2017 Malibu Open was AWESOME!

In 2017, the Malibu Open was relocated to Trophy Lakes on Johns Island, SC.  Trophy Lakes has been the home of many record braking slalom ski runs so it seems fitting to have some of the best skiers in the world come and show their stuff!  Below are a few little images

Whitney McClintock at 2017 Malibu Open



If you follow my work, you know I love photographing people doing what they love to do.  Nothing is better than a competitive level sport and especially if it involves water or jumping!   The higher the level of competition,  the greater the challenge and the more I like it.   I have been going to Trophy Lakes for over 5 years photographing every competition I can to practice my photography.     When the Malibu Open was announced that it was going to be in Charleston,  I took vacation days to photograph the warmup day and following two days.

Usually,  I will take photographs every weekend of something I enjoy to practice. I try to take at least 1500 images every weekend and have fun.  If I can find a sports event I want to photograph, I will, or I’ll find some birds or something else to photograph.  In September 2017 alone, I took over 20,000 photographs.  This was high even for me and so far it was the month to remember for my hobby.  Captured some of my favorite images ever, that month!  We had three hurricane swells of surfing at the washout at Folly Beach, and most of the best days were on the weekend and most of them were not raining and/or blown out.    All the same month, my son was playing his senior year of high school football every Friday night, and his girlfriend played Volleyball during the week.

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Irma swell at Folly beach

Some of the sickest swell I’ve ever seen a Folly over three consecutive weekends in a row!

I was already getting tired from the long month of photo opportunities, but it helped that with the surfing I was using a mono pod, but then to finish of the month with over 5000 skiing photos in three days with a night football game on Friday in the middle just to up the anti a bit for the weekend.

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Cole running with the ball!

My son #1 running out of bounds the game on the Friday during the Malibu Open.

And on top of all of this “practice” mostly on the weekend, finishing up the month photographing professional skiers happened to be the greatest photographic challenge I have ever faced.   Why, because they are so dang fast and only going in a straight line for a fraction of a second.   They are going generally just over twice the speed of the boat and slowing down in the turns, and the complete run is usually less about 24 seconds.  Which amounts to over 72 MPH for men and 68 MPH for women during various parts of the course in various directions relative to the photographer.

Besides the speed, another challenge is that the light most of the day just sucks on sunny days.   It is not like they start at 7:00 a.m and finish at 9:00 a.m. when the sun starts to get harsh like I normally would aspire to do.   Taking creative images is a must, depending on the location, time of day, wind and weather.   High key and low key images were required to get some of the shots at all with the harsh shadows and extremes.  Depending on the time of day,  in a single 20 second run, you can go from complete high key situation with backlit subject, to normal crappy washed out bright day light, to a low key situation with splashes and refractions being blown out all over the place.   Sometimes I pray for clouds and the wind to stop for the 30 seconds during the run and to start back after it is over!    Sometimes you do get a cloud and then end up with a backlit nightmare and have to make the best of it.  And I try.

Example of the creative high key lighting shot that comes with bright afternoon light.

I could setup on one buoy with a tripod and and take one shot or series of shots of each skier in one spot per run…but if you follow my photography, that is just not me.  I want to get two or three buoy shots and the runs in between if I can.  Depending which camera I want 7-10 frames a second of action at each point.  I also want to get in the best spot to take the shot depending on the light


And below are the skiers that I had the privilege to photograph in 2017.  I think I got all of them once, but I did leave at around noon every day in 2017.

Open Women Slalom

1 – Karen Truelove 2 – Whitney Mcclintock 3 – Regina Jaquess 4 – Manon Costard

5 – Nicole Arthur

6 – Kate Adriaensen

7 – Bailey Austin

​8 – Breanne Dodd

9 – Jaimes Bull

10 – Allie Nicholson ​11 – Brooke Baldwin ​12 – Kassidy Hawkins 13 – Kristen Bladwin

​14 – Marion Mathieu

15 – Siani Oliver

16 – Alexandra Garcia

17 – Alyssa Drake

Open Men Slalom

1 – Brian Detrick 2 – Stephen Neveu 3 – Adam Sedlmajer 4 – Thomas-Degasperi

5 – J Howley

6 – Nate Smith

7 – Nick Parsons

8 – Will Asher

9 – Daniel Odvarko

10 – Robert Pigozzi

11 – Jason Mcclintock

12 – Frederick Winter

13 – Cale Burdick

14 – Chris Parrish

15 – Adam Sedlmajor

16 – Martin Kolman

17 – Felipe Miranda

18 – Mike Morgan ​19 – Trent Nelson 20 – Thomas Ryan ​21 – Benjamin Stadlbaur

22 – Jon Travers

​23 – Chris Parrish

​24 – Joshua Briant

​25 – Tom Brantley

​26 – Austin Abel

​27 – Martin Bartalsky

​28 – Corey Vaughn

29 – Nick Adams

30 – Adam Caldwell

​31 – Adam Cord

32 – Sacha Descuns

33 – Matteo Luzzeri

2017 – Malibu Open images all on my website   

The link above will take you all of the following photo galleries individual galleries.

Practice or warmup day! 

Day 1 Qualifier round

Day 2 Final

The best news is that in 2018 the Malibu Open is coming back to Trophy Lakes!  I cannot wait to take many more skiing photos and attempt to stay past noon all of those days.  I have to learn to pace myself and not take photos of everything that moves until I get tired, like normal.   But that is the great thing about being an amateur photographer, if I want to go home at noon, I usually do.  One of my cameras has over 250,000 thousand pics on it already, I hope it lasts the rest of 2018.

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