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 features even more classic UK waves, including rare gems, secrets, semi-secrets and some carefully translated hostile graffiti.
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.
April 2011 – So today is my birthday, and everything looks sunnier, like I’m looking at the world through shades – which reminded me of this shot. We were doing a sunglasses guide in the mag and I thought I’d do something a bit different for an opening shot. Clever eh? Well, no. Because now I look back at my shots of a pretty classic Cornish day, and they’ve all got f*%kin sunglasses in the way.
December 2012 – The good thing about shooting with someone like Alan Stokes is that when you have an idea of a shot, he’s pretty reliable of making it happen, even if you haven’t told him the idea. When I saw him move over to the peak by these fishermen in Portugal, I knew exactly where I wanted him. And sure enough, he obliged with the catch of the day.
December 2010 – This was around the time when I was seduced by the idea of war photography, and had been studying iconic shots from Vietnam. Armed with a similar set up, a Canon AE-1 loaded with black and white film, I followed these bodyboarders down to the jump-off rock to get as close to the action as possible. They patiently watched their mate get a bomb, and then as the wave hit the rock, they jumped in over the back of it and got swept out, whilst I got swamped in water and sheepishly made my way out of the battle zone.
February 2010 – With digital cameras being so high spec these days, it’s easy to fall into the habit of thinking that your job as a surf photographer is to freeze all the action with a fast shutter speed. But now and again, slowing everything down is the best way to get across the G-force feeling of riding a wave. Here’s Dan Mole Joel hitting Mach 10.
October 2009 – I spent quite a bit of time in my van, ‘Frosty’, searching for waves around the UK. On this trip, far up north, these were chilly nights, warmed slightly by a little stove, the masses of gas stored under my pillow, and the thought of scoring clean surf in the morning.
May 2010 – ‘Longboarders Go Home’… not the most welcoming thing to see when you arrive at a spot on a longboarding trip. It certainly put us on edge whilst we checked the surf, unable to disguise the quivers of 9’6″s. But this wall post in Salinas, Spain, was aimed at the annual Longboard Festival, and not us, which is why Matthew Jackson Travis still looks as cool and nonchalant as ever. We scored great waves, got some photos, and eventually we did go home… but only when we were good and ready.
July 2012 – When Seb Smart asked me to come and shoot a secret spot, I wasn’t expecting it to be my local beach break. But it wasn’t the beach that Seb had recently discovered, it was a new sandbank, which produced perfect ramps for airs. When I arrived, I just didn’t get it… all I could see was onshore 2ft slop. Luckily, Seb was about to catch a wave and show me the secret that was hidden from my eyes.
February 2007 – One of the best days I’ve seen at this sheltered winter beach break, this photo also taught be a valuable lesson in getting organised. After accidentally deleting all the original files from this day, all I was left with was this shot that I had already processed… badly.
October 2009 – Today, 4 years after this was taken, Surfers Against Sewage are delivering a petition to No.10 Downing St which calls for the protection of our stunning natural resources like this around the British coastline. Will the government listen? Well, it’s very hard to ignore 55,000 voices!
February 2010 – Surfers from the Sennen and Gwenvor have always had a bit of a reputation for style. In my time in this part of the world, one of the most influential stylists in those line ups has been Sam Bleakley. Thanks to his example, the first waves to hit the west coast these days – whether big or small, whether launched from or glided along – tend to be ridden with grace. Happy Birthday Sam!