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Photography: Nick Waplington – Surf Riot

The story behind Surf Riot goes like this: on the day of the 1986 OP Surf Pro Championships, Waplington arrived at the event to find that a massive riot had broken out amidst the event’s estimated 100,000 spectators. As he writes in the book’s afterword, “I had one roll of 24 exposures. I made 25 pictures. They are this book.” It’s easy enough to explain, and the photographs themselves certainly hold the eye, to say the absolute minimum. But why has the book been released now? What has the passage of almost 30 years done to these images? What could possibly be the value of one roll of film, shot over the course of a few hours, “as a historical document”?

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