No matter where we are or what we’re doing these days odds are there is someone around us perusing social media or documenting an event or themselves for one of the several outlets. We see this everywhere, participating in the ritual ourselves. Swiping upwards ever-so-slightly with our thumbs, occasionally double-tapping with a show of a smirk or laugh. Taking it all in; the lives of others we envy, befriended, or wish to meet in the near future -or even brands we love selling products we desire. Instagram is an amazing phenomenon no doubt, one that’s captured the hearts and minds of over 300 million people worldwide.
Combine this diversity with individual hobbies, preferences, diets, political affiliation and the average Instagram user would be hard-pressed to not find an account that suits their interests. From the niche to the widely-accepted, these accounts range in purpose and demographic, supplementing their message not only with ideas and products but also aesthetic. And that’s the power of Instagram, the “show, not tell” mentality. More and more we’re becoming visceral learners, soaking up information not word by word but image by image. Instagram has tapped into that trend with magnificence and in many ways worked to perpetuate this trend.
Certain accounts follow this habit better than others, specifically those lending themselves to the outdoors. And since we’re based in an outdoor-centric city in sunny Southern California, why not showcase some accounts featuring one of San Diego’s favorite pastimes: surfing. There are a plethora of accounts out there lending themselves to the surfing culture but it’s tough to sometimes sift through the noise in order to find the gems. Not to worry, we’ve done the work for you and now offer our picks for the 12 best surfing Instagram accounts from professional surfers, photographers (both world-renowned and local) and industry leaders in the space. Okay, so now that we said our piece, it’s time to let the photos do the talking.
Born on the East Coast but soon transplanting to Hawaii, Brandon “Laserwolf” Campbell spends his days as any serious surfer should, in the water and traveling the world. He didn’t even begin shooting photography until 2010 and started out on the Island of Oahu, soon earning the respect of the locals and making his way into the coveted inner circle of premier Pipeline photographers on the Island’s famed North Shore.
Ray Collins Photo
Where most surf photographers focus on the surfer, Ray Collins focuses solely on the wave. And these aren’t just any old waves either. He specializes in capturing exact moments of turbulence and serenity; the calming nature of the ocean juxtaposed against the thundering power of a crashing wave and stormy backdrops. It’s this relationship between water and light that motivates Collins day in and day out. Resulting in countless awards and notoriety over his career from the likes of National Geographic and The Inertia.
Based out of Ventura, CA, Dylan Gordan focuses on the lives of his subjects, from surfing to hiking to motorcycle riding or all-around outdoor recreational activities, his photography lends itself to the warmer side, often boasting golden hour sunsets. He’s constantly working with new ideas and concepts, offering welcome relieve from the more ubiquitous IG accounts out there.
As a staff photographer for surf forecasting powerhouse and news outlet Surfline, Jeremiah Klein focuses his photography in and around the Southern California surf arena, though occasionally breaking out into the northern regions. He focuses the majority of his shots on lineups throughout the region, both empty and crowded, offering followers the chance to “mind surf” one of the many breaks in their region. Aside from in IG, you can find plenty of his photography on the Surfline website.
Kook of the Day
As with every sport, you’re bound to find humor in some of the more inexperienced or over-enthused participants. Kook of the Day is one of those accounts that’s meant to add a little laugh to your scrolling experience. Covering anything from out-of-place wetsuit-wearing newbies to muscle-head beach culture to tourists doing, you know, touristy things. All content is completely user-generated as well so next time you see something, film it or snap a photo, tag this page and you could get famous.
If you’re looking to drool over something other than girls in bikinis in your feed be sure to check out Surf Porn. No secrets here. This page is exactly what you’re assuming. Nothing but perfect waves, either empty or ridden with style, curated from photographers from all over the world. Remember mind-surfing? This is where it all takes place. Put yourself in the moment on one of these waves, envy those lucky enough to get a taste, and let your green eyes shine knowing you’ll probably never surf anything close the quality displayed here. It’s high fantasy for surfers.
Healey Water Ops
A waterman for the ages, Mark Healy surfs 40-foot waves, swims with sharks, and fishes like a champ. And the best part? It’s all documented daily on his IG account. The photography is brilliant, and judging by his close encounters with marine life, Healey is fearless. Spending most of his time in Hawaii as well, his images are full of crystal clear water backdrops and oversized catches on display. Living a life of luxury.
Matt Clark Photography
When it comes to surf photography, Matt Clark is one of the best in the business. Specializing in what’s referred to as “empties,” (waves that are unridden), Clark puts you right in the action or on a deserted beach in the middle of nowhere. It’s a bit of macro photography at times, capturing life inside the barrel of a wave, or the relationship of a lone surfer watching a feathering wave peel unridden down the beach, each photo is a scroll stopper in its own right.
Growing up in NSW in Australia, Luke Shadbolt was surrounded by the combination of great waves and fantastic scenery. He studied at the University of Newcastle for Visual Communications and now freelances as an extreme sports and lifestyle photographer. His photography blends realism with the abstract thanks to the explosive nature of moving water. There’s everything from black and white stills to bright pink and magenta sunset shots that keep his followers guessing each and every day.
Nick Tellez Photo
A little bit of variety never hurt anybody. Nick Tellez understands this notion and works daily to fulfill an alternative variety. Photographing everything from BMX biking to skating to lifestyles to surfing, Tellez’s feed has an unmistakable LA vibe to his photos. However, check your judgment at the door, this isn’t snooty LA, it’s a bit more on the grungy side, favoring grainy photographs and concrete settings over plush Hollywood hills and jacuzzis. One of our favorites most definitely.
Vintage fans rejoice. If you’re looking for majority throwback-esque longboard photography you’ve come to the right place. Featuring a plethora of old school longboarders cruising along lazy point breaks with their toes on the nose and plentiful desert shots alongside mid-century surf vehicles, this IG will motivate you to look backward before heading forward with your daily life. It’s nostalgia in the form of an IG account, and we’re certainly not complaining.
At the end of the day, surfing is meant to be fun. That’s what it’s all about. Too often we get wrapped up in the seriousness of the sport, forgetting why we got into the ocean in the first place. Volcom Stone embraces the “fun” element of the surf and skate culture and expresses their affinity for the lifestyle through their IG account in a highly visceral manner. Everything from promo videos to music promotions to upcoming apparel and abstract surf art can be found on this brand’s account page. Stay weird.
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