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A reader-supported surf publication founded in 1992, The Surfer’s Journal is vivid, authoritative, and independent. The goal of each 132-page bimonthly edition? A completely resolved composition. Balance. Color. Story. And purist surf energy from Page One to close-of-book.

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What in the volumes of surf photos and surplus of shooters distinguishes a photographer’s work from the slush pile? We charged Alex Gray with that question while assembling Tom Carey’s portfolio. According to Gray, a seasoned fieldsman like Carey is not defined by criteria as one-dimensional as image-quality on the published page.