Surfing just happens to be an activity that takes place in one of the most beautiful environments on earth. Anyone who has spent an evening sitting on their board watching the sun sink into the sea, or gazed down the beach mid-afternoon to witness a set peeling off in a shimmering and miraculous interplay of water and light knows this to be a truth. Former SURFER editor Steve Hawk has been privy to plenty of sublime and gorgeous moments throughout his career and lifetime, and his new book, Waves, is an offering of some of the most visually stunning ocean photography out there.
"I really wanted to have a lot of photos that elevated ocean waves to the level of pure art," he says, "and I really lucked out in the task because I was able to persuade some really prominent and influential photographers to come aboard. Guys like Art Brewer, Jeff Divine, Tom Servais, Rob Gilley, David Puu, Andrew Kidman, Sean Davey and Vince Cavataio, who are just some of the best. I also spent a lot of time researching and looking for guys that take photos of the ocean in ways that surf photographers wouldn't think to. Craig Tuttle works out of Oregon, and he took two of my favorite shots in the book, just these incredible pictures of backwash and spray, and Brad Lewis is another one. Brad sort of specializes in taking photos of lava flowing into the ocean in Hawaii, and he was able to provide a really amazing shot of the shorebreak at Waimea."
Hawk's stable of photographers is impressive, and the work represented in Waves is truly stunning. The result is a visually delightful little book that should leave surfers and ocean enthusiasts awed at the eye candy on display. In addition, Hawk's arrangement and grouping of the photos is a testament to his years of experience, as he manages to thematically arrange the photography to great effect. Sections devoted to offshore winds, backwash, and significant waves, such as Teahupoo or Waimea, draw the reader through from cover to cover, and spare prose accompanies the images to give informational depth or add an artistic flourish where need be. "In a lot of places the images inspired the words," he says "and even though this book has my name on it, I want to be very clear that it was the photographers that did all the work. They were the ones that were out there swimming or putting in the time to get the shots, so I'm just really grateful that they all agreed to be a part of it. I think it's a beautiful thing."
A beautiful thing it is, and fans will have an opportunity to meet Hawk, pick up a copy, and chat with some of the photographers at the Pacific Surf Gallery in Cardiff this Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m. The evening also will feature wave-inspired paintings and pictures from local and international artists. For more information visit the calendar at Surfermag.com or go to www.pacificsurfgallery.com.