STORIES OF THE SOUTH S1 EPISODE 3 – video launching 6pm, 1 August 2021.
He famously scales the towering cliffs of the Great Australian Bight where self-installed ropes and ladders aid his perilous launch into the Southern Ocean’s engine room of huge swells. It’s inaccessible and inhospitable, but his obsession is nature’s raw and rugged beauty. Colloquially referred to as the White Highway, these waters are some of Australia’s sharkiest, but Rich’s dedication is driven by the images in his mind’s eye, and he’s enticed into this dangerously beautiful playground every day. He admits it’s equally “the most heavenly and scariest place on earth”.
Caption: Rich at his home near Elliston preparing for a surf near Blackfellas: a haunting surf break with a dark cultural history and a deep channel called Shark Alley (for good reason) where he often swims to photograph the surf and its riders.
It’s hard to believe Rich was phoneless before 2014, but it’s true. It probably explains his awkward humility when talking about the (almost) 70,000 people now following him on Instagram. World-famous surfers Mick Fanning and Craig Anderson, A-lister Chris Hemsworth and award-winning photographers follow and chat with him through the platform. Despite all this, Rich lives a humble and private existence where nature, his family, the ocean, surfing and photography orbit his every move. His lifestyle is fully funded by nature; his kicks are provided by swimming the gauntlet of shark alley, his home is powered by the elements, and the ocean his muse.