Rob Gilley

SURFER Contributor


Photo Blog

In Focus

Bridge to a reef break in Taiwan.

Possibly the most useful—and under-rated—lens in photography is a low-distortion, super wide angle (not a fisheye!). If you want to capture foreground, reveal layers, add visual tension, and exploit depth, this is the type of lens to do it with.



Photo Blog

In Focus

New south swell in Oceanside, California

Shot before sunrise, this “telescape” attempted to take advantage of the low light capabilities of the Mark II, the foreshortening effects of a super-telephoto, and the predawn colors.



Photo Blog

In Focus

Jesse Hines in the Caribbean

Photographer: Rob Gilley Surfer: Jesse Hines Location: Caribbean Image Specs: Canon 5D Mark II, 70-200mm f 4.0 L, 1/1000th at f 7.1 Notes: “Possibly the most important skill in photography is the ability to choose the right lens for the situation. In this case, a 70-200mm seemed to work because it was tight enough to […]



The Culture

Surf-Bathing Revisited

A salute to Mark Twain, one of the original “surf writers”

Like millions of Americans, I was forced to read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn in school, and though I grasped the moral gist and imaginative elements of the stories, I was left with a decidedly ho-hum feeling about the author. To me, the books were so steeped in antiquated, provincial language that I could never get too involved in the plot. I understood Twain, I just didn’t like Twain.



Photo Blog

California Oasis

Snapshots from Southern California's recent flood of swell

Without a drop of water falling from the sky, a long drought broke on January 9th, 2014. That was the day a storm-blocking high-pressure system cracked in the Pacific, and for almost three weeks straight, Southern California surfers drank from an overflowing cup. The following are a few excerpts from those days of bountiful swell […]




Surfers are Sheep

A herd mentality may be bad for surfing, but it's damn good for business

As I sat there watching it, I noticed something else. Just a short distance up the beach, less than a 100 yards north of the Lowers left was a newly-formed little right, which was surprisingly steep, consistent, and fun-looking. To my complete astonishment, however, the fifteen or so surfers populating the Lowers lineup were completely oblivious. Despite this ultra-fun, untouched wave in plain view, they seemed determined to stand their ground and guard some of the crappiest Lowers I have ever seen.




A Man Named Twiggy

How South Africa's Grant "Twiggy" Baker became a Mavericks master

In order to do this, he used a slightly unusual board—one that was smaller and heavier than the standard Mavs elephant gun—a magical olive green 9’0”. Like a smaller board at big Teahupoo, this craft seemed to fit into the scooped apex of the peak better, and the weight of it seemed to resist the side-tweaking effect of the up-the-face wind.




Sea Minor

Highlights from a low-energy Fall in Southern California

The principal question prevailing over California lineups this fall has been, “Is this the worst California surf year ever?” It’s a valid question, but we should all remember that a year of mediocre waves isn’t a year of non-existent waves. As the following photos will attest, there have been a few fleeting groundswells, as well as the odd wind swell in San Diego this Fall. In fact, as of late, the Pacific Ocean finally seems to be waking up from its long slumber.



SURFER Approved

Bird’s Surf Shed

Eric "Bird" Huffman has created a new kind of surf shop in San Diego

He says he’s not a collector—an unexpected statement considering that Eric “Bird” Huffman’s massive quonset hut is filled, from floor to ceiling, with over 1,400 surfboards. Stingers and Spoons, Noseriders and Firewires, Hot Curls and TOMOs—you name it, Bird’s Surf Shed is packed to the rafters with it.



Photo Blog

Dynamic Duo

A glimpse at the competitive spirit of the brothers Hobgood

It has become abundantly clear over the years that the Hobgoods are some of the nicest, most down-to-earth humans ever to bless the World Tour—or surfing as a whole, for that matter. But do not, even for one split second, think that virtuousness and competitiveness are mutually exclusive.


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