It might seem like surf photographers have the most enviable job in the world. But when the waves are pumping, they're often faced with a kind of Sophie's Choice: do they paddle out with their friends and possibly miss a great shot, or do they sacrifice a few good waves for the sake of their work? "I originally went out there for a surf trip of my own," says photographer Mark McInnis of his journey to Nova Scotia. "I had been surf starved for months and just needed some waves. Before I left, I told Noah Cohen, Nico Manos and Pete Devries [pictured here], 'Hey, I'll shoot a little bit, but I'm coming to surf.' But when you have light like this, waves like this and three professional surfers in the water, I guess it's just in my nature to get busy working."

[This originally appeared as the “Perfect Day” feature in our “Cost of Waves” issue, now available on newsstands or wherever you subscribe to SURFER magazine.]