Tides of Solitude by Gabriel Vargas
Growing up in Puerto Rico, the ocean has always been a part of me. I’ve spent
countless hours in the sea, capturing its raw energy. It’s that one place where I can free my mind. It doesn’t matter what part of the world I find myself, I can always find peace in the ocean. Today, in the midst of Covid-19, everything feels so surreal and eerie, like a strange, social sci-fi experiment. We’re being asked to self-isolate and facing beach closures in order to fight its spread.
We’re living some crazy times. I think the fear of not knowing what lies ahead is the scariest part. One of the many lessons the ocean has taught me is not to turn fear into panic. I remember while living in PR, we would get wind of a hurricane; there was this sinking feeling in my gut, but also hope, knowing that it could also bring some epic surf. I think this situation is a lot like that - we might just actually see the best of humanity. It’s crucial that we stick together, stay positive and take necessary precautions, since we don’t know a whole lot about this new virus. I’ve been self isolating at my home in California and staying out of the ocean, which has been the most challenging but it’s the least I can do. In the large scheme of things, it’s a very small sacrifice compared to what my ancestors had to give up.
Instead of surfing, I’m using this time to reflect and grow - working with new film stocks and reminiscing through editing. I’ve been getting back into yoga and meditation which have helped me stay calm and focus my mind, looking ahead to better times, when we are all back in the water with our beloved surf community.
See Gabriel's photo collection below, as well as his latest video shot in collaboration with the WSL. It is the second episode he's worked on as a director of photography for the WSL new surf series "Transformed". Featuring Khadjou Sambe, the first woman to surf in her hometown of Dakar, Senegal. In doing so, she emerged from a patriarchal system to become an icon for black women surfers everywhere and pave the way for the next generation. Season 3 of Transformed focuses on how women like Khadjou are lifting each other up and impacting the communities around them through surfing. Enjoy.