Surf photographers are mysterious creatures. They’re the ones who regularly paddle out and sacrifice their fun on the waves to capture someone else having it, which, if you ask us, is the epitome of dedication. That’s why we feverishly follow them on Instagram every chance we get: Anyone that passionate about capturing the surf deserves a double-tap or two. While not a comprehensive list of all the wave-mongers we follow on Instagram, think of these nine as a fresh showcase of who’s on our radar right now—and who should definitely be on yours.
Chris Burkard @chrisburkard
If anyone would go to the ends of the Earth for an empty wave and the perfect shot, it’s Chris Burkard. Actually, he’s already done it: The award-winning global surf photographer and TED speaker has spent the last eight years seeking out surf in some of the most brutal and barren places on the planet, and has the gallery to prove it.
Ming Nom Chong @thedrifterblog
Ming Nom Chong’s skillfully mastery of putting art before action is on full display on her Instagram account, which regularly features some of our favorite women of the waves nestled in next to fashion shoots and soulful landscapes. Her photos offer an elegant intersection of the power and grace of female surfers in a way that always sends us back for another look.
Morgan Maassen @morganmaassen
Now most likely known as “that guy who shot Steph Gilmore for Outside magazine,” Maassen has cut into the lineup of prestigious surf photographers hard by landing the coveted cover spot. But he’s far from a one-hit wonder: Maassen’s photos are moody, bold, and, more importantly, always surprising.
Clare Plueckhahn @clareplueckhahn
As one half of Cos We Can, a video and photo team based in Melbourne, Australia (her partner is Fran Derham), Plueckhahn regularly dips below the surface to capture female pro surf talent like Alana Blanchard, Frankie Harrer, and Alessa Quizon. She’s also responsible for the explosive short film “Lunchbreak” and the feature-length ode to young surfers, “First Love,” and her Instagram is filled with behind-the-scenes, slice-of-life shots.
Todd Glaser @toddglaser
With a portfolio boasting work trips to Fiji, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, life looks pretty good for Glaser, who’s shot some of the world’s best surfers on the world’s best waves. A staff photographer for SURFER, Glaser was the magazine’s 2009 Photo of the Year award winner and has clients like Quiksilver, Patagonia, and The New York Times. So his Instagram? About as drool-inducing as you’d expect—even if you’ve never been out on a board.
Lucia Griggi @luciagriggi
Female surf photographers are few, and ones willing to jump into the violent chaos of Pipeline in Hawaii fewer still—but that’s exactly what half-English, half-Italian photographer Lucia Griggi does on a regular basis. And for her efforts, there’s a rich reward: striking photos from some of the most dangerous breaks in the world (among calmer and more stylish surf shots, of course).
Nick LaVecchia @nick_lavecchia
For Maine resident Nick LaVecchia, winter doesn’t mean retiring his wetsuit to the back of the basement. In fact, frozen waves offer a unique opportunity: empty breaks and turbulent weather that make for some of the most gorgeous surf photos we’ve seen in ages (and a very convincing reason to consider investing in a thicker suit).
Luki O’Keefe @_lucrecia_
In a literal sea of high-octane sport shots, Luki O’Keefe’s take on surf is a breath of fresh air. Her expert use of negative space, coupled with the skill of the surfers she uses as subjects, reminds us of what we love most about surfing: the simple feeling of being out in the water.
Ryan Craig @chachfiles
There are certain things we’ll never get tired of, and perfectly back-lit, sunset waves are one of them—especially when they feature the antics of some of the surf world’s brightest up-and-comers. If it’s clean lines, crisp colors, and a showcase of talent (both behind and in front of the lens) you’re looking for, look no further than Craig’s impressive in-app gallery.
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