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The line a surfer draws can tell you a lot about their approach to wave riding. This study, from a slightly sunken vantage, shows a wake trail that speaks clearly to the foundational speed of top-to-bottom surfing. Photo: Brian Bielmann

“Josh Mulcoy and I had just scored in central California so we decided to follow the swell north,” says photographer Mark McInnis. “In typical Pacific Northwest fashion it wasn't as good as forecasted but we still managed to get a few waves. Mulcoy was really selective because some of the rights were pinching and on this one he came out clean.” Photo: Mark McInnis

The imagery of travel, the gritty elements especially (and surprising), can sometimes set the wanderlust hook deep. For photographer Greg Ewing it was Dakar, a port city of more than a million Senegalese, that did the trick. “The capital is built on a peninsula and has some really fun surf,” he says, “and it’s pretty consistent. If one spot is onshore or a little small, you go to the other side of the peninsula and it’s offshore. But the place itself, and traveling through it, was what initially sparked my fascination and love for surf travel in Africa.” Photo: Greg Ewing

Aritz Aranburu sharpens his blade on a clean Canary Islands lip-line. “The first foreign surfers who visited this island, Lanzarote, called it “Ghost Town” because there were a bunch of houses around but no one seemed to live in them,” says photographer Javi Muñoz. “Those volcanoes in the background are on La Graciosa, a tiny island where cars aren’t allowed. Both Lanzarote and La Graciosa are pure lava. It’s like landing on Mars with amazing waves.” Photo: Paco Two

“This was late fall in New Jersey on the first of five days of fun surf,” says photographer Seth Stafford. “Conditions were perfect yet inconsistent, which made those few moments of perfect light stressful. You want everything to come together so badly, but you need the right wave. I was frantically swimming to put myself in position. This one’s color palette made the effort with it.” Photo: Seth Stafford

Faces from The Boardroom: (top) Maurice Cole, Rusty Preisendorfer, Jeff Ho, Gene Cooper, Jon Wegener, Pierce Kavanagh, Wayne Rich, (middle) Roger Hinds, Matt Beard, Marc Andreini, Tom Morey, Tony Alva, Mike LaVecchia, Donald Brink, (bottom) Chris Christenson, Ed Lewis, Carl Ekstrom, Jeff "Doc" Lausch, Gary Linden, Josh Martin, Bird Huffman. Photos: Shawn Parkin

"There is no other way to see and comprehend the mechanics and magnitude of Donkey Bay, Namibia, than from the air," says photographer Alan Van Gysen. "Laid out like a great boardgame, the 2.1-kilometer playing field is visible from takeoff to blowout. It's like nothing else I've ever seen." Photo: Van Gysen

In addition to wild mustangs, this barrier island in the southern Outer Banks used to be home to a world-class shore break. The setup, seen here, was extremely fickle, only breaking a handful of days each year. “Boat access only,” says photographer Matt Lusk. “No roads or houses. Unfortunately, the island has been eroding over the last several years, prompting the Army Corps of Engineers to pump sand onto the outer bars, making this wave a thing of the past.” Photo: Matt Lusk

As professionalism, market shares, media attention, sponsorships, and highly organized competition took hold in the late 1980s, certain sub-currents within surf culture began to react to the perceived commercialization of wave riding. In Santa Cruz—then and now a stronghold—one disgruntled local made his feelings known with a not-so-subtle rolling billboard. “It was 1989,” recalls Jeff Divine, “and there were a series of events in town. Apparently this guy just couldn’t get behind the Surfing Industrial Complex.” Photo: Jeff Divine

Corey Colapinto, matching approach to craft in Orange County. “He was riding a semi-finned design by Jon Wegener,” says photographer and TSJ assistant photo editor Shawn Parkin. “It has two very small and low profile fins, so it’s all about controlling the slide-outs. Corey managed the board well, doing layback tail slides and recovering.” Photo: Shawn Parkin

For the drier segments of society, ocean-side property values seem to mainly consider the view, not adjacent wave quality. Clearly, some lucky landowner purchased both. Central California. Photo: Seth de Roulet

“This is my little studio,” says photographer Sacha Specker of this Cape Town slab, which is located right in front of his house. “Come rain or shine I find my happy place out here. It’s deep water all around with a few patches of kelp surrounding this little rocky bowl that gurgles up on any bit of swell into ever-morphing, flaring, wedging drainers.” Photo: Sacha Specker

It’s a pretty simple equation. If you’re paid (usually minimally) to guide visiting surfers into the best conditions your local zone has to offer, you’re also bound to run into a few resources that slip past the nose of your clients. Mainland Mex surf escort, Fito, leveraging the fringe benefits. Photo: Laserwolf

“We were doing a campervan trip along the coast of the lower South Island,” says New-Zealand-based photographer Rambo Estrada. “We were due to drive back up north the next day, so we parked up at the beach the night before, even though it was freezing. We wanted to do a quick dawny before hitting the road, and were certainly glad we did.” Photo: Rambo Estrada

With so much of our attention focused away from the sand, it can be easy to forget about the scenes that develop at our backs. It can also be easy to forget how lucky we are that the majority of the beach-going public rarely extends their final destination beyond the shore break. “This is the main beach in Mt. Maunganui, where I live,” say photographer Rambo Estrada. “It’s not usually a particularly busy place, but that photo was taken on New Years Day and it was a scorcher. I hauled my 400mm up Mauao, our local mountain, to get this perspective of the masses.” Photo: Rambo Estrada