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Surf imagery

Surf culture

Surfing is not necessarily just about the waves. There is a strong connection between art and surf culture, which reaches back 3,000 years to Peru, where some of the world's first historians carved bas-reliefs of surfers. In the years since the connection between the surf and art realms extends far beyond art documenting life. Both have stretched to encompass each other and the areas of popular culture and commercialism. Art today incorporates graffiti, advertisements and everyday items, and surfing is as much about clothes, attitude and punk music as it is hitting the waves.

Nearly everyone has seen images of surfers riding effortlessly down the face of a big wave. Many have daydreamed of being that surfer. This is the power imagery can have over us. And the media harness this power in a way that influences and affects how we act, or think, or what we wear and where we go. In surf cultures case it even affects what we say and the music we listen to.

Photography is a hugely influential and hard-hitting medium. Some images say more than words could ever. Imagery documents life, and in surfing terms, it encapsulates a passion, a sport, a lifestyle (etc…). Photography is a very central medium in the surfing world. Images of people surfing is as close to surfing as most people will ever get. But this doesn't hinder their fascination with the sport and the culture.

Many artists have tried to encapsulate that culture in their artwork. Whether it be cave drawings by old native Hawaiians, to painters through the generations, surrealists, graphic designers, illustrators, sculpturors and even installation artists. To capture the passion in surfing within art is a passion in itself. With many keen artists through time following suit, quite often surfers themselves. What's really interesting about surf art is though, that it appears in bars, cafes, restaurants, exhibitions and shops miles away from coasts, in large cities. The spread and popularity of surf culture is there for all to see in many places.

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