Reinventing Surf Photography: The Story Behind Mark Matthews & Taj Burrow at The Right

‘The Crew’ is a stand out documentary series which follows the extraordinary lives of 3 best friends on a journey to become the top of their professional fields. A singer Kid Mac, an MMA fighter Richie Vas and lastly a big wave surfer – Mark Matthews. From organizing Red Bull events such as the mammoth Cape Fear to being one of the leading competitors in the Eddie Aikau Hawaii event, Mark is constantly looking for ways to further his beloved sport.

So when Stab approached him with an incredibly unique way to expose the risks and rewards of his profession, he jumped at the chance.

The brief – to reinvent surf photography as we know it, following behind and filming a top surfer on one of the top 10 biggest waves in the world, Western Australia’s ‘The Right’. 

The television show ‘The Crew’ takes you on an exclusive behind the scenes of the day Mark Matthews and Taj Burrow endeavored to capture surfing imagery unlike anything ever seen before. Watch the impressive event and scroll down to hear what Mark, Sam and Taj had to say: 


The idea of the shoot that we did at the right… it was really the brainchild of the guys at Stab surfing magazine. They came up with the concept, take a surf photo which is basically regarded as the best surf photo ever taken in surfing by Laurent Pujol – it’s his perspective of being behind a surfer in a perfect barrel and in order to take that photo he actually had to surf behind that surfer. I was talking to Sam Macintosh and we were like, well, let’s just get another surfer and I’ll take the photo.

Mark Matthews


He’d (Mark) heard about this and goes ‘ooh I can just do it, let’s do it at the right. Bigger barrel than anywhere in the world’. I was like yeah, ok, yeah cool. I just thought he was mouthing off. In the background I’d sort of spoken to Taj (Taj Burrow), said Mark wants to do it, you want to do it? And TB’s like yeah ‘ll do it!

Sam Macintosh STAB


Taj is hands down one of the best surfers on the planet and I’ve seen him surf big heavy waves, he’s a pipe master, he surfs north point and all the big heavy spots in Western Australia.


When this one actually came to life and he told me that Mark’s keen to do it and there’s a swell coming and I was home with nothing to do, no excuses, I realized I was friggin committed so I was like ok, we’re doing it.

Taj Burrow

I’d been terrified about it, I tried to text Mark like ‘what boards, and what this and what that’ and he just laughs at me and just says bring your floaties and like just teases me, and I’m just like going, [BEEP] what am I in for?

I’ve done heaps of towing but never into a wave like that big, no way. But [BEEP] like looking at the photos of when you get a good one it’d be so sick to stand tall on one of those beasts.

Mark Matthews, Taj Burrow & Sam Macintosh discussing the shoot.


So when we finally get out there and we rock up alongside the wave it’s a fair bit bigger than I thought…

I went from thinking it’s probably gonna be too small, it’s not gonna happen (I was so nervous) to like, now I have to pull in behind TB with a massive camera over my head and I’m definitely gonna wipe out but… My whole theory is that don’t look at it for too long, just get out there and start riding waves, because if you look at it too long you talk yourself out of it, you see everything bad that’s going on in the lineup.


There was two tow teams out there already and I just watched like a medium one fold that no one took and it was just so big and round and so much power, just raw out in the middle of the ocean kind of nastiness.

I kind of wanted to take my time and I almost wanted to get one on my own to start with and Mark was just so psyched, he’s like let’s go there’s not many we’ve just gotta get one, get one now!


So it was just like straight away I yelled out ‘this one go, go!’

That first wave was pretty nuts, looking up at TB who was positioned on a higher line than me and just seeing the curl of the barrel going over his head while I was like down below him tracking through.



When we sat back and watched the footage of that actual ride of both of us on it I hadn’t ever seen anything like it. After seeing the photo of TB and myself like both inside that big barrel yeah like… I’ll be showing that one to my kids. 

Check out one of the best Australian reality tv shows, ‘THE CREW’. Click here for more: THE CREW TV SHOW