It has been 2 years since I set up my own surf photography website here on SmugMug, after posting on eppicsurf.com for 3 years before they closed down. It has been a fun journey of seeking out good swells and learning new ways to improve my shooting techniques and editing skills.
I use any excuse possible to head to the beach to do a surf check most days and always have my camera on standby in case the surf is firing. My niche is shooting everyday surfers at their everyday favorite breaks. Many days I just go out and shoot random surfers and then let them know where they can find their shots. I often hear the words, "I have been surfing for 25 years and this is the first time I have ever gotten a really good photo of myself surfing!" I also enjoy shooting surf and skim contests as it helps me hone my skills by shooting the best surfers and skimmers in the world (including surfing dogs!). My favorite thing to do is private surf shoots - I get lots of calls from wives, moms, and girlfriends to purchase gift certificates for private shoots for birthdays, Father’s Day, graduations and any special occasions for the surfers in their lives. Call me anytime to set up a private shoot!
One thing that sets me apart from many other surf photographers is that I have taken the time to learn how to read surf forecasts so I have a pretty good idea of what spots will be going off (or not) on any given day. I enjoy the challenge of studying the swell charts, wind direction, tides, etc. to seek out the best spots - nobody wants to buy a photo of him or herself on an ankle-biter whitewash wave. I also have a knack for knowing when the "sensitive" (aka secret) spots of OC are likely to be firing and I try to be as discreet as possible to not name those spots when I post the photos. This new website allows me to create password-protected sessions whenever these little gems go off.
As an OC local most of my life, I grew up in downtown Huntington Beach and went to Dwyer and HBHS. All of my boyfriends surfed so I got a lot of practice watching surfers in my younger days. I was the girlfriend who was always happy to jump in the panel van and drive to far-off beaches to chase surf, above and below the border - sometimes with clothes, a tent, and a toothbrush and sometimes without! Being half Australian, loving the beach and the ocean was in my blood. I have lived in Australia at various times in my life and even married an Aussie. For anyone who knows Australia, you know how incredible its beaches are and I have been fortunate enough to have explored many of them.
Traveling to exotic surf spots around the world is my favorite part of this job and I love sharing stories about my travels in blogs. What I have found is that the 'surf world' is a very small one and I often run into the same people on remote beaches all over the world. I am nearly as stoked as the surfers I shoot when I capture an amazing shot of them on their dream wave in some tropical paradise and, yes, I have been known to do a fist pump and even jump up and down when someone gets a really sick wave! My husband recently retired and we are looking forward to lots of surf safari trips over the next few years.
Now a mom to two lovely girls who surf, I have been on both sides of the surf photo world. I have been the parent with an inadequate camera who just wants ONE really good photo of my girls surfing to hang on the wall at home. And now, I am the surf photographer who regularly shoots the local high school surf teams in the Sunset Surfing League, NSSA, CCSA, surf camps, small local contests, etc. and I'm able to catch great shots of young beginners and future champions for their families and potential sponsors.
People ask me all the time if I'd like to shoot a wedding, soccer games, softball, etc. and I tell them I'm not interested. For me, being a surf photographer is all about being at the beach, having my toes in the sand, and studying the ocean! To be a good surf photographer, I truly believe you have to "know" waves, understand the ocean and be able to anticipate what it is going to do next. When I get into bed at night and feel a few grains of sand on my sheets, I know it has been a good day.