Back in 2013, the news that acclaimed 28 year old surf photographer Jacob Cockle had lost his life while swimming in a whirlpool sent shockwaves through the Cornish surf community.
Cockle was from Penzance and attended the same school as fellow lensmen Jack Johns and Mikey Smith. He was cut from a similarly talented and fearless cloth, making a name for himself early on as an excellent water photographer. He was also an absolute charger himself and lived a life rich in adventure both in and out of the sea. His was incredibly dedicated to getting the shot, winning numerous awards for surf and travel photos throughout his carer.
Now, for the first time since his death, the story of his life and the events of the fateful day he lost it have been documented in full by journalist Duncan Leatherdale in a article on the BBC news website.
The story is beautifully written, with input from Jacob’s friends, family and members of the wider community. It serves as a moving tribute to a man taken far too soon.
Click the link after the following excerpt to read the story in full:
“Artist David Raine, who had collaborated with Jacob in the past, was in his living room when he saw his friend running towards the house.
Jacob was excited, already wearing his wetsuit and clutching his camera.
David agreed to film him as he swam around the whirlpool.
By the time he reached the harbour, Jacob was already in the water.
He was wearing a rubber horse’s head, a prop he thought would make the video more eyecatching on YouTube.
Jacob had already shot a lot of footage but while the whirlpool was there he wanted to make the most of it.
David filmed from the quay as a whooping Jacob swirled around the whirlpool’s edge.
“It looks a powerful one,” David called to Jacob.
“Ah yeah, earlier on it was really scary,” Jacob shouted back.
“It’s fine now because it’s so deep but when I first got in I was a bit scared to be honest.
“It’s safe as now, though.”
He let the whirlpool carry him around again. It caught Jacob, tugging him down.
“Woah woah,” he cackled as he escaped the drag.
“That was pretty scary.”
He asked David to pass him a GoPro camera attached to a short pole. Jacob wanted to get one last shot below the surface.
Jacob dived down.
David watched. Jacob did not reappear.”
Read the story in full on the BBC’s website here.