We’ve all done it. Watching tiny rollers break on the edge of the sand and mind-surfing the shit out of them.
Dom Bakarich was doing exactly the same, but then decided that he would try and show people what he saw using the magic of photoshop. The rest is history. Amassing an Instagram following of over 6,500 and counting, the likes of Dave Winchester, Ryan Hardy and Michael Novy have all found themselves in a bodyboarders version of ‘Honey, I Shrunk The Kids‘.
A trainee golf professional with a degree in Graphic Design, Dom is currently residing in Newcastle NSW, having grown up on the Central Coast. We sat down with Dom to find out more.
First up, Your mini-waves have gone viral! What gave you the inspiration to start creating them?
The easiest answer would be, I started photoshopping surfers/boogers into my mini waves so people could see what I see when I look at mini waves. Getting such a good reception has just made me keep doing it. Initially I was just mashing up the occasional pro, but that lead to a bunch of requests from followers wanting me to mash them up. I now spend about 10 hours per week mashing up pics for followers.
Did you have a background in photography and bodyboarding beforehand?
I’ve been a booger since I was about 10. When I moved to the Central Coast with my mum back in the mid 90’s I was in the surf daily. I used to have an underwater camera back then, but I definitely wasn’t a photographer. To be honest, I wasn’t really into photography until late 2014 when I moved to Newcastle. My wife and I moved to a place called Stockton (Slightly North of Newcastle) and as soon as I saw the little perfect barrels rebounding off the breakwall I knew I had to get a camera and shoot them.
How do you choose what rider to put with which wave?
When I do follower pics, they’re completely opposite to when I do mash ups of pros. With follower pics I need to find a wave that will match up with the pic they send me i.e.. getting the light and angles right etc. With the pro mash ups, I usually have a wave that I want to use first. I hope this next bit makes sense…. I try to match up how I think that wave would be ridden with a pro that would ride it that way. For example, mini ramps need Hubb launching, mini foamball barrels need Hardy spinning into them, that kind of thing.
Did you ever think they would be such a hit with people?
Not in the slightest. I thought they’d give people a laugh, get a few likes and that’s about it. Having riders like Hubbard, Winchester, Botha and Novy reposting the shots absolutely blew me away.
Have you had any particular requests?
Haha I had one unusual request from my wife’s friend to put a pic of her Guinea Pig into a mini wave. Apart from that, I get requests from a few photographers in the US and Hawaii to mash people into their waves. @smitherpix and @beefs_official are two guys that I team up with occasionally. Their shots of mini waves are so glassy it’s ridiculous.
Where to now? Are there any other projects on the horizon?
Well, I want to try and create a career in photography and in particular surf photography. I shot the Shark Island challenge last year and it was amazing, I’ve also shot a surf event for Surfing NSW and a Standup Paddle board event in Newcastle last year, all little jobs and not enough to give up my day job for. If I could get work with APB, WSL or a surf label as a travelling photographer that would be my ultimate job.
In regard to projects, I’m starting to get a heap of slow motion mini wave footage that I’m gradually editing into a short flick. Just a side project for the time being.
Thoughts on the state of the bodyboarding industry?
When Riptide and Movement fell out of print publication I thought bodyboarding in Australia was doomed and I thought this was probably a pre-curser for what would follow around the world. But following the APB events this year via web-streams, I am happy to admit I was wrong. The level of riding was insane, and I especially loved seeing riders like Garth McGregor turn back the clock and have some awesome contests. Bodyboarding doesn’t have the sponsors it once had but if anything it’s made the sport more pure I think. You know that bodyboarders are pushing themselves into crazy waves because they genuinely love the rush, and not the financial reward that may or may not come from it.
Where can we see more of your work?
Instagram @miniwavesbydom or @blackwavephoto
Facebook /miniwavesbydom or /blackwavephotography