Surfer Magazine’s photo editor, Grant Ellis, has curated a gallery of some of the most striking surf photos that ran in print during 2018. Amongst the gallery are cover shots, spreads and selects from the pages of our latest volume that are awe-inspiring and capture the spirit of surfing. You’ll probably notice a motif of barrel shots in the gallery, and that’s because, well, is there any aspect of surfing that’s better than getting tubed?
SURFER would like to thank all of our contributing photographers and their dedication to creating amazing images of our favorite pastime. Cheers, and here’s to another incredibly photogenic year of riding waves in 2019!
Nate Zoller and Parker Coffin split the peak at a never-before-surfed wave on an isolated island in the South Atlantic. Photo by Dylan Gordon
During this Cloudbreak session Laurie Towner showed that he’s still one of the world’s best heavy-water surfers, even while working with his hands for a living rather than training and chasing swells full time. Photo by Ted Grambeau
While 99.9 percent of surf photographers spend the majority of their time aiming their lenses at what happens on the face of a breaking wave, Frenchman Ben Thouard has made a career out of capturing the ocean’s beauty from beneath its surface. “This photo was taken at Teahupo’o last year,” says Thouard of the sub-surface image that landed the cover of the September, 2018 issue. “I was exploring the underwater world, not giving too much attention to the surfers, and more to what happens under the surface. The light reflecting on the bubbles underwater fascinated me. At some point, I dove under water and just let go a ton of air while diving under the wave so when I turned back to shoot the waves I would have my the bubbles in the frame. I decided to focus on the bubbles and have a surfer in the background. It took me a few tries until I got the shot.” Photo by Ben Thouard
“Backside” featured in Ben Thouard’s photography showcase in the September, 2018 issue. Photo by Ben Thouard
Dane Gudauskas, Cloudbreak, Fiji. Photo by Todd Glaser
Photographer Joni Sternbach’s antiquated photography gives her portraits of modern surfers a timeless quality and imbues her subjects with an air of mystery, even when they’re just a beachgoer looking for a few waves. Sternbach met this local Hawaiian surfer on the beach at Waikiki while starting a project photographing Oahu’s surf community. The surfer, Kara Akiyama, may not be a top tier pro, but she’s part of a vibrant global community of women finding their joy in the water, pursuing surf on their own terms. Photo by Joni Sternbach
“Mahina + Nathan” Pipeline, HI. Photo by Joni Sternbach
Eli Olson, Pipeline. Photo by Ryan Craig
Leah Dawson draws an elegant line at Rocky Point. Photo by Christa Funk
A few years ago, Hamilton enlisted Shane Beschen to help her improve her air game. “She definitely has to use her arm, her head and her shoulders more than the average person,” says Beschen. “We practiced airs over and over again on the trampoline and she’s landed some really good ones. For her, it’s just about focusing on what she can do instead of what she might not be able to do.” Photo by Aaron Lieber
Alex Grey, Los Angeles, CA. Photo by Scott Smith
A small sample of the Indonesian board buffet shot by Grant Ellis during the filming of Thomas Campbell’s new film. Photo by Grant Ellis
For the filming of Thomas Campbell’s forthcoming film, Ryan Burch, Bryce Young, Craig Anderson, Ozzie Wright, Jared Mell and Alex Knost spent ten days in Indonesia trading fun waves and riding a diverse array of boards. A few years ago, these eclectic craft would have been a bizarre sight at your local beachie. But thanks to fimmakers like Campbell, and trailblazing personalities like those in this photo, the general surfing public now sees surfboards and approaches through a much wider lens. This photo by Grant Ellis was featured on the cover of the April, 2018 issue.
Skip Frye with his 12’1″ x 22 1/4″ x 3 1/2″ Equinox Glider. “The way gliders paddle and carry through the water, you get a feel of the past in a way,” Frye says about the shape. “There’s a story Tom Blake used to tell about Duke in 1935 when the two were surfing Waikiki one day. Duke, who was normally a really mild-mannered guy, was on a 16-foot redwood plank and Blake said the first wave Duke caught on it, the ride went to Duke’s head like wine and he was screaming all the way in. That’s the essence of how these big boards grabbed me when I started shaping them again in the early ’90s. I’ve only rode this board once and man, was it a dream.” Photo by Grant Ellis
"Whenever you're surfing a really sketchy wave and think you're going to fall, it's hard to not think about just how bad it can get. But if you make it in spite of that fear, that's easily the best feeling in surfing," Torrey Meister says about about charging waves of consequence. Photo by Jones
Kelly Slater and Jack Johnson in the South Pacific. Photo by Todd Glaser
"With surfing, you get what you put into it, and it pays to have a little patience," says Parker Coffin, pictured on the cover of the February, 2018 issue investing some time inside a sand-bottomed, Ventura County drainer. "For this swell, by forecasting standards, it wasn't going to be very good. We went and looked at this spot in the morning and it was super junky and kind of closed out. But after lunch we went to go look at it again and there were seriously the best waves I had ever seen out there. Plus, no one was out because everyone had just kind of written it off."
Photo by William Sharp
Earlier this year during the Quik Pro Gold Coast, Joel Parkinson was uncharacteristically ousted in the early rounds of competition. Instead of sticking around the contest site at Kirra to see how the final day would play out, the Gold Coast native decided to turn his lemon of a loss into sweet, sweet lemonade and went for a surf at all-time Snapper Rocks. The image featured on the cover of 2018’s Big Issue is just a snapshot of what many people claimed was the best barrel ever surfed at the famed right point. Photo by Corey Wilson