Greg Martin worked in the British surf media for 10 years, with a varied career spanning a variety of roles including staff photographer and editor for the now deceased Pitpilot, and of course this fine rag. We’ve mined Gregs archive for some of the best shots and stories, which feature British surfing (and it’s peripheries) in what many would consider to be its hay day, and each week we’ll be brining you 10 of these shot/ story combo’s.
This week the selection features some pumping waves at home in Cornwall, night surfing in Scotland, two spritely pensioners & a young Jayce Robinson.
Greg’s currently works as a photo-journalist for the Cornishman, You can see Greg’s recent work, which is a bit like Humans Of New York, but for the depths of Cornwall, on his Facebook page here.
Click the first image to enter full screen, then click on the image to make the caption appear, then scroll through the gallery with your arrow keys.
September 2010 – Mikey’s view. After shooting a bit of his stylish noseriding, Michael Lay invited me up for a coffee (black… they never have any milk) at the Gwenver lifeguard hut, whilst he set up for a day of work. This was the view from his seat in the hut. I’ve definitely seen worse offices.
October 2007 – A moonrise kingdom not too far from Thurso on the north coast of Scotland. Surfing a shallow reef after dark is a health and safety no no, but fortunately this particular night-rider, Chris Noble, can get barreled out here with his eyes closed.
May 2011 – On the way back from the Mentawai Islands, I shot this roll of film with Jayce Robinson down a rat infested alley in Padang. The camera I used was a Bencini Korroll II, which I bought at a car boot for £2 and fixed with a hammer. It splits medium format in half. If Jayce ever pursues his acting career this contact sheet should come in handy.
October 2007 – Some waves are near impossible to get a good shot of – other waves do all the hard work for you. ‘Bagpipes’ in Scotland in one such wave, with so many vantage points from where it looks mesmerizing, including particularly close ones. If you’ve got the balls and the skills – as Nathan L Phillips here has – your mates could get a timeless shot of you with just their mobile phone.
January 2007 – You don’t see too many airs at Porthleven. It’s odd, because if it was the same wave in Indo then that’s probably all you would see from the better surfers on the smaller days. Anyway, on this particular day, Oli Adams was the exception, and kept launching himself over the shallow reef. Tim Nunn is getting the water angle, whilst Tony Plant is turning up fashionably late to the party .
January 2011 – Think you’ve been surfing a lot? Think again. Gwynedd Haslock has been surfing for about 45 years, has racked up 10 title wins and is still a regular in the line up at Fistral. I took this portrait on a medium format camera at her home, which is much like any other 60 something year old lady’s home, apart from the surfboards and pictures of Kelly Slater!
January 2013 – I’m afraid of heights, but I always fancied the idea of hiring a helicopter and shooting from it during a good swell. I got as far as looking into the cost… then changed my mind. Of course, now, remote control helicopters with mounted cameras make those shots more feasible – check out SKYHAWK. With my budget though, I had to make do with dangling off the edge of this cliff in Porthtowan.
January 2010 – Ben Skinner shooting his fish through a barrel on a breathless Cornish day.
June 2005 – Malcolm; the man who got me into Wavelength Magazine. Before I saw him I’d not had any luck with the surf shots I’d submitted. Seeing him enter the sea one day I suited up and ran in with my waterhousing and camera so I could ‘just happen’ to be swimming by him when he got a wave. As I entered the water, he caught a wave in. I pretended there was something wrong with my camera and also walked out, and ‘just happened’ to get out right next to him (I was very shy about approaching people for photos back then!) This was the first shot I took of him, in all his glory, before moving in a little closer for a grainy black and white portrait which ended up in the gallery of the next issue of Wavelength.
November 2011 – This was the third day in the row that this place had been pumping. When you get a run like that, it’s so much easier to shoot a feature around one place, and on this evening I was just there to get the icing on the cake shots. Aside from the wave, this whole area is pretty amazing, full of fossils and geological wonders. I can’t tell you where it is, but it’s definitely worth a visit.
All photos & captions: Greg Martin.