Coconut Wireless Logo Newsletter Issue #1
March 2007
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Welcome to the first issue of The Coconut Wireless. In this issue we interview new Waveriders photographer Chris Burkard, an immensely talented lad from San Luis Obispo. Burkard holds forth on the importance of light, why he likes shooting California’s wild central coast, and how riding himself has helped his photography. Hope you enjoy it.

The Waveriders Gallery Crew
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Inside the Studio
Chris Burkard PhotoAt only twenty years old, Chris Burkard is a phenom in a discipline where the learning curve is alpine and precociousness is as rare as an empty peak at Malibu. The Central Californian has been shooting for only two years, but already has demonstrated a singular talent for composition and lighting. In fact, a Burkard photo is almost instantly recognizable as such. We caught up with Chris in the midst of working on a book chronicling his recent trip down the California coast.

How’d you get your start?

I started shooting photos about the age of 18, so that would make it two years I’ve been doing this. It pretty much all came about because I really was just stoked on taking pics of my friends. Just wanted to remember the moment, you know. I never had all the "formal" training and never had the opportunity to attend Brooks or any schools (not that I wouldn’t have if I had the money), so I Burkard Photo 1was just kinda self-taught. I focused more on the composition of an image, and I did this by taking art classes, and photography just became another medium of expression for me. I guess I would say the ultimate medium. It allows me to have complete creative control, and really be intimate with subjects and at the same time be completely hidden. These are the types of things I focus on when shooting.

Your photos are very distinctive. You’re already developing a signature “style.” How would you describe it?
That’s a hard one. I guess I would say my style of photography is all about light. I mean…light, more specifically, sunlight. I love shooting into the sun…and when I say that, I mean silhouettes. I think there is something timeless about shooting your subject in such a way that you cannot place them in a time or era. It makes them timeless. I love that feeling, something all generations can appreciate. Needless to say, not all my work is based around this idea. There’s always a place for the perfect front-lit, or flash photo, but I think I’m the most inspired when the sun is setting and the offshores are howling.

Burkard Photo 2There aren’t many surf photographers in your area. Is there a thrill to covering an area (the Central Coast) that’s relatively undiscovered?

Shhhh...that’s my best-kept secret. I definitely love being a part of a community of surfers and surf spots that are relatively undiscovered and still hold a few of its best secrets. Not to mention Central Cal is probably the most fickle place on Earth. It makes it that much sweeter when you score.

You ride yourself. How does that help with your shooting?
Growing up bodyboarding in the Central Coast has played a huge role in my photography as well. I think that I have really been able to look up to other photographers who came from this sport, i.e. Scott Aichner, Seth Stafford, Jeff Flindt, and Jack English. There’s something about pulling in on a Boogie that gives you the raddest barrel perspectives. I love that. I think it has helped me to look for certain things when I'm shooting. Also, being very comfortable using fins has helped. I think that because of this it has made me a better waterman.

Burkard Photo 3Tell us about your recent trip along the California coast.
Well, for over two months in fall and winter, me and friend/surfer/artist Eric Soderquist set out on a 50-day journey in his 1978 VW Westfalia on a trip from the Smith River to the Tijuana Sloughs (Oregon to Mex). Our goal was to spend our time rediscovering the coast of California by any means possible. We hung out with Indians, locals, and just about anyone else who was around. We surfed every spot from here to there and had a blast. We really tried to leave ourselves open to new experiences. What we are hoping to do with this project is to make an art and photography book of the California coast. If all goes to plan, it should debut around next winter. (For more information on the book project, visit

Where do you want to take your photography?
I would like to move my photography more into the art realm. I mean, I hardly consider myself an advertising driven photographer. I would like to begin consistent gallery showings as well as work on other projects like the California road trip. I guess that’s a hard one to think about considering I’m only 20 and I have a long ways to go.... Don’t want to grow up too fast, you know.


View more Burkard images here

Upcoming Exhibits
Wade Painting
Waveriders Gallery artist Wade Koniakowsky will be featured in a group show along with surf artists Wolfgang Bloch and David Lloyd at the Pacific Surf Gallery in Cardiff by the Sea, California, on Saturday, March 17th. Wade will be unveiling new works never before seen by the public. The reception runs from 5-9pm and wine and cheese will be served. This should be a great time. Hope to see you there. (Pacific Surf Gallery can be found at 2081-B San Elijo Avenue, Cardiff by the Sea.) View Wade’s work here.

Howard Kirk

Waveriders Gallery artist Howard Kirk is going to be having a show in April 13th at the Shane Townley Fine Art Gallery in Laguna Beach, California. There will be live music by Mary Froemke, food for all, and of course Howard's artwork. The reception runs from 6 to 9pm. Put it on your calendar. You can see Howard’s work here.

New Artist Rob
A former international fashion model, Robb Havassy began his formal painting career in 1996 after receiving a beginner's art kit as a 26th birthday present. Entirely self-taught, his first "traditional" painting was a small surfing portrait of Duke Kahanamoku for a friend. Eleven years and more than 1000 paintings later, the success that followed Robb's first little watercolor has been manifold, garnering him both national and international acclaim. Highly regarded for his brilliant use of color as well as his eclectic mix of style, motion and inspirational subject matter. His work has been commissioned and collected by many stalwarts of the surf and action sports industry, music and fashion moguls, publishing giants, and art lovers world-wide. “I'm truly very lucky to be able to do something that I love so much for a living,” says Robb. View Robb's artwork.

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