New York can be a tough state to get waves. It can be a really tough place to get a good surf photo.
Or is it?
“There used to be competition. But now it seems as if everyone is too preoccupied with Instagram moments and adding a filter to the photo of their whey and broccoli shake. You’ve got California in 1960 right on your beach, right now. You’ve got more culture and life in your backyard than anywhere in the world,” said Long Island photographer/video director Matt Clark, the 2007 winner of the Larry Flame “Follow the Light” Foundation Grant.
Clark is specifically talking about the NYSea ‘Yo Shot Challenge,’ a photo competition open to anyone in the world who could grab a great moment of surf between Sep. 10 and Dec. 6, 2013 in the Empire State’s 127 miles of coast. The entries were put online and the public got to vote on their favorites.
While New York came into focus for the surf world in the last decade, compared to other coastlines, photos have barely been seen around the world. Clark aims to bring attention to the contest and to the New York surf culture.
This week, it was announced that senior lensman and Unsound Surf Shop co-owner, Mike Nelson won the YoShot Challenge. He is the guy who really put New York waves on the map, documenting what the North Atlantic could really do and building up his Unsound Pro for ten years before Quiksilver brought an ASP event to Long Beach in 2011. He won for this iconic shot of his own team rider, TJ Guimella, just a few blocks from the shop.
“This shot was taken on Sep. 20, one of the only good swells we had this fall up here. I gave TJ a call because it looked fun and glassy. When we got in the water it wasn’t as good as it looked. There was quite a bit of current and it was difficult to line up with him,” said Nelson.
“This style of shot is challenging because the surfer is hidden from view, behind the wave, until they hit the lip. Trying to get the surfer in focus and above the lip requires a bit of guesswork and some luck. We spent about three hours in the water trying to get a decent shot and this was the best one from that day.”
It was taken with a Canon 1D Mark 4 with a Canon 70-200 2.8 lens in a SPL water housing.