Frank Quirarte snaps shots of surfers on big waves
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 4 January, 2015 - Frank Quirarte, 51, is a man who routinely powers his Jet Ski into raging cauldrons of whitewater to rescue fallen surfers at Mavericks, often with a giant wave bearing down on them. A man who doesn’t merely hear about Hurricane Katrina and its devastation of the New Orleans landscape, but boards a plane to become part of the rescue crew.
“It’s almost like he’s most comfortable in situations like that,” said San Francisco surfer Grant Washburn, who has witnessed many of Quirarte’s rescues at Mavericks.
“He’s a photographer by trade, getting great shots out there, but when somebody goes down, he’s committed to that. Everybody’s freaking out, most guys (on watercraft) driving away, but no problem for Frank, he’s right in there. When a guy like Greg Long says he wants Frank out there spotting him, that tells you everything.”
Quirarte’s close-range surfing photos are some of the most stunning ever shot, anywhere in the world. Mavericks surfers find comfort in the notion that he will be on the scene, if at all possible, if they’re confronted with a near-death brand of wipeout.
No witness will ever forget the time Quirarte, stuck in mid-rescue because his craft stalled in the foam, got mowed down by a violent avalanche of onrushing whitewater.
He was pushed all the way to the bottom, took “forever” to fight his way to the surface, and was perilously close to the inside rocks when Clark arrived on his own Jet Ski to pull him out. (Undaunted, with his craft unharmed, Quirarte went right back out for more.)