships Programme to redevelop the Grangers Point site.
“It is envisaged that Grangers Point will become a community ocean sport and marine education facility that will satisfy existing needs and future demand,” Tresadern said.
Under consideration as part of the redevelopment, features include:
Redevelopment and enlargement of the building to include more meeting rooms and function space, boat storage and workshop, haul-out equipment storage, accommodation and event/water safety observation and control tower
A water safety focal point for the Tamaki River providing faster potential response times
New public toilets, changing rooms and showers
Complete beach restoration covering reticulated, vertical and stepped stonewalls north and south of Grangers Point
New breakwater, boat ramp, floating ramp and dock.
Roadside and oceanside duel footpath/cycleways
New dinghy and sailing boat lock-up facility
Creation of a reef on the western side of the hardstand with tidal pools which will improve biodiversity
“The upgrade will allow for a wider range of user groups than just sailing and haul-out,” said Tresadern.
“It could store other man and wind-powered craft equipment such as waka ama, dragon boats and windsurfers. Ocean Swimming and triathlon training and events could be safely staged here.
“School groups could use the building and learn about the diverse all tide marine ecosystems and tidal currents all close at hand. It could host major ocean sporting events and attract high-level athletes wanting to train here – all boosting the local economy.”
To have your say by March 20, go to https://akhaveyoursay.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/howickplan