A highly-debatable list of rules to surf by
The problem with unwritten rules is that they’re much harder to learn and far easier to break. As lineups get more crowded and the potential for conflicts rises, it might be a good idea to at least begin to put something in writing.
How dropping your telephoto lens off a cliff may improve its performance
After one loud doink about 20 yards down the cliff face, it tumbled hundreds of feet into a lava rock-lined abyss. Hundreds. It was like a movie scene where a desert wanderer throws a pebble into a dry well and never hears it land.
Will tomorrow's best surf photos be taken with a phone?
Rather quickly, the limitations that previously disqualified smartphones from being used for something as dynamic as professional surf photography seem to be under siege. For example, the arguably boring fixed focal length iPhone lens can now be mitigated with the help of after-market wide-angle and telephoto lens attachments made by such companies as Olloclip. While these attachments might not represent fantastic professional quality, they are harbingers of the future.
Corona Del Mar
When there’s a big swell and not a lot of wind, atmospheric haze can be a big photographic problem. Two ways to deal with it are to shoot from a higher, less hazy perspective, and to use foreground to liven up the image.
A cost benefit analysis
From 30 years of observing guarded lineups across the globe, the first thing I should have told him is that localism is an inexact science. Regardless of how close you live to a spot, or how many years you’ve put in, or how well you follow the unspoken rules, or how good of a surfer you are, you are still subject to the whims and moods of the presiding alpha males—often hair-trigger snap-cases that hand out arbitrary verbal or physical punishment at a moment’s notice. There are never any ironclad guarantees of pecking order, etiquette, or safety. It’s frontier justice, in the loosest way.
A look at the Surf Craft exhibition at the Mingei Museum in Balboa Park
But my dilettante ways exist independently from appreciation, and currently there’s no better place to appreciate the evolution of surfboard design than the Mingei Museum in Balboa Park, San Diego. From now until January 11, 2015 you will find a comprehensive—and in certain parts of the museum, esoteric—collection of surf vehicles put together by none other than Richard Kenvin. Spread out and suspended amongst the austere Mingei setting are paipos and spoons, asymmetricals and boogie boards, fish and stingers, Simmons twin fins and TOMO MPHs.
How Peter Spacek is using surfboards to revive a lost art form
The mere mention of the word “scrimshaw” can raise hackles on the necks of some. It’s an art form stigmatized by the medium it was traditionally practiced on: whale bone and tusk ivory—two parcels of a modern no man’s land. But despite the art form's unsavory origins, anyone who has seen scrimshaw knows how masterful and nuanced these inked etchings—these incredibly detailed pieces of storytelling micro-sculpture—often were. And now the world—or the surf world at least—can rediscover scrimshaw through the impressive, guilt-free work of Peter Spacek.
The Wedge, California
Even with super-telephoto lenses, foreground or background can really help a photograph. Like surfing, correct positioning is the key to success.
Rob Machado and the search for the world’s most versatile surfboard
Rob may have refined the stub, but the truth is that surfers have been experimenting with stub-like designs for decades. In fact, the history of the stub is rich.
Non-center/rule of thirds framing is a skill that often separates a professional from an amateur photograph. This type of approach can add visual tension to a scene, and can contextualize things in a positive way.