The Truth Behind ‘The World’s Glassiest Barrel’

Video: @smitherspix

Over the past few days you may have seen the mind boggling photo of Josiah Schmucker in a barrel so glassy it must have been forged in the heavens, by the angels of ‘Huey’ the wave God.

Well for a lot of you, all is not as it seems….

Last week, we came across a very unique image by a photographer named Shaun Smith, aka @smitherspix. The photo was of an incredibly glassy, but rather small wave.

After posting the image on the @garagefilms Instagram with the caption ‘I wish I had a human shrinking machine to surf these mini waves of perfection’ a desire was sparked for one team member to turn a dream into reality… kind of.

By combining this photo with one from the equally epic @sa_rips Instagram gallery, we were able to bring the imagination of one, into the computer screens of thousands… and people believed it (those that knew it was fake didn’t hold back either).

Here are the two original photographs:

And here is the result of combining them:

After the ordeal we caught up with Shaun (the original mini wave photographer):

Shaun, I think the question on everyones mind is, what was the real size of that wave?

The wave was only 1 foot and it’s a reef spot that produces fun waves on days most people would say we have no swell.

A lot of people think it was photoshopped before we even got to it. Can you put their conspiracies to rest once and for all?

The image is a real picture and it took me a few years to figure out how to shoot it and get quality images.

Can you tell us the where that magical wave was captured?

As far as the location goes, let’s just say I live in Orange County, California. That’s about as detailed as I’m gonna get.

Haha fair enough! What got you interested in shooting mini waves?

The big reason I got into shooting mini waves is because I got bored of not shooting at all when the waves were tiny. Now I feel like I can shoot whether it’s 1 foot or 10 foot.

What camera do you use?

I use a Sony a6000 with a sigma 30 prime lens or a GoPro hero4 black attached to a 3 foot Knekt trigger pole. My goal is to get as close as possible and both of those set-ups work best for me.

What are the ideal conditions for shooting waves like these?

I have several mini wave reef spots and I honestly think the best days are when Surfline says 1-3 feet and poor. Every spot is different, but high tide and lack of swell seems to be the call.

Lastly, have you got any hot tips for photographing waves that small?

My best advice for shooting waves like this is to put in lots of time. First you have to find a spot, and that’s difficult because what your looking for is a 1 foot reef slab most people would think looks like nothing at all. I suggest throwing on a pair of old tennis shoes and walking around locations that have lots of different reef points or nooks. If you see something that might be shootable walk right out in your tennis shoes and go for it. Lastly, there is no such thing as getting too close. My best shots are ones like this, where the wave is about a foot away from the camera. It’s not easy, but it sure is rewarding when you get a good one!

Thanks Shaun. Here are a few of our favourite mini waves from his Instagram. Make sure you check out the rest on his Facebook, Photo Instagram, Video Instagram and YouTube.


Also thanks to Rich [view his website here] for photographing Josiah Schmucker, aka @japmate, in the perfect position and Josiah for being in the perfect position.

Similar to Josiah, we were blown away by the response to the photo, here’s a little quote from his caption on the photo, from his Instagram: ‘Response to this photo has been almost overwhelming. It was my birthday this day and Mother Nature, Father Time and Uncle Huey came together at different times for @sa_rips x @smitherspix so @garagefilms could create a pretty pretty picture. Stoked to be involved.’

Yew! Sorry if we tricked anyone! We too, one day hope to find a surfable barrel this glassy!