Yo Check These Waves

I just wrapped up an incredible week recording ocean surf along the Olympic Peninsula. Mentoring me through it was Gordon Hempton, a well known acoustic-ecologist and long time local resident. Gordon schooled me in how to anticipate sounds by reading the breaks, how to take advantage of living surfaces for resonant effects, and why it’s always good to pack a lunch on your outings: “not because you need food, but because a hungry stomach gets fuckin’ loud.” I was fortunate to be able to play with some top-notch gear for my experiments, but if anything what the experience taught me was how iterative the recording process actually is — cut, cut, cut, take, cut, cut, cut, cut … a 10% success rate is pretty standard.

Click below to hear some Olympic surf, or download the zip for the full deal. I start in a series of tide-pools that line southern edge of the Juan de Fuca before moving to a majestic expanse of wide open Rialto Beach. Perfectly spaced 8 ft. breakers crashing across a wide pebble shore. Pacific wind. Yes… The final sequence was recorded from the inside of a hollowed out spruce. Treatment consists of cross-fades and volume mastering. Wear headphones for full effect!

Olympic Surf (short clip)
Olympic Surf (zip)

* And if you REALLY want to check out these waves, email me and I’ll send you the higher-res version (as in ‘.WAV’s – eh!).

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