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In November 2019, I gathered photographs from 15 years of shooting the San Francisco surfing scene for a show at Proof Lab surf shop In Marin. If anything, pulling these images together made me wish I had shot more, especially in the early days. But as Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve gotten older, when the waves are good I just want to surf and I'm fine with that. What follows is an attempt to share the gallery experience, with some additional words and context. Enjoyâ&#x20AC;Ś
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TARAVAL STREET PAGE THREE | AW 2005-2020
I lived at 45th and Taraval from around 20082011. We didn’t have a washer/dryer, so I would cross Taraval to use the Laundromat. On this particular day I was crossing the street and saw a version of this image unfold. It wasn’t an ‘obvious’ ocean beach swell. It was one of those days the locals relish; big and perfect when it shouldn’t have been. A nuance of the beach that's both wonderful and frustrating. I put the load on, ran home, grabbed my camera and took this photo. The smaller photo is from another day - same street, same tracks. Where I saw a photo opportunity, these kids saw a ride. SF is awesome.
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When we met, Andy embodied the fast-living, hard-partying surfing lifestyle that embodied the Kellys crew at that time.
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What to say about this guy? We need more Andy’s in the world… Ambassador of stoke, mayor of the outer sunset, eternal grom and dear friend.
The Andy of today is worlds apart from that (apart from the surfing), more likely to be found riding a weird peak alone, shucking oysters at hook, in the Sierra back country, or most recently being slept on by his gorgeous infant daughter. Andy has somehow managed to straddle the opposing worlds of being an ardent local and a friend to all. Admirable. I salute you brother Andy…
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"WE NEED MORE ANDY'S IN THE WORLD"
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PERFECT The first real shot I got published was a double page spread of Marty Magnussen in Surfer Magazine's 'Perfect Day' section. It was the best day at Kellys in my 15 years of surfing here. There was so much sand it was doing that thing where there’s a paddling pool between the sand bars. I remember the day vividly, some time in 2006 or 2007, October. The buoys were 10ft… I forget the period. I checked Sloat with bodyboarders Alex Statom and Mark Miller. It was triple overhead but not barreling. We thought there’s no way Kellys would be handling the swell. We were wrong.
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Maybe it was super north, mostly missing the cove and maybe there was some south in there too, but it was perfect. I paddled out and got fucking smashed on my first wave. I Crawled up the sand, missing a flipper and decided to shoot instead. By then it was 10am and I thought the light would be bad. But the sun was still low enough, the water was bright blue, and I was shooting on the ultra vibrant Velvia slide film, so the photos turned out ok. This photo is how I met and eventually became friends with all of the SF locals.
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ROBIN PAGE NINETEEN | AW 2005-2020
"ROBIN IS A STAND OUT AT THE BEACH ON BOTH SMALL AND GIANT DAYS" PAGE TWENTY | AW 2005-2020
When I met Robin, he was pretty much the marquee grom of Ocean Beach (even though he's from Marin). He kept up with the older fellas (Marty, Andy, Lopez) both in and out of the water and was respected for doing so. However, what I love about him is how, in recent years he’s slowed down, looked deep within himself and emerged as the wise and caring founder of ‘Robinhood Adventures’. An operation that offers ocean-based adventures to kids and also works with surfers of limited abilities. As a surfer, Robin is a stand out at the beach on both small and giant days. Infinitely stylish, perhaps no other local lad is as solid both doing airs in 2ft windswell or packing massive barrels on the outer bar.
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MARTY Marty is the reason I became known as an SF surf photographer. The ‘Perfect Day’ shot put me on everyone’s radar (for better or worse). Marty’s always had my back…He introduced me to everyone at Kellys and pretty much set up my relationship with surfing in SF. In the early years I shot with Marty more than anyone else. He’s definitely guilty of an “its firing, come shoot” text, for me only to get to the beach and find 2ft foggy ‘air waves’, HA. But he also charges and is always in the right place at the right time.
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When you think of surfing in San Francisco, you think of Marty (and Andy and Lopez). He embodies the urban, alphanature of surfing in San Francisco, more Wise than Mollusk (if you know what I mean). He’s an old-school power surfer, Metallica, not Mumford and Sons. Marty recently left his beloved city with his gorgeous family and now resides in Encinitas.
"MARTY IS THE REASON I BECAME KNOWN AS AN SF SURF PHOTOGRAPHER".
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"RIP DAN DAFOE" The main surfers from Marin frequently surf Ocean Beach, so when I moved north of the bridge in 2010, I knew most of the boys. Anchored around Proof Lab, where I held the analog version of this show, the surf scene in Marin is all good vibes all the time. The generation of surfers close to my age are a tight knit group - all wonderful people who will make your day better if you see them. RIP Dan Dafoe.
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This isn’t intended as a thorough journalistic representation of surfing in SF 2005-2020. Rather, it just happens to be some of my favorite photos from that time period, (if that makes sense). For the former, I’d have to gather images from all the other amazing photographers who shoot the beach. And even then it wouldn’t really tell the story. Photographs are one thousandth of a second, one wave, or one person in one moment of light.
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The number of people important to me, who are absent from this zine is staggering. Perhaps this will be the beginning of a larger project to that end? The drive to put this together has come from the Covid-19 outbreak and looking for ways to stay creative at home. This is a free magazine, though a suggested donation of $10 to Feeding America would be appreciated.
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