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Newsletter Issue #9

Welcome back to another issue of the Coconut Wireless! This month we pick the brain of surf lensman extraordinaire Sean Davey and learn the ins and outs of the (sometimes) glamorous profession of surf photography. We'd also like to welcome Steve Fitzpatrick to the site. He's a true "sultan of the snapshot" with over 15 years of water-bound experience under his belt. We're stoked to have him on board and we know you'll dig his work, which you can view here. Hope all is well on your end of things, and don't forget to stock up on cold water wax - winter is just around the corner!

'Til next time,peace
The Waveriders Gallery Crew

Inside the Studio

Sean DaveyYou have been shooting waves for quite some time. Was there anything or anybody in particular that provided the inspiration for you to begin your journey as a surf photographer?

Many actually, but as far as waves are concerned, Woody Woodworth would have to be my main inspiration back in the day for sure. Bob Barbour was another, as well as Warren Bolster.

You make your living in a pretty competitive environment, and we're pretty sure there are pitfalls aplenty. What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a surf photographer?

Do it for the love of it first and foremost. Definitely don't put any more money into it that you aren't prepared to get back. It's definitely a tough gig to break into.

The benefits of being a surf photographer are pretty apparent - traveling to exotic locales, hobnobbing with industry bigwigs, the potential to get paid well to do something you love - however there's always a yin to the yang. What, if any, are the downsides of working as a professional surf photographer?

The downsides are quite numerous actually. So much money is required to outfit a surf photog', what with all the lenses, cameras and waterproof housings needed to get the job done - not to mention computer gear, software etc. Then, it takes a lot of time to develop the skills, not to mention a unique style that makes magazines want your work.

I think anyone who has been in the water as much as you have must have some ocean-related horror stories. Have you ever had any close calls when you were shooting?

One of the worst was a 6-8 foot day at Backdoor with swell coming from both the west and the north. I was sitting in the danger zone when a swell came from both directions at the same time and reared up into a 12 foot peak, catching me hopelessly deep. I thought I was gonna die! I was thinking "just injure me, don't kill me yet, I have lots to do yet with my life." Somehow, I got lucky and made it under physically unscathed, but a little scarred mentally [laughs].

 Pure WildernessAs we said before, travel tends to be a hallmark of the surf photographer's job description. What is your favorite place to shoot, and why?

There are many actually. Hard to pick one spot really, but I really do enjoy shooting locations that are wild and undeveloped, usually with no one else around. Tasmania is a favorite of mine for this reason. I always return from there with a new batch of stellar pics.

Do you have any trips coming up that you are particularly looking forward to?

I just did a sick one actually, but it wasn't really surf-related. It was actually a concert tour in Brazil with Donovan, G Love, Matt Costa and ALO. I didn't end up shooting one surf photo, but for me the opportunities to shoot concert photos were totally unprecedented - one of the best trips that I've done in quite a while! I do have a couple of surf projects in the works, but I can't really say anything about them at this stage.

Grace Under PressureWe're living in a digital age in which the humble surf photographer no longer needs to swim all the way in to shore in order to reload his camera. Photo editing software has also allowed images that would once be considered trash to be revitalized into stunning examples of waveriding bliss. For better or worse, how do you feel the advances in photographic technology have affected your profession?

Digital technology has been both a blessing and a curse. It's made it a lot easier for novices to shoot decent images, which has heavily watered down the traditional markets that we work in. There are so many more shooters out there now, and most of them are pretty oblivious to the established market rates. Many surf companies have been all too happy to exploit the situation, oblivious to the damage that has been done along the way. The upside is that the newer technology has improved our ability to pull off what used to be almost impossible photographic situations. For me, RAW is the best new tool I've seen in many years.

Is there any young talent amongst this surge of novices that we should be on the lookout for?

Always. There's always new talent on the boil. Probably Daniel Russo is one of the hottest new shooters on the scene at the moment. He swims in some gnarly surf to get his images.

Right on - we'll have to look him up! Finally, what surf art or photography is adorning the walls of the Davey residence?

Hmm, there's a few of mine, along with some classic David Pu'u prints and Jay Alders' amazing paintings. I'm actually trying to start a good collection of my peer's works, so if anyone out there wants to trade with me, fire an email my way!

Gold Curl

Off the lip

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.
  Art is knowing which ones to keep.” -Scott Adams

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Sipping Jetstreams
Select Images on Sale!
For a short time only we're offering these choice prints at a discount. Check it...

DVDs This offering of surf movies is a healthy cross section of wave riding on film and ranges from the classic to the quirky, any one of which will make a fantastic addition to your surf movie collection.

These DVDs also make great holiday gifts! View the collection here.

upcoming exhibits
Every month we let our readers know about all the wonderful events that our artists and photographers are involved with, so we figured it was about time for us to jump in and let all our readers know what's going on at the Waveriders Gallery, too. Towards the beginning of the new year, Waveriders Gallery will be opening up a new storefront! It will be centrally located in the Sorrento Valley area of San Diego, just off of Interstate 5. We are planning ongoing events throughout the year, including exhibitions of our artists' and photographers' work, movie nights screening classic and modern surf flicks, possible guest lectures, and wine tastings! The San Diego Press club will also be there to join in on the fun and have their very own event in the gallery. Rest assured, if it's fun and has anything to with waverider culture, we'll be doing it, so stay tuned!

The physical gallery space will feature as much art as we can put up. All of our artists and photographers on the website will have their work adorning the walls, so for the first time our customers will be able to see these exquisite works of art in person. If you thought that these images looked beautiful online, you are in for a pleasant surprise when you come in for a visit. We will also be very proud to have on display a unique offering of high-end boards that will make great additions to any wall or quiver. We will feature a fine selection of boards by Hobie, hard to find balsa boards, and our increasingly popular Surftech wood boards. We have also been in touch with Linden Surfboards, and will possibly have some agave boards to offer as well. If you haven't seen them, then you will have to stop by. They are absolutely gorgeous!

We here at the Waveriders Gallery are extremely excited about this, and look forward to bringing together surfers, and the very best artwork surf culture has to offer, in a fun and illuminating atmosphere.

Steve Fitzpatrick grew up a mere stone's throw away from the ocean in Monmouth County, NJ, and as a youngster he gained a deep appreciation for the ocean and its many moods during countless summer beach outings. Picking up surfing at the end of grade school, his first attempts at surf photography came in response to incredulous high school classmates who refused to believe Steve's tales of September dawn patrols littered with perfect barrels. Relocating to San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1992, Steve has continued to master his craft. His passion for photography has sent him to destinations as disparate as Indonesia and Greenland, and his imagery has graced the pages of most of the world's major surf magazine titles as well as the advertisements of many of the industry's biggest players. View Steve's work here.

Surfriders Foundation

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