Stab Magazine | 7 Recent Examples Of World Class Surf Photography

7 Recent Examples Of World Class Surf Photography

And the novel tales behind them.

full frame // Nov 24, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Ripped right out of the pages of our latest print issue (#86), we present to you seven hand-selected moments, frozen in time for your inanimate enjoyment. While your social-media-programmed-nature may lead you to scroll through and hastily consume these pixel arrangements, we recommend you abstain from such temptations and take the time to digest the words our featured photographers have provided. Only then, when you’ve heard their stories, will you be rewarded with the complete experience intended!

FF 01

Jay Davies grips the tusks of a Tombstone mammoth, Western Australia. Photograph by Mike Riley. 

“It was a pretty solid swell up at Gnaraloo,” recounts photographer Mike Riley of the day pictured here, in this moment featuring Mr Jay Davies. “I was up there with a few friends camping for a couple weeks. Jay was on a different program than I was on this trip. He flew up with our mate Luke Wyllie – only a two-hour trip for those boys from Perth! Not like my six-hour drive each way… I’d been out for a few hours before Jay and all the boys rocked up, and the swell was picking up fast. This one that Jay got was one of the bigger ones from the day. It made for a pretty spectacular drop and a pretty cool image. It was really fun to watch. Jay was up there with his brother, Wyatt, who was filming. Later that night, after a few too many drinks, Wyatt covered my Land Cruiser’s windscreen with whipped cream, with the help of Jack Robbo. I could hear them laughing and caught them redhanded. I wasn’t very happy with them at the time, since there’s no water around for miles, but it came off pretty easy and made for a funny story. Thanks Wyatt and Jack!” 

FF 3

Micky Clarke, silhouette hand stuff, Nicaragua. Photograph by Brian Clifford. 

“I like this moment because it isn’t a typical barrel shot,” explains shooter Brian Clifford. “I didn’t realise how different it was until I got out of the water. All I thought at the time was that I blew the shot of Micky getting barrelled, but I immediately fell in love with it. I’ve known Micky since he was 13 years old. It’s been awesome to watch his surfing progress and being able to shoot your friend ripping and getting barrelled makes for a pretty easy task. I decided to make this image black and white so Micky’s arm and hand would contrast with the texture of the wave surrounding him. Hands just want to get barrelled too.” 

FF 4

Joel Fitzgerald licks the spearmint, somewhere in NSW, Australia. Photograph by Ryan Kenny.

“This winter has had plenty of swell from the south, but not a lot of sand around,” observes lensman Ryan Kenny. “I won’t say where this is, as it’s a pretty rare occurrence. Joel Fitz seems to be hungrier than ever before to surf from dawn to dusk and always seems to be at the best place – minus the crowds. Joel was riding a 5’5” or something, he and a select crew of others pretty much got barrelled every wave for an hour or two before the tide came up and gobbled it. I suppose Joel has the dedication to do the earlies without the constant thought of large white friends that’re currently being seen daily.” 

FF 5

Leo Fioravanti drops an umbrella in the drink, El Salvador. Photograph by Pete Bosko.

“This wave breaks at the top of a point, then bends down the line,” says Pete Bosko. “Leo was getting some sick air sections and I was shooting front on for a bit. I was looking for backdrops to complement the action. I took a risk on this angle – I knew only a big air would look good. The whitewater would block any turns and small airs, but I was optimistic and I had confidence in Leo’s abilities to bust a really high air. This coastline is beautiful and I really wanted to fit it in somehow, and this angle provided that.” 

FF 6

Kai Hing, Morocco, and an exotic-casual dance. Photograph by Woody Gooch. 

“This shot here is at Anchor Point in Morocco,” recalls photog Woody Gooch. “The point looked super fun, but Kai and I decided to avoid the chaos, so we sat down and watched the inside section for most of the morning with no one on it. There were plenty of inconsistent waves and a hefty sweep hanging around on the inside, until we just said ‘screw it, let’s make something out of it.’ Lull after lull, Kai got a couple, but nothing amazing. We kept yelling out to each other the old ‘yep, next one’ – making ourselves feel hungry to make something outta nothing. We’d talked about shooting a big air like this and having the local houses in the backdrop. He finally got a nice one, the section was a little iffy but he somehow punched through it and popped up super high. I thought I’d blown the positioning and focus on the whole image. We came in thinking we were defeated in trying to make something out of nothing. Turns out, it worked…” 

FF 7

Kolohe Andino dodging lines and lures in Orange County, USA. Photograph by Quinn Matthews.

“It was a south swell in Orange County, which typically never lives up to the hype,” explains shooter Quinn Matthews of this day. “Finding good rights in OC on a south swell is tricky, but we managed to get two days of really good barrels. Lowers is about the only spot that’s worthwhile for good waves, but the crowd there (and everywhere else, to be honest) is out of control. Kolohe, Jacob Vanderwork and I decided to look elsewhere. There were a few novelty spots on the radar, but eventually we caught wind from Brett Simpson that there was a sneaky sandbar at Northside HB Pier. We all decided to get on it early the next two days and were on the road at 4:30am. The first day, we ended up sitting in the carpark watching it for hours before finally paddling out. From the beach and pier it looked miserable, we were just too tired to leave and drive somewhere else. Eventually, however, the sandbar cleaned up. With the strong current HB is known for, it kept the crowd limited to just Kolohe, Brett and a few local legends. Of course, we headed back the next day – for some reason at 4:30am again, even though we knew we would just sit in the car until about 7:30. The swell had cleaned up more and was better than the day before. The waves always ended right under the pier and with so many fisherman hanging off the side of it, Kolohe and Brett were dodging lures and lines while surfing. In one of the barrels, Kolohe had a line hit his wetsuit, which he had to brush off before coming out.” 

FF 8

A perspective of fear with a sunny disposition, Dungeons, South Africa. Photograph by Anthony Fox.

“Dungeons is hands-down the most photographed big wave spot on the African continent,” says Zaffa lensman Anthony Fox. “And with that, there are thousands of images of the spot’s menacing righthanders unleashing from the depths of the Atlantic. But you don’t often get to see the arena where all of this plays out – one of the more picturesque in the world. This day was only in the 15-20 foot range and pretty inconsistent, but the sun was out – which rarely happens when Dungeons breaks. This was taken in between swells from a slow set and about halfway through an eight-hour stretch on the ski. I really wanted the perspective of the playing field, which shows what it’s like to sit out there as a surfer, a few kilometres from land, and wait for those swells. Obviously, it’s never good to turn your back out here, or anywhere for that matter, but it’s not a view you get to see of a place that’s just as photogenic, looking from the opposite direction.” 

* * *

Now in case you hadn’t heard, or simply needed reminding, we’re running into the last week that you can enter our current #stabfullframe competition. It’s a collaborative affair between Stab, Brian Bielmann, O’Neill, Developing Legends and Turtle Bay Resort, whereby we agree to foot the bill for one talented lensman or lenswoman to fly to Hawaii to get schooled intimately by Mr Bielmann in how to capture amazing moments with cameras. You’ll spend four nights at Turtle Bay Resort for nothing between long days clicking frames of the world’s best surfers on the Seven Mile Miracle.

Here’s what you need to do to enter:

Much like our current monthly #stabfullframe x @oneillusa competition, you’ve gotta dig up your finest frames, post on Instagram and tag #stabfullframe, @oneillusa, @developinglegends and @turtlebayresort then email your full name, address and the link to your posts (just to reiterate: you can enter more than once!), to [email protected]

If Mr Bielmann digs your shot, we’ll cover your airfare, Turtle Bay Resort‘s got your accommodation and Developing Legends has a free slot lined up for you in the four day course.

The finer details: 
– Competition starts: 8th November 2016

– Competition ends: 30th November 2016

– Winner announced: 9th December 2016

– Workshop: 22nd – 25th January 2017

– Winner receives flights, four days accommodation at Turtle Bay Resort and a spot in the Developing Legends workshop with Brian Bielmann.

- All submissions must be tagged with #stabfullframe, @oneillusa, @developinglegends & @turtlebayresort and emailed [email protected] with Full Name, Address and URL to Instagram posts.

– Open to all countries.

You get the gist: Snap and submit, easy enough? We sure as hell hope so.


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