Josh T. Saunders

Josh T. Saunders

Former Managing Editor, SURFER Magazine



Trophies and Toñas

Sunrise Surf Shop goes back-to-back at the OSSC National Championships in Nicaragua

The 2014 Oakley Surf Shop Challenge finished in perfect fashion at the National Championships in Nicaragua. Seven teams from seven corners of the country earned their expense-paid trip to Playa Colorado by winning their regional events, and were given the shot to compete for the 2014 trophy and bragging rights as the best surf shop in the land.




It’s His To Lose

This is what it'll take to push the 2014 World Title race to Pipeline

These here are the scenarios that would see the 2014 World Title decided at Pipeline, and not Portugal. For some perspective, Medina's lowest finish in the 2014 season was a 13th, in Rio (twist!), so the odds favor him notching another great result in Peniche. Then it's up to the No. 2-5 surfers in the world to match and extend this drama to the North Shore come December. And if he wins the Rip Curl Pro? He wins the world title, and we meet the first Brazilian world champ.



The Now

Quinn Matthews


Idaho is best known for producing potatoes, gemstones, and the lovely Christina Hendricks. Surf imagery, on the other hand, not so much. And yet, somehow, one of the best up-and-coming surf photographers in the world hails from the landlocked state.

“I was into landscape photography when I lived there,” explains 18-year-old Quinn Matthews. “But to be honest, every photo I took was average at best. The subjects just weren’t there.”

It wasn’t until 2010, when Matthews’ family packed up and relocated to Laguna Beach, Calif., that he found something that truly caught his eye and held his focus.

“Surf photography was a completely different world for me,” says Matthews. “There’s so much more force and action in the ocean and I was instantly drawn to it. I started planning photos out on paper, writing down exactly what I wanted in a composition, how I’d need to shoot it with apertures and shutter speeds, what swell it would take. I had folders and folders of recipes for surf photos, and I was just waiting for the chances to take them.”

Now four years removed from the potato patch, the transplant has been quick to seize those chances and make a mark in surf photography. At a time when the work of many trending surf photographers is nearly indistinguishable, Matthews is developing a style that is very much his own.

“I try to incorporate layers—the subject, the foreground, and background—to convey a feeling,” says Matthews. “I want someone to see my photos and be able to put themselves there.”

His technique, along with his portfolio, caught the attention of many brands and magazines over the last year, which allowed Matthews to explore the globe, living out of a suitcase and shooting perfect waves. The photos from his travels earned Matthews a semifinal finish in the 2013 Follow the Light competition, which speaks to the raw talent and lofty potential of the young photographer.

“I’ve just been fortunate to develop good friendships with a lot of amazing surfers,” says Matthews. “I spent a month in Europe last fall with Yadin Nicol, and he’d go out of his way to introduce me to everyone we came across. Having talented people to shoot with has been huge for me.”

Matthews is looking forward to chasing the world’s best waves with the world’s best surfers, but he won’t be satisfied until he wins Follow the Light, which he says would put him in the company of surf photographers like Morgan Maassen, Todd Glaser, and Chris Burkard. If everything goes according to plan, we’ll be seeing a lot of Matthews’ photos in the coming years. Who knows? Some might even make it back to Idaho.



Photo Blog

Behind the Lens

Meet Ray Collins, the man who pulled the trigger for The Big Issue cover

"Waves are an endless blank canvas, you don't have to convince them to get up early for good light, they don't age, trend, or change sponsors." —Ray Collins




A Big-Wave Education

Kohl Christensen teams up with big-wave elite to advocate for safer lineups

“You want to be responsible,” said Christensen. “You want to have good equipment and wear your safety vest, not just for yourself, but for those out there that might be trying to help you. For your friends. There’s no reason not to. Big-wave surfing is an extreme sport. A lot of people have died. A lot of people have had friends die or come close to dying. How do we prevent it? We can’t totally, but we can do our part to manage the risks.”




Torrey Meister Interview

After his win in Santa Cruz, the freshly sponsored pro wants to get to work

On the eve of Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa, the night before the start of the Triple Crown in Hawaii, Torrey Meister catches his breath on the sand after a late session at Sunset. It’s been a hell of a week for Meister, a stretch where in one day at Steamer Lane he took a shortcut up the pro surfing ladder and earned a new paycheck, complete with a fresh sticker for his nose. Still reeling from the win, Meister explains how he got here and where he’s headed next.



Photo Blog

Illume Spirit Winner

An interview with SURFER staff photographer Chris Burkard about his award-winning photo from Norway

SURFER Senior Photographer Chris Burkard, he of the cold water and pulled back landscapes of far-off locales, recently added another note to his résumé with a win in the "Spirit" category of the Illume Image Quest. Here, he talks about that photo.



Design Forum

John John & Jon

The symbiotic relationship between a pro and his shaper

Pyzel has known the Florences and shaped exclusively for John since he was five. He made him his first custom board, and hundreds, if not thousands, since. He describes their design dialogue as a healthy back-and-forth; ideas flow both ways until they find something that works. It’s obvious that both have benefitted from the relationship.



Design Forum

A Lesson In Fins

Here's a quick study in modern hydrodynamics. Y'know, fins.

What you don’t know about fins could be holding back your surfing.




Tom Blake was a Badass

And other things I learned in "Tom Blake: The Uncommon Journey of a Pioneer Waterman"

Tom Blake was a man's man, a jack of all trades and one of modern surfing's most decorated forefathers. This book, Tom Blake: The Uncommon Journey of a Pioneer Waterman, is a comprehensive look at his life and legacy. This review is anything but. Whet your appetite on a few tales here, and then go buy a copy of the book.


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