I grew up in a town about 40 miles from LA and about the same distance from the local beaches, Newport and Huntington. When I was about 7 or so, mom would throw me and my two brothers, both older than me, and their friends and often my cousins, into the back of our pickup truck (no seatbelt laws back then) and drive us to the beach. While my brothers, cousins and the lot would surf, I would have breakfast with mom, most often Charley’s Chili in Newport, damn that chili and cheese omelette was good! I was 5 years younger than my oldest brother and there was one in between us, because of the age difference, I was never part of their surf posse and therefore never learned to surf. In the meantime, dad had put a camera in my hand and I took great pleasure in photographing our various trips to Disneyland, Sea World and our vacations to the national parks. I can remember dreaming of being a National Geographic photographer back then, but never knowing it could be a reality.
After a brief run in the military, and doing various jobs such as banking, delivering flowers and bagging groceries, I finally found my niche as a television news cameraman, it was no NatGeo, but it was the next best thing. I eventually landed a gig with a National News Organization, which sent me around the world covering major news events, from the war in Afghanistan, to various earthquakes, tsunamis, political uprisings and various other exciting stories. I was fortunate to meet everyone from Hugh Hefner to the Dali Lama. I was married to my job, and never was fortunate enough to have kids, but luckily my brother did, and I’m as close to his 2 kids as an uncle can be.
My nephew followed in his dads footsteps and found the passion for surfing, and I started taking pictures of him hitting the waves when he was probably 2 or 3, and my love for surf photography was born. Anytime I was able to, I would join them at the beach and photograph them, my brother and his son, it was relaxing and rewarding at the same time. At one point, my boss had sent me to the US Open at Huntington Beach to get shots of the crowds and the contest, I had no idea who the pros were (other than Kelly), but I had a blast snapping pictures of these guys doing things I’ve never seen before. By this time, my nephew was getting ready to graduate high school, and like I did with his sister (we did a major trip to Asia), I wanted to take him on an epic vacation of his choice. He wanted a surf trip, of course, so he, his buddy and I went to Bocas Del Toro, Panama, and had the trip of our life. I took shots of them from the boat, shore and even got in the surf with my GoPro. I was in heaven. The joy they were getting from the awesome surf, I was getting from photographing them. Since then, my nephew has surfed Iceland, Portugal and the Maldives, and Ive had such joy sitting on a boat, listening to some tunes and taking shots of him surfing.
Back at home, in San Clemente, I’m lucky enough to live amongst the best surfers in the world, Filipe, Kolohe and Griff. Being able to stroll out onto the beach with my camera and catch those guys in a fun session is definitely the perk of living here. And back when the contest was held at Trestles, don’t get me started on that, I was stoked to be able to sit on the beach for hours and shoot, Kelly, Mick and all the other pros. And, while I am in a surf family, not only my brothers, and nephew, but my cousin owns the leading glassing shop in Newps, I consider them lucky that I never learned, they have great memories from my photographs and I have great memories and continue to make more from chillin on the beach with my camera.