Steve Sherman’s epic body of photography is available for purchase. Online? In shops? No and no. Sherm’s out on the street, right where he’s always done it.
“Slater photos here!” he hollers at the Kirra sidewalk. “Get your Kelly Slater he-ah! Ten world titles! Twenty dollars a pop!”
Groms gather ’round, pawing through the black and white prints. Kelly with Eddie Vedder. Kelly as a 16-year-old Momentum surfer. Kelly with world titles galore. Sherm tells stories behind every photo and makes 2-for-1 deals to relieve groms of their lunch money. “Get Kelly to sign it,” Sherm chuckles. “Tell him Sherm sent ya.”
He’s kinda joking. Kiiiinda. He’s still out here doing it. Round 2 of the Quiky Pro is finally back on behind him, but this is the most interesting thing going on. We’re all just waking up from a painful week of flatness and free Corona and, as Nick Carroll says (on TV), “This is a round born of desperation.”
“No Dane. No Andy. Sick of shooting Kelly. What else am I gonna be doing?” says Sherm. Out in the water, Chris Davidson is losing to Cory Lopez. The waves suck.
“Aren’t you a rich, big-time surf photographer?” I joke. “What are you doing out here?”
“I’m not leaving until I can afford a case of beer,” says Sherm.
It starts to rain. We already have a case of beer, courtesy of a photo Sherm gave to Corona featuring their marketing big wigs with Kelly Slater and Innersection winner Matt Meola. But Sherm ain’t leaving. Determination defines his career. Pushing past security. Staying up late. Waiting out the flat spells. It ain’t rock ‘n roll if you can’t enjoy the hangovers.
SURFING Magazine: WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED?
Steve Sherman: “Learn the rules, then learn to break ‘em. Grant Britton taught me that.”
HOUSE IS ON FIRE. WHAT DO YOU SAVE?
The hard-drive. That’s my life’s work right there.
AT YOUR FUNERAL, WHAT WILL THEY REMEMBER YOU BY?
I think I’ve influenced a generation of surf photographers to approach things a bit differently. They say influence is the best form of flattery, so I get really stoked when people tell me I’ve influenced them.
I’m predicting better waves and more beer by this afternoon. Arvo, I mean. This arvo. —Words and photos by Nathan Myers