It wasn’t until right at the end of my ‘career’ as a surfing photojournalist that I got a serious water housing to take a motor-drive Nikon with a 105 mm lens, and by then it was too late. My interest was slipping.

I’d used the original Nikonos underwater camera since the late 1960s. It was the original GoPro in just about every way… an amazing little machine that was incredibly tough.

The first model of the Nikonos had a fixed 35 mm lens. That means that everything was (super) sharp, but that you had to get REALLY close to your subject… a metre was good. Swimming was the only way that I found to do it.

Haleiwa on Oahu’s North Shore was an excellent place to shoot with the Nikonos. The wave was predictable because of the reef bottom. There was one spot, it was called the ‘toilet bowl’, where sometimes the water drained off the reef until you were standing on it. From the point of view of taking pictures, it was the place to be.


A Golden Age, an exhibition of John Witzig’s photographs of the 1960s and ’70s, will open at the Bondi Pavilion Gallery on 11 September and run for two weeks.