I love that you can see how fast Miguel Pupo is going here — the wake of his bottom turn is still hitting the face while his tail has already whipped above the lip. He's using the lip as a coping like a skateboarder in a pool give the turn so much style and finesse.
One of the least recognized skills pro surfers hone is their ability to paddle with strength and efficiency. I like how this single frame of Julian Wilson demonstrates a bit of the technique that goes on both above and below the surface. Such a simple and fundamental aspect to surfing but that often goes without notice.
This day in Hawaii had a few rogue sets coming through and I knew this moment would eventually happen. I'm pretty sure John was looking back to see if the wave before was barreling and he hadn't even seen what was coming out the back. One of those classic "only a surfer knows the feeling" situations when you turn around to see something massive stacking out the back and your stomach starts to sink.
The Hobgoods have to be two of the most interesting people in surfing, and I'm beyond lucky to have been able to get to know them both this year. Their similarities are obvious, but their differences can be even more glaring at times. Being a fly on the wall is one of the most entertaining experiences I've ever had. They’re passionate and perfectly matched, usually in opposition just for the sake of a good debate. I've learned so much from just hearing them speak to each other.
Apparently New Jersey had the best winter in recent history and I missed all but one swell due to travel. Even when the waves are pumping wherever I am in the world, I still get a hint of jealousy when I know home is going off. I've shot a million of these lineups, but it still manages to never get old as long as I try to introduce new elements - here I think you get that feeling of anticipation when you're sprinting up the beach to an empty flawless wave.
This is Mick Fanning at home, deep behind the rock at Snapper. This day was so crowded and was one of the most hectic swims I've done. The ‘CT guys were over dealing with the riff raff and were taking off where no one else dared. Mick was hooting people off the shoulder and everyone had written him off when the foamball got to him, but somehow he powered through and kept going. It’s exciting just to watch someone continue to navigate when they're that deep.
Women’s surfing can be a confusing thing. One side of it feels like brands are snatching up models and sending them to tropical paradises to sell bikinis. The other side consists of women that are incredible athletes with inner drive that rivals anyone else. Here, Carissa Moore shows that it’s not all sea turtles and duckdives — if you want to push the limits of the sport, you're going to have to work through some challenging conditions. She is hands down one of the most incredible humans I've ever met.
It can't all be literal photos. Sometimes, not giving the viewer a sense of place can create a more captivating image because you brain has to do some extra work to figure out what’s going on. I love how the borders of the different worlds are blended to create a confusing dream world.
There aren't too many things cooler than being on the shoulder while Kelly surfs an empty wave at dusk. His form is so precise and flawless. No matter how many times I’ve seen him surf, I'm still mesmerized.
Sometimes, it's not the prettiest wave that breeds the most impressive surfing. Jordy Smith is no stranger to making the best of a difficult situation. His ability to keep his board stuck to his feet while rotating in stiff offshore winds is incredible - no one else even comes close.
CJ Hobgood at Nazare, Portugal. Everyone has seen the massive waves there, but not many people have seen how insane the shorebreak is. You can see the lip is landing on a dry sand here - not too many beachbreaks that are that shallow and actually surfable.
Nearly every speed blur I shoot is terrible — just the nature of the technique. To me, the best ones convey a sequence of motions in a single frame. Photo nerds know about Edward Muybridges studies of motion and that’s how I equate surfing speed blurs. Being able to see the fluidity of the entire motion and see the similarities in motion of the board, the arms, how the head doesn't move, and somehow the wave stays still enough to create a stagnant neutral background that is so rare in surfing. Jordy Smith.
Shooting in a shaping bay is tricky. There are so many bizarre tools, the gradients on the board are always so enticing, and the guys making them are always such characters. Plus the rooms tend to all look the same so creating something unique is a challenge. I like how from this view, all the tools become periphery to the core of what's going on in this little universe — a guy circling a chunk of foam and trying his hardest to inject a piece of his soul.
This is probably one of my favorite surf photos I've ever shot — it’s the only one I've printed and hung on my wall at home. Damien Hobgood is on the bomb of the day at Pipe, but the people on the beach are what make the photo great. The boogieboarder second guessing his decision to go home, the mom on the iPhone fully ignoring her kid, the woman posing in her g-string, the people shooting. I love that nearly everyone stopped what they're doing and watched this one wave.
All Photos And Captions: Trevor Moran
Last year, New Jersey’s Trevor Moran won the Follow The Light Foundation photography contest. Then he took the $5000 grant and purchased a really nice leather couch — just kidding. Trevor took the money he’d earned and invested it straight back into his craft. He bought plane tickets, train tickets and more plain tickets, bringing a camera and creativity to some of the world’s finest surf destinations. He’s been traveling relentlessly, shooting with everyone everywhere and making “Photo: Trevor Moran” a caption staple in surf magazines around the world. Here’s a collection of photos that Trevor shot in the year since he won FTL. A grant well spent — because we all know what Rick James thought about couches.