Gear Inspirations

9 Swell surf images that will inspire sports photographers

We gave a wave to the inning images from the Nikon Surf Photography awards…

There can’t be many genres of image-making more testing than surf photography with shooters not only contending with subjects moving quickly through the frame, but also the huge motion of the waves further complicating the scene. However, the best of the best have been recognised in the 2021 Nikon Surf Photo and Video of the Year Awards.

This year’s winners were selected by a panel of 13 high-profile judges from within the surfing industry, including Nikon Brand Ambassador and seven-time World Surfing Champion, Stephanie Gilmore. Stu Gibson was awarded the top title of Nikon Surf Photo of the Year Award for an epic image entitled ‘Freefall’, which was captured in Tasmania using a Nikon D850.

Image by Stu Gibson / Nikon Surf Photography Awards

Photographer Gergo Rugli combined wildlife and exquisite lighting in his image – entitled ‘Griffin’, which was captured off the New South Wales coast using a Nikon D850 paired with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens.

Image by Gergo Rugli / Nikon Surf Photography Awards

Extreme skill and split second timing were needed to capture this stunning image from Lucas Martin, who is based in Bali but originally from Argentina. The image, entitled; ‘Elements aligned’ shows surfer Joaquin Zalles expertly riding a wave.

Image by Lucas Martin / Nikon Surf Photography Awards

Photographer Ed Dallimore employed a slow shutter speed to create a surf image with a true fine-art feel. The spectacular frame, entitled ‘Sunrise Supernova’ was captured at the famous Manly Beach and was taken with a Nikon D300s paired with a 18-105mm lens.

Image by Ed Dallimore / Nikon Surf Photography Awards

Not all surf images need to be taken during daylight and a great example of this is Eden Pogonoski’s epic frame that featured surfer Keanu Miller. Entitled ‘Purple Rain’, the shot was captured at Wollongong in New South Wales with Eden using a Canon 7D Mark II paired with a Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens.

Image by Eden Pogonoski / Nikon Surf Photography Awards

Sometimes it’s the wave itself that is the star of the show rather than the surfer on the longboard and this was exactly the case with this beautiful frame by Warren Keelan. Entitled ‘Supernova’, the image was captured off Shellharbour in New South Wales and was taken with a Canon 5D Mark IV paired with a 24-70mm f/2.8L lens.

Image by Warren Keelan / Nikon Surf Photography Awards

Aerial images can reveal a whole new perspective on a subject and this approach was employed to huge success by photographer Piotr Parzybok, who is originally from Zambia. The image, entitled; ‘Electric’ was captured near Stradbroke Island in Queensland and show perfect composition.

Image by Piotr Parzybok / Nikon Surf Photography Awards.

Sometimes you don’t have to get your feet wet to get a great surf image and selecting a clever focal length can be the key to a great frame, which is exactly what Mark Onorati did with his image entitled ‘Northern Beaches’, which was captured at Narrabean, New South Wales using a Nikon D5 paired with a 600mm lens.

Image by Mark Onorati / Nikon Surf Photography Awards

Alex Van Kampen’s image of some surfers is a great example of how embracing flare from the sun can bring interest to the frame. The image, entitled ‘Nothing rhymes with orange’ was captured in the waters off Noosa National Park and was captured with a Canon 5D Mark IV paired with a 24-70mm lens.

Image by Alex Van Kampen / Nikon Surf Photography awards