This is the second installment in this series on many loves. It is about Surfing.
Not many people know exactly why they surf. It just is what they do.
Surfing¬† gives a lot to the participant. It often gets to the point of¬† seeming to be a greedy avocation. The more you get, the better you become at it, the more that it drives you.
I have surfed all of my life. My Dad tossed me in a pool at 4. I swam. He then taught me to bodysurf. I never looked back. Only forward. It is still that way today for me. Indeed, for many of us. Surfing teaches one to look down the line. It can also bestow a certain level of gratitude, that sadly is often lacking in our culture today.
Not many people know these two things about me:
I have always been a surfboard builder. It is a part of my heritage. I have built close to 40,000 of them in my life. I have hand shaped 15, 999.
I did a surf and weather report on local radio in Santa Barbara for almost 15 years. Rising at 4:30-5 am each day I would do my weather work up, check the surf, and was a part of a live morning radio show. It was fairly common for me to phone the report in from my shaping room in downtown Santa Barbara. I did this at approx 7:20 am each day. Five and sometimes six days a week.
That is a lot of surfboards. And those were a lot of reports.
I did them both for the same reason:
To put something back in to the sport that gave me so much. It was about gratitude. It was about commitment. I do not know how much it mattered in the long run to anyone else, but it mattered to me. Because if surfing and the ocean benefited me, it could positively affect a¬† culture, and my community.
I am just wrapping my seasonal surf work. I have never produced so much high bar imagery in a series of 27 days swimming with a camera. The Gold Coast, where I live, that stretch of shore that extends from Gaviota to the Los Angeles County Line, has offered up water and weather conditions that were so pristine,¬† I set a new bar for my surf work.
I have a new editor at Corbis Images. It should be interesting to see if she gets this. Funny thing about raising the bar: you can never lower it.
It used to be considered common knowledge that you had to leave here to do high bar work. Hawaii, Indian Ocean, anyplace but here. I have proved that it is just the opposite. There is a reason I call my coastline Golden. It really is.
Seth Godin has this to say about where we live and work.
I have again, been amazed at how alive my stretch of ocean is. The number of sharks, seals, dolphins, bait balls, fish, pelicans and other sea birds I have seen is astounding.
The surfers who I have worked closely with the last month are:
Larry Ugale, Lars Rathje, Hans Rathje, Ted Reckas, Jeanette Ortiz, Sierra Partridge, Donna Von Hoesslin, Dean Hotchkins, Chris Vail, Sam Witmer.
The gallery below is a teensy slice of over 500 new works. Short boarding, long boarding, body surfing, skim boarding, SUP riding. Hope that it inspires you. Click on any of the images to toggle through as a slide show.
Everything was shot on the Canon 5D Mark 2 system and has companion motion picture to go with it.
Tags: Beach culture, Canon 5D Mark 2, Chris Vail, Corbis Images, David Pu'u, Hans Rathje, Jeanette Ortiz, Larry Ugale, Lars Rathje, ocean, Sam Witmer, Santa Barbara surfers, Sierra Partridge, surf culture, surf photography, Surfer magazine, surfing, surfing photography, Ted Reckas, Ventura surfers, Water Photography, wave