The 10 Best Surf Photographers of 2014
By Tom Carey
Surf photography is a tough game. A surf photog can shoot for hours, days, weeks and earn $50 for a photo on a website, maybe a couple hundred for a print mag or as is usually the case, post it direct to his social media for nothing more than a few double-taps. But, like Pabs Picasso said, "The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls." It's so much more than being about the money and here's who excelled in 2014.
10. Laurent Pujol, Hossegor, France.
Laurent’s behind-the-surfer images are ground-breaking. Was he the first to do it? No, but his work has inspired others like Mark Mathews to do the same in even heavier waves. I think that cover of Bruce Irons he shot for Surfing is one of the greatest photos ever.
9. Quinn Matthews, San Clemente, USA.
One of the few groms to come onto the scene recently and actually make a name for himself. Quinn’s images constantly found their way onto Stab’s digital and print formats. The kid isn’t old enough to drink but he just landed a job with What Youth. I don’t know any other kids under 21 racking up the miles like he does. Good to see a kid not shooting shorebreak and actually shooting some real surfers.
8. Kerby Brown, Kalbarri, Australia.
I like the fact that a great surfer picked up a camera and is killing it. With all the brother combinations out there you’d think more of them would follow suit. The population up in Kalbarri is pretty low so doing things yourself never seemed more appropriate.
7. Domenic Mosqueira, Teahupoo, Tahiti.
Who does John John Florence call when he goes to Tahiti? Dom. His Teahupoo images are second to none. I’ve seen him swim from sun up til sun down out there and the hard work really pays off. In the off-season he can be found at Jamie O'Brien’s house in Hawaii. Not a bad gig.
6. Alan Van Gysen, Capetown, South Africa.
The nicest guy on this list. AVG is another shooter not scared to swim with those guys in the grey suits. Man, am I jealous of his scorefest last year in Mozambique.
5. Laserwolf, North Shore, Hawaii
I’m still trying to figure out what a 'Laserwolf' is but it sure can swim. I still don’t know what to call Brandon each time I see him but you have to admit that a name like that is marketing genius. His work is awfully refreshing and anyone who shoots from the water more than on the sand is going to be successful in my book.
4. John Respondek, Kiama, Australia.
This guy is practically on every good trip these days. When you roll with guys like Taj, Dion and Ozzie you’re in good company. After taking a brief hiatus from photography for a few years he’s back at it and never missed a beat.
3. Jamie O’Brien, North Shore, Hawaii.
I don’t know if you’d call him a photographer, videographer, surfer or stuntman. All I know is that JOB is refreshing. Is he super bored standing in barrels on a shortboard or is it all an act for his web series? Who cares? When Jamie surfs, people watch. Did you see him eat shit at Waimea shorebreak on that massive SUP board? I’m still laughing at that.
2. Russell Ord, Margaret River, Australia.
Is he the craziest photographer ever to shoot? I think so. Who else swims out with a fisheye at shark-infested slabs like Russell? To say his work is inspiring is an understatement. The guy has balls of steel.
1. John Q Public, Everywhere.
By far the most annoying photographer of the year but you can’t deny the fact that there’s some classic images on your Instagram and Facebook feeds. All hail the unsung hero. The best camera is the one that’s in your hand.