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Photographer Profile: Grant Monahan

After taking a break from our journal to actually finish the book (which we did), we’re back with a fresh series of interviews and stories about some of the movers, shakers and creatives we admire from the East Coast and beyond. 

If you surf in New York and especially in Long Island, you might be familiar with a young photographer named Grant Monahan who has steadily been building a strong portfolio of photography from surf travels around the world. His work was most recently on display at in a compelling and energetic solo show, ELSEWHERE, at the Montauk Beach House. We ask Grant to share his story and tell us about the show. 

Can you tell us about yourself?
I was born and raised in Montauk, NY, where I still live today. My father, Tomas, is one of the old-school Montauk surf crew, and introduced me to surfing at a very young age, something I cherish and am very thankful for. In the summertime I work seven days a week at my family's business The Ditch Witch and in winter I fuel my passion for surfing, photography, traveling, and experiencing different cultures. 

How did you get into photography? 
I have always been intrigued by cameras and photographs, but it wasn't until I was at College of Charleston in South Carolina that I began taking photography seriously. I became obsessed with skateboarding - specifically, the very intense backyard skate ramp scene that was flourishing in Charleston. The level of skateboarding was way beyond my ability, so when the sessions got heated I grabbed my camera. While I got my degree in anthropology, at the same time this experience sparked a desire to document the culture I was witnessing. I realized I just loved taking photographs and couldn't stop. I’m very fortunate to have grown up in Montauk, surrounded by exceptionally creative people who’ve constantly influenced me, given me advice, and gone out of their way to help me succeed - too many to name.
 

The Ditch Witch is an institution at this point - how did it get started?
My mother, Lili, started the Ditch Witch in 1994. Before that she was a chef in numerous restaurants around the East End. When I was a baby, my mother used to take me to the beach right by our house, Ditch Plains, and she always wished there was a place there that didn't just sell hotdogs and had decent food. So she and my father went for it and started the Ditch Witch. The first season there was absolutely zero sand at Ditch Plains, the entire beach was rocks. Business was terrible and they almost gave it up, but the next year there was a giant beach with loads of sand and The Ditch Witch did well. This season is the 24th year of the Ditch Witch. My Mother worked twenty seasons and then retired. Now my sister and I are partners in the business. I truly love working in that small trailer at Ditch Plains and interacting with the abundance of interesting people that pass by. I am 27 years old and I’ve now worked there for 19 years... 

Tell us about the exhibition at Montauk Beach House - what's the idea behind this collection of images?
The collection of images at ELSEWHERE was honestly never supposed to be put together as a photography exhibition. They were photographs I had shot traveling over the past five years, simply out of enjoyment and for the memories. When their Creative Director, Walt, asked me to put something together, I decided to go back and explore all that film. I feel this series shows who I am as a person and photographer more than any other collection of images I’ve displayed in the past. These photographs were very personal to me and I couldn't be happier with how they look at the Beach House and how the exhibition has been received. 
 

From Grant's exhibition "Elsewhere" at the Montauk Beach House.

From Grant's exhibition "Elsewhere" at the Montauk Beach House.

Is there a particular point of view you're working towards in your photography? 
I believe growing up in Montauk, surrounded by "salt of the earth" people has definitely influenced my photography. I want to point my lens at those kinds of people and capture snippets of culture that truly exemplify a place. I like to think I have a photojournalistic approach, which was sparked by a love of shooting film. I want people to look at my photographs and see authenticity and know what they are seeing is real, a pure image. 

As fellow book enthusiasts, we love that you've chosen to document your work in book form. What inspired you to do that and what have you learned from the process? 
Books are a special way to display a collection of photographs. As an object it becomes so much more than just the images. It is its own art form; the textures, the size, pagination, the typography, etc. Everything has to come together to create one tangible display. I’ve produced two books and numerous small "zines", each one more rewarding then the next. My first project was a book of portraits I shot through the Ditch Witch service window, called View From the Window. My most recent project was The Dock, a still life project where I photographed all the memorabilia on the walls and selves of The Dock Tavern in Montauk. Both projects were an attempt to capture a small snippet of Montauk culture in an unique way. The Dock book was so rewarding because it was a true collaboration between me shooting the photographs, Javas Lehn designing the book, George and Chris Watson writing the introduction and all the captions, and Bill Duer of Hatteras Press dialing in all the printing details. Books are exceptionally difficult to produce but creating a lasting, tangible product is the most rewarding feeling.

What's the next project you're looking forward to?
I have a dream project that I want to begin. It involves Montauk, portraits, and the backbone of this beautiful community. I can't really go much further than that - I want to take the photographs first and announce the rest later!
 

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Interview by Ed Thompson

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Lucid Dreaming with Luc Rolland

In your wettest and wildest dreams of surfing, where your soul drifts apart from your body to surf mystical breaks on rugged coastlines, shrouded in softly-lit morning mist, lapped with peeling, blue-green, head-high waves, and where magic wave-craft infuse your surfing with unequalled grace, Luc Rolland is your shaper. 

We were fortunate to get an opportunity to meet with Luc after two separate trips to France last year to enjoy the honestly-it's-tempting-to-just-fucking-move-there Côte des Basques. We'd seen Luc's shapes here and there online, but we had no idea what we were letting ourselves in for until we met the man himself. 

Luc was born in St Cloud, France and grew up in Biarritz where he spent time in the ocean and eventually learned to knee board. Aged 13, amidst the shortboard revolution, he saw friends ripping the lamination off longboards to re-shape them into shortboards. “I couldn’t believe they would trash these classic old boards,” Luc said. “I asked my dad to buy a polyester slab and I made a board for myself. I just painted it because we didn’t have resin. Two sessions later it went to pieces,” he laughed.
 
Luc pushed his creativity in other directions. He told his mother he wanted to become an inventor so he would never have to make the same thing twice. He painted, drew and made sculptures. 
 

At school Luc performed poorly because he couldn’t stop daydreaming. “The school told me: ‘You don’t have the capacity to stay in regular classes’. My parents and I went to visit a ‘manual activities’ school where they taught vocational skills. My parents choose ceramics for me because it had potential to lead to a job. I was super happy - it was just the best three years!” After his vocational training, Luc was accepted to study at a prestigious art school in Paris, returning home each summer to build surfboards for his friends. 
 
Since then Luc has forged a living from his sculpture, painting, ceramics and, increasingly in later life, from his shaping. In his studio, relentlessly assailed by his cat Mimi, Luc showed us some of his work. 

Unlike most shapers, Luc doesn’t use templates, and he prefers not to use an electric planer when he works. He leafed through a sketchbook, showing the earliest formulations of his ideas. Some pages feature a single curved line, fuzzy with a few strokes. On the next page will be something radically different, yet clearly an extension of the same thought.
 

Luc Rolland - Julien Roubinet 8.jpg

“There is no accident, it is all conscious decisions,” Luc said. “There is a similar language throughout the boards. Some people call it retro but I like to say it is actually very modern. It is really hard to go back into the past. I have no interest in it.”
 
In his large cuboid studio, extraordinary, space-ship-like prototypes perch on racks. “This one is inspired by a cuttlefish,” Luc explained. Nearby are racks stuffed with longboards, mid-lengths and fun-shapes, a pick-n-mix of perfection. Many feature robust ¾” stringers and most are either white or black, understated, elegant and glassed with astonishing precision, perhaps finished off with a translucent, pearlescent fin. 


If he doesn’t look to the history of surfboard design for the language of his craft, where is he finding it? “It’s like asking me, ‘why am I me?’ I have no idea how it comes to me. It is metaphysical! Creation is auto satisfaction - you get into a process of research to feel better. I am not looking at what others do, but we are always influenced by what’s been done. I learned through that, but now I want to go towards myself, towards my own ideas. ”

Though the space overflows with surfboards, we were surrounded by a thousand other experiments: functional ceramics, experimental sculptural forms, scratchings, paintings, etchings, sketches, strange surfboard fins, all of it physical and direct. There is a black and white through-line but this is interrupted by bursts of neon color and glittering metallics, almost in an act of self-resistance. 

“My mom was a drawing teacher, so there is this positive and negative, an inside and an outside. The line creates a vibration between the two spaces. Because I’m an artist, I have an idea and then I have a strong desire to materialize it. I believe in the idea of the perfect board and the perfect wave so when I work it’s more about a feeling or a sensation than a material.”
 
Luc calls his boards “rêve de surf de rêve”, or “dreams of dream surfing”, and dreamlike they may seem, until they find their way out of the studio and into the ocean where, for the lucky owner, those dreams start to get very lucid indeed. 

See more of Luc's work here.

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Words by Ed Thompson

Photographs by Julien Roubinet

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Zak Noyle

Even if you don’t know who Zak Noyle is, there’s a good chance you’ve seen some of his photographs. They’ve been published by ESPN, Transworld Sport, National Geographic and the BBC, not to mention in surf publications including The Surfer’s Journal and Surfer

At just 31 years old, Zak’s career has already included a meteoric ascension to one of the most hallowed positions in surf photography: Zak is now the Senior Staff Photographer at Surfer and he regularly takes on assignments to travel and shoot with some of the best surfers in the world.

We caught up with Zak to learn more about his work and what drives him. He talks very fast - almost breathlessly, sounding like the CEO of the hot new startup that is basically his life, excited to share his story and his plans.

Zak's journey into photography was catalyzed from a young age by his father who was a commercial photographer and who passed on some of his wisdom and a few tools of the trade. Zak began shooting photos in his single digit years and by high school he had had his water photography published in magazines like Sports Illustrated and Transworld Sport, where he took a full time job after graduating. At the age of 25 he started working at Surfer and now combines his day job with running his own photography business and a seemingly endless string of brand collaborations with the likes of water housing company SPL, surf company RVCA and swim fin company DaFin. 

“I grew up on Oahu and I came out of a swimming and water polo background. I had a natural swimming ability, but I hated it. I hated swimming laps and I used to hide in the shower. It’s come full circle now - swimming and learning that discipline has been important.”

Becoming one of the world’s top water photographers means becoming one of the world’s top swimmers by pre-requisite. The playing field  for taking groundbreaking surf photographs is most likely in the path of a 20 foot breaking wave, half a mile off shore and bobbing a few feet above a sharp, potholed reef.

“You want to be prepared,” Zak told us. “I swim 3-4 times a week. I swim a lot of laps, half of them with swim fins on to train to have my feet comfortable in fins. I view myself as an athlete now, so I need to be in optimal shape. A bunch of my friends are doing underwater breath holding training and I want to get into that too. In the end it’s the ocean and you need to respect it!”

Although the list of his achievements is frighteningly long already, Zak pulled off something of a career highlight at last winter’s Eddie Aikau Invitational in O’ahu. Pummelled by 30 ft waves closing out Waimea bay, Zak swam and shot the historic contest for 8 hours straight, capturing through his actions and photographs a truly memorable moment in surf history. 

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The Eddie Aikau ran on February 25th, 2016 in waves that were so big the safety of the contest itself was called into question. That’s pretty rare from the organizers: ‘The Eddie’ demands a minimum of 20ft waves before it will even run, honoring the fearless lifeguard and surfer in whose memory it is named. 

“I had never swum into 30 ft waves but I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t think I could handle it,” Zak explained. “A lot of the times with waves, it’s strength and training and the experience that keep me calm. I knew physically I could do it, but mentally you have to be calm.”

Aside from the endurance required for this feat, Zak also truly understands the media demands of the modern surf audience. When The Eddie runs, O’ahu basically shuts down for the day with crowds of thousands gathering on the beach to watch. For those who can’t be there, internet livestreams, social media and TV broadcasts let people tune in from around the world. 

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Zak shot the Eddie on his DSLR in a water housing, but he used his iPhone from the water to wirelessly send the images he was capturing to the Quiksilver social media team. From there, they could combine them with the TV broadcasts or upload them to be shared on social media. “In between the sets, they need something else they can use to keep the excitement going,” Zak explained, “so I could send that to them from the water with my phone.”

We asked Zak how he had prepared for the day. “I had water and snacks packed and ready to go on the jet ski, but I actually didn’t eat or drink anything on the day. I hydrated heavily the day before with electrolytes and water. I packed extra batteries and a bought an extra phone so I could transfer the sim card if my iPhone died,” Zak told us.

With literally no food during the 8 hours he spent in the water, we wanted to know how Zak managed to keep shooting. “I was just fueled by adrenaline on the day. If the surf is good you have to shoot conservatively. You don’t want to have to go in and change your memory card because you might miss the shot!” Zak continued, “I was so mentally spent for days afterwards I couldn’t do anything. I didn’t even look at the images for 3 or 4 days - I just gave the photos to my agent.”

We asked if Zak took any major beatings out in the water that day. “I was nauseous with adrenaline and I did get completely worked. I got worked to the point where I had my hand on my rip-cord, but I didn’t want to inflate it, get dragged in and miss a wave. I’d waited seven years since the last Eddie Aikau Contest ran and I wasn’t going to miss a single moment out there. I wanted to be in the water, and just enjoy it. I have a photo of when all the skis came charging in on that closeout set and I just dived as deep as I could under the rolling whitewater. I had to dive 25 feet to get under that. It was pitch black and I couldn’t tell which way was up. That was a 2 wave set. If it had been a 5 or 6 wave set, I would be washed in on the rocks. For sure,” Zak laughed. 

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We were thrilled to meet Zak and see him participating in the RVCA artists program at the Unsound Pro event in Long Beach. His level of stoke, energy and enthusiasm seem boundless and he talks as if he’s only just getting started. Watch this space!

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Words by Ed Thompson

Photographs by Julien Roubinet

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Eric Beyer - Beach House Classic Boardshop - Part I

The surf industry is notoriously tough to break into and it's even tougher to thrive in. Beach House Classic, a longboard focused surf shop in Bay Head, NJ, has been around for over two decades, serving up stoke in bucketloads. Even more impressively, through founder Eric Beyer's eye for surf history, the store has become an important repository of knowledge and board design, boasting an extraordinary collection of historic boards from shapers near and far. "I don't collect them," Eric explained to us, "they tend to find their way to me."

We interviewed Eric for the book, but wanted to run a parallel series of photos documenting some of the boards from his collection, many of which are suspended from every corner of the ceiling in the shop. We asked Eric to share a few of their stories in his own words. 

"My first board was a mid 70s 5’10” Michaels Fremont single fin. It's a double ender, every bit of 23” wide and 3½ inches thick out to the rail. My Dad bought it for $50 from a buddy right before the summer of 1979, the summer I learned to surf."

"We got up to Cape Cod in August. I had my 5’10” double ender and my best buddy Doug had just picked up his first board at a garage sale, a mini mal McTavish Tracker."

Boards in hand, Eric and Doug had to figure things out for themselves: "No one in either of our families had ever surfed," Eric explained, "so we learned the old school way: trial and error. We got down to Nauset Beach and found some waist high peelers rolling in on the unguarded south beach so we jumped in. After a few wipe outs, I stood up and flew down the face… I’ll never forget the feeling of freedom. I was hooked!"

With the Cape Cod waters a chilly 59 degrees, they learned they could rent wetsuits, or 'snugs' as they were known, to get a little extra water time. "My Pops took us to Jaspers and got us set up. It made all the difference in the world!"

"Later that week, we got up for a dawn session and found Doug's suit missing. We'd left them out to dry on the railing of the cottage. We realized that we had just heard the garbage truck pass. Even though the garbage men denied it, we knew what happened. The problem was, we had to explain it to Jasper's surf shop. The guys were cool… they treated us like locals and not the kooks we really were, earning our business for years to come."

Years later, Eric had the same Fremont board on display in the window at Beach House Classic.

"I got an early morning message from a guy claiming he shaped the board," Eric told us. "I met up with him and found out it was Mickey Fremont, now a lawyer in Encinitas, CA. He was in the area for a wedding and was trying to track down some of his old boards. Growing up in the 70s in NYC, he and a buddy shaped boards on the empty third floor of his buddy's parents' department store. He hung out in the shop that morning and shared a few stories. He was desperate to buy the board, but I wouldn't let it go. Although at first he wasn't too happy, Mickey appreciated that someone wanted it as much as he did. A way cool guy and a real piece of local surf history."

 

To support our work with this project, please check out the prints section of our site. Our beautiful, hand signed and numbered, fine art giclee prints last a lifetime and will look genuinely amazing on your wall. Buying one directly supports our progress with this project!

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Words by Ed Thompson

Photographs by Julien Roubinet










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John Witzig

Julien and I recently each acquired a copy of A Golden Age: Surfing's Revolutionary 1960s and 1970s. This book documents the dramatic change that swept through surf culture in the 1960s and 1970s, generally known as the shortboard revolution. Growing up, photographing and surfing with a group of young Australian surfers including Bob McTavish, George Greenough and Nat Young, John Witzig was exposed to some of the finest surfing of his era, by people who were front runners in developing the styles and techniques the came to be used in shortboard riding.

We both have fallen in love with the book, so we wanted to catch up with John and learn more about how it came to be. 

John Witzig - Cactus - 1977

John Witzig - Cactus - 1977

What led you to photography?

While I’d tried out the hand-me-down Box Brownie when I was about 10-years-old, and had a brief flirtation with my mother’s 35 mm camera, I really came to taking pictures through surfing, not the other way around. I was a photograph and magazine-obsessive from my teenage years. The pictures that caught my eye were mostly B&W, and from magazines like Twen (from Germany), and Life (from the US)... and they were mostly social documentary images. Life was running extraordinary pictures from the Vietnam War, and Twen seemed so radical to a polite well-bought-up boy from Sydney.

How did you start using Nikonos cameras?

I think I realized quite quickly that standing on the beach with a camera stuck on the end of a long lens was going to get pretty boring. I’d begun to take surfing pictures semi-seriously by 1963, but it took me a while to get my first second-hand Nikonos... maybe 1967? I’m no longer sure. It was the only waterproof camera on the market at the time, and while my success rate with it was really low, a handful of those pictures still strike me as being good.

Mark Richards - Haleiwa – 1976

Mark Richards - Haleiwa – 1976

You captured some of the most stylish surfers and innovators of the era. Were you aware of the scope of what was going on at the time? Did you have any inkling they would become legends and icons?

By mid-1966 I have no doubt that we – being primarily Bob McTavish, Nat Young, George Greenough and me – were sure that something significant was happening. It wasn’t clear what it was... and certainly not that it was the start of what would become the shortboard revolution, but we knew that things were moving. I edited an issue of Surfing World magazine in July/August of that year and trumpeted the ‘New Era’. That did annoy some people at the time, but history seems mostly to have been generous.

By publishing photos and texts, founding Tracks and getting a wider audience, did you feel like you were instigating part of the change in the culture?

I’m not sure that we were getting a wider audience; surfing in Australia in 1970 was a tiny world. Tracks certainly appealed to the vulgar, juvenile, environmentally-conscious side of that audience (if that’s not a contradiction in terms). Our influences mostly came from the US – Rolling Stone, Earth Times and Whole Earth Catalogue – but I think it’s fair to say that we gave the magazine a uniquely Australian flavour.

Georges Greenough - 1970

Georges Greenough - 1970

On the technical side, could you explain your choice of sepia tones over black and white?

When I did my first set of four prints to try and sell in 2002, it seemed a no-brainer to use sepia because it comes fully-equipped with nostalgia. Three of those first pictures were B&W anyway, and I’d always liked selenium-toned prints. I’d never actually toned the prints I did myself, but I remember one print of Nat at Honolulu Bay in 1967 had acquired those tones... probably because I hadn’t washed it well enough I suppose. I used that as my model.

Rod Dahlberg - Spooky - 1975

Rod Dahlberg - Spooky - 1975

George Greenough - Honolua Bay – 1967

George Greenough - Honolua Bay – 1967

Overall there seem to be fewer color photos - how come?

Purely a personal preference... I still generally prefer B&W pictures.

Tell us the story of how the Golden Age book came to be. When and why did you have the idea and how did it all come about from there?

Drew Kampion has been a friend of mine since he was editor of Surfer magazine in the mid-1960s. He put Richard Olsen in contact with me... Richard was doing a book on hand-made houses and Drew knew that it was an area that I was interested in. I did a bit of research for Richard on possible Australian examples, and in the process learned that he’d worked for Rizzoli. Richard is a surfer, and knows my pictures. He asked if I’d be interested in him proposing a book. Of course I said ‘yes’... but the idea was never mine. The whole thing was such a long-shot, such a fluke, that it’s astonishing that it happened... but it did! ‘Thrilled’ doesn’t quite describe my feeling when I finally saw the book... and overall it was a great collaborative experience between Richard, Kathleen Jayes at Rizzoli, and Jim Newitt (another surfer) who did the design.

Michael Peterson " radiating suspicion"  - North Narrabeen - Mid 1970's

Michael Peterson "radiating suspicion" - North Narrabeen - Mid 1970's

How has your level of interest in surfing changed since taking these photos and making the book?

I stopped surfing in my mid-40s when my body started to collapse... I have chronic osteoarthritis, and having my knees and hips go downhill together was unfortunate. I’d also long- since decided that I was never going to be a nuisance out in the water. And my time of taking surfing photographs had come to an end by the very late 1970s when I had to actually earn a living. Surfing friends from the 1960s are still my friends though, so I keep an eye on what’s happening... even though I have nothing at all to do with it.

What is your your opinion of what surf culture has become today? Where are we heading?

I am not someone who bemoans what surfing has become... but I am astonished at pictures of the crowds that I sometimes see. I think ‘why would you bother?’ But I also understand that, in Australia anyway, you can still find relatively uncrowded waves without any real difficulty. That’s a great thing...

What projects are you working on now?

I have a business partner and we have published a series of books of Australian photography since the late 1980s. We’ve started work on the magnum opus of Max Dupain who was arguably the finest photographer of his generation. Working on a book like this is a true privilege. 

Thank you, John! 

All images courtersy of John Witzig

Bob McTavish -   Headless – 1966

Bob McTavish - Headless – 1966

Nat Young - Honolua Bay - 1967

Nat Young - Honolua Bay - 1967

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Nolan Hall - A Brief Interview

One of the blessings of living and surfing in NYC is that interesting folks from all over the world tend to stop by the city for events, parties or simply to catch up with old friends. With that in mind, when we found out that manager of the Vans surf team, Nolan Hall, was in town, we set out to snag a brief interview. 

Nolan dropped in to the Pilgrim Surf + Supply screening of Bali High in Brooklyn, so we pinned him down and asked him some searching questions about his life, plans and happiness.  

Although his day job is somewhat behind the scenes, as an architect of the vans surf team's global adventures, you may know about him though his photography. Nolan was given his first camera by his dad aged 14, right in the middle of growing up and surfing with the likes of Robin Kegel, Alex Knost and Tyler Warren, now some of the most recognizable free surfers, artists and shapers in modern surfing. 

ICH - Tell us about your photography and your work at Vans.
N - I'm just generally in love with photography. I love waiting to get film back from the lab to see how shots turned out. I love the feeling of snapping the shutter and knowing you recorded a special moment. It's a nice pairing for the job I have. Getting to document super creative and talented people all over the place. Sometimes on trips I feel like I’m more excited than our team, maybe because they’ve been to these places so many times, but I’m always excited to be out on the road with the team. There is also much more that I do besides traveling with the guys, there is plenty of planning and logistical stuff; booking flights, hotels, events, product, ads and video projects; we have a lot on our plate, but it can be really rewarding. 

ICH - Beside the Duct Tape Invitational in Montauk, have you had much opportunity to experience the East coast as a surf destination?
N- Yes, the surf scene here is really cool and unique. It has a family vibe to it, a tight community, super friendly from what I’ve experienced. As far as New York, I’ve only really been around the Montauk area, I surfed Rockaway or any other spots. We went through Jersey with Japanese Motors for a music tour but didn’t get to really experience good waves! I met Chris Gentile briefly back when he was doing Mollusk. When he started Pilgrim we did a few events together like the Dane Reynolds photo show at the store, and some stuff with Mitch Abshere for Beached Days Magazine and Captain Fin. We also had Chris DJ at House of Vans when we premiered John John’s film, Done, and a couple other things too.

ICH - So, tell us what we can expect from Vans in the coming months!
N - We're working on a new movie which probably won't be part of the Get’N Classic series. We’ve done one trip so far to Australia for the film. Near the end of that trip, Wade Goodall broke his leg. This is his third time breaking his leg in the last three years. Super bummer! He’s been on Vans for footwear since 2011, and just got added to the Vans apparel team a year ago. 
We also have events like the Duct Tape Invitational at the US Open. There was a bunch of great surfers at our event this year in Noosa, Australia: Robin, Ryan Burch… Ryan is crazy, he surfs so good. He’s a really talented surfer, especially to surf the boards he shapes… And I don’t think he really rides longboards very much throughout the year, kinda just when the waves are perfect for loggin'. So for him to hop on a longboard and ride as well as he does is mind blowing!

ICH - How is the life on the road?
It’s great, I enjoy traveling, discovering new places. Being a photographer, wanting to discover, experience and document new places, it’s perfect. If I stay too long in the office, I start to get bored and can’t wait to leave for the next trip! It's also nice traveling to breaks that aren’t as crowded as Southern California. That’s probably one of the greatest perks.

ICH - Do you have time to work on personal projects?
N - I would love to have more free time for projects that aren’t work related. The music scene in Southern California right now is amazing - Art shows, parties… I've thought about if I were to try to transition into doing photography full time. But right now my situation is really nice, having the freedom to shoot whatever I want, without having the pressure to shoot projects or jobs I have no interest in.

ICH - You must have a huge archive of photos?
N - Yes I have and I am way behind in sorting and archiving them! It’s kind of a nightmare... I am always so tired after work as there's always an art show or gig to go to. I don’t necessarily find the time to print/work on my stuff. I’d love to eventually do a book with all that, but all of this is one big process of growing and progressing. I still have a lot of work to do!

 

Words by Ed Thompson

All images - © Julien Roubinet