The sky is threatening grey, the sun is barely shining through and the wind is hauling. PERFECT!
Who doesn’t like a challenge, who doesn’t seek out those tough conditions?
In the eyes and through the lens of a surf photographer things like wind, waves, rain and so many other factors of nature become the primary mood indicator of the day. In the few years I have been in fascination with the ocean, the one thing I have learnt is: Nature doesn’t like us.
Being a surf photographer means knowing and constantly studying things like: maps, radar images, winds, storms, locations, potential wave spots, currents, rips, climate, tides and most importantly: yourself, your gear and your limits. Being unprepared is the killer and there is nothing worse than spotting an obliviously, unprepared person walking into a situation he shouldn’t be getting him or herself into.
Always on the hunt for new angels, new style, new images, new something. In how many different ways can you capture the ocean? When is my job here complete? I don’t even ask myself that anymore. The ocean has an ever changing, infinite amount of inspiring shapes, curves and emotions to capture that will keep so many of us fascinated for our whole life and will have us running back for more, over and over again. We don’t have to come back – we need to.
Those days where everything comes together perfectly are few and far between. Some of us travel the world in the hunt of them – others are stuck to their local break, checking the charts every few days for a distant swell. All of us hoping for bigger, better, new shapes and curves to capture.
But when those days of perfection come around, those big swells hit, those off-shore winds blow. Those are the days you should see us at! Like headless chickens running down to the beaches checking for the best spots, searching for that perfect wave. Every un-shot wave is a waste! Who knows when the next perfect swell will come?! The pressure is on!
So what make a good surf photographer these days?
I think it comes down to someone knowing what they are doing – or at least someone who is open to new experience. Regardless of the gear they use or the location the shoot at. If I’m not physically and mentally ready for what’s coming I should probably not be there. Don’t get me wrong, pushing your limits and going beyond them can be very rewarding, but going beyond your limits requires you to know them first.
And after this we all silently go back to our little, dark room, staring at a screen, edit what we shot and spend the coming weeks mostly on social media finding inspiration and new people to follow and talk to. Talk about what? About the next swell of course!
Being a surf photographer isn’t easy these days. Everyone wants a piece of the pie and it constantly seems like the pie is getting smaller by the minute. It’s a tough struggle and we all know it and fight for it. In the meantime the surf industry is trying to stay afloat by going mainstream and reaching out to the world. Surfing might lose it’s appeal due to an oversaturated, wave, barrel and surf filled media market and the consumers might turn their backs and find a new thing to be fascinated with. But in the end of the day we surf photographers will still be out there with our love and passion for the ocean: swimming, shooting, struggling.
The ocean is our only true subject.
All images are available as prints and more. Contact Chris for any questions or special enquires.