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LiQUiFY Earns Four Finalist Spots At Coveted Gold Coast Media Awards

Sheldon Simkus full throttle under the lip at TOS during the Cyclone Pam swell earlier this year. This image is nominated for Best Sports Photo at the 2015 Maccas // Photo Luke Sorensen
Finalist nominees for this Saturday’s Gold Coast Media Awards (MACCAS) gala awards ceremony have been announced today, with LiQUiFY Magazine’s chief photographer and writer Luke Sorensen a 4X finalist in both writing and photography categories.

His images and story telling have again placed LiQUiFY strongly in the Gold Coast based media landscape, cementing his reputation as a broad and dedicated photojournalist.

Picking up two nominations in the Best Sports Photo category, his two water shots present opposite spectrum of the surfing dynamic and realm.

First is his shot of Sheldon Simkus (above) taken under the lip during the Cyclone Pam swell that maxed out South Stradbroke Island earlier this year. This critical frame has all the elements of high impact surf photography – the guillotine lip approaching, late afternoon front-lit conditions, howling offshores and a more than capable surfer riffling into the section and he threads the barrel. You can see the full spread from this session HERE.

Luke recently recounted the session – “It was pretty mental that day. Ibis got a massive one, so did a few people. A couple of the sets were about as big as she can handle without washing out the beach, and a few were even breaking way outside in the deep water. I don’t know how big it was, people argue over how many feet, this and that – it was just a very solid day with a cyclonic ground swell from 2500km away.”

Chris ‘Ibis’ Bennetts locked into a solid screamer from that afternoon // Photo Luke Sorensen

“There was a fair bit of water moving around and some deadly lips so it was a very challenging session to swim with a wide lens on – but hey, this is my home and I’ve been shooting here for over 20 years so despite my unfit self … well it’s all about experience, or so I am told ha! I only saw one other photographer take to the water, nobody else wanted to take it on.

“Sheldon got a couple that day, but this particular one just reared up outside of me and I was caught inside. I thought about bailing under but then I literally thought fuck it, this is why I am here. I took a couple of lips directly on the head that day (and one big one to my lower back that had me in hospital weeks later) to get one of Sheldon. He charges that kid and he’s got a pretty wicked style – he’s a good kid and will go far for sure.”

The second photograph nominated is his shot of Californian longboarder Karina Rozunko noseriding off the wall at Duranbah and demonstrating why she is one of the most graceful and styling surfing women on the planet right now. The shot not only made the pages of LiQUiFY, but was also picked up for the cover of Sunshine Surf Girls – Australia’s only women’s surf magazine.

Karina Rozunko drenched in style and grace, shooting the line with toes over at Duranbah // Photo Luke Sorensen

Luke’s writing and storytelling has also made the cut, with his feature tale of the two Micks, which dug into the stark contrasts between Surfers Paradise father and teacher Mike Hoile’s incredible Great White encounter at Lennox versus Mick Fanning’s very public encounter – so similar yet so different especially in the aftermath of both encounters.

Rounding out the nominations is the adventurous feature story on Dr Olaf Meynecke’s incredible research mission to capture humpback whale snot off the Queensland coast. Olaf’s incredible journey to utilise drones and biology to better understand whale diseases and respiratory systems is a world first, and the adventure to be had on such a sea voyage is unlike anything most people have ever witnessed. Read the full feature story HERE.

Dr Meynecke’s research is as exciting as it is revolutionary and brilliant – with a dose of that craziness that makes it an adrenaline-charged scientific expedition of extreme discovery // Photo Luke Sorensen

Luke says that if this story wins an award, it will be immediately dedicated to Dr Meynecke and his team for the incredible legacy they are paving when it comes to ocean research in Queensland.

Dr Olaf Meynecke leads the Humpbacks & Highrises group, a collective of whale scientists and community members fighting to protect and enhance the whale population’s existence in this region // Photo Luke Sorensen

“Olaf is just a great human being. He’s one of those people that the world desperately needs more of. His compassion is only matched by his determination and knowledge when it comes to not only saving our marine environment and ecology, but providing us with the proper insight and knowledge to know why we are saving it, why we are here and what our purpose and existence should represent.

“I am so grateful he is out there doing what he does and I wish more people in governments and industries would invest in his groundbreaking work – they owe themselves a kick up the backside if they aren’t backing scientists like him all the way,” he said.

The Gold Coast Media Awards Maccas gala dinner and ceremony is this Saturday the 14th of November at the Marriott in Surfers Paradise – hosted by The Media Club in partnership with Adcock Management.

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