The Outside Crowd explores the life of Katharina Will Sommer, a passionate surfer & the co-founder of online German surf magazines, The Salty Souls.
Dear boardbag. I hope this letter finds you well, wherever you may be.
The landscapes here are really lunar. It’s wild and it’s cold. A griffon vulture fly over us—we see his shadow before raising our heads to see it in all its size, surely attracted by the hares frolicking in the plains below.
We went out for a few beers but I was uncomfortable the whole time, anxiously watching the water slowly rise and chain smoking Vietnamese cigarettes like those monkeys on YouTube. I’m not a smoker. I don’t know why I put my health in jeopardy but I was already drudging through brown bacteria filled water, so what the hell.
Exploring the hometown of surf photographer Hugo Filipe Silva, Portimão, which is located in the district of Faro, situated in the Algarve region of southern Portugal.
I had arrived on the North Shore of Hawaii three weeks ago, in search of a legendary wave—Pipeline. It is a wave so perfect that it occupies the dreams of surfers everywhere on the planet. Pipeline sits, hidden in plain sight, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. But the goal wasn’t to catch one of these waves for myself, but rather, as a surf photographer, to capture a shot of the world’s greatest surfers catching one of the greatest waves of their lives.
I had come to Iceland because I wanted to do something different. People back home told me I was crazy to go somewhere cold, expensive and unknown. Why didn’t I go to Indonesia, they said, where I could be guaranteed constant, perfect surf in tropical conditions for a fraction of the cost? Yes, I thought, along with hundreds of other surfers.
As we tend to forget that Iceland is not only Ring Road, Reykjavik, Blue Lagoon or Golden Circle, photographer’s David Rostirolla went and got lost in this mystic land, trying to prove that the island has way more things to offer than what we’re aware of.
The Faroe Islands are known as the islands of sheep, which is how the islands got their name in the first place. But they’re also the islands of a thousand waterfalls and windy, narrow roads etched between steep cliffs and volcanic mountains, ever-changing climate, deep fjords and dried fish and farmed salmon.
The country was depicted as a faraway paradise, lost in the Indian Ocean. An island surrounded by epic waves, hidden from the rest of the world. As years passed, an increasing number of surfers travelled to Mauritius to uncover its surfing spots and explore this hidden gem.
After days of careful consideration, I have found myself in the south of Thailand on a bright purple ferry headed to the island of Koh Phi Phi. With the full moon party in just a few days, my inner grandma told me to go to Phi Phi and not Koh Phangan, just to be safe.
There are many days like this, many surf sessions that have me questioning whether to continue the long road to becoming an intermediate, never mind an experienced surfer. Could I not just be satisfied with floating in no-man’s land, somewhere between beginner and intermediate?
Stretching across the two countries, the Basque Country is a surfing paradise. There are countless fun breaks, from the world famous Mundaka River Mouth in Spain to the barrels of Hossegor, France.
Despite its romantic and comforting eating ritual of sitting by the beach after a routine of exercise to savour a bowl of refreshing cream, it’s the fruit’s alleged nutritional values that backup its commercial and social popularity, and what causes most polemic. The main controversy about açai is regarding its supposedly most important health attribute: the idea that it possesses high antioxidant capacity.
This week started with a day trip to Nusa Lembongan, an Island Southeast of Bali and a fine place to relax. Earlier that morning, before the sun was awake, we checked out Komune, a stylish beachfront resort with a nice break out front. The waves were decent enough but nothing I could surf as I’m little, so I sat on the beach with Aaron and watched Luke surf all the waves like some sad puppy.
The fog, the rain and the rich greens embrace us with a unique ambiance, one unique to most surf destinations. With a background in photography, I almost immediately felt as though I didn’t have an option: I needed to put on some fins, swim out with my friends, and bring the same exposure the male surfers were getting to the unique female surf community of Tofino.
The task at hand is simple; travel to Bali, Thailand and Vietnam alone for six weeks. Get uncomfortable, quote Eat, Pray, Love, make new friends, and be happy. The last bit being the most important. It’s not easy to do the things we want to do, to do what makes us truly happy. I was ready to take action.
When I first arrived to the West Coast, like so many, the beauty of the place amazed me. It was like nothing I’ve seen before. On the beach or in the forest, this place will make you feel lucky. This end of the road on Vancouver Island has something special. Unique.
Deciding that even if there was little or no surf, Norway was worth seeing, I booked a flight ticket to Europe. Trying to keep my expectation low and too lazy for research, I had a feeling I was about to embark on an unforgettable adventure.
While shooting river surfing in the Saint-Lawrence River, we realized how mysterious the connection between human and nature was. They were right—nature is a poetic subject.
We’re all using the golden hour as our secret weapon, either for catching waves by ourselves or capturing the perfect light with our camera. We know how powerful it is to be in the ocean when the sun is slowly rising or setting in the sky.
After a month in Bali, we decided it was time to explore some places a little less civilised. The boys were itching for a new playground and Sumbawa seemed like the perfect place.
On the descent down the hill into Muriwai, we pull over to the side of the road, seeing the lines of swell filtering into the bay, helping to determine which breaks are picking up the most of it. The sun has already started to drop beneath the clouds hinting that time is not on our side.
Part of the life of a water photographer is to find inspiration at any time of the year, even when waves are flat and that there is no surfers around.
Chas Smith, co-founder of BeachGrit!, author of Welcome To Paradise, Now Go To Hell & surf journalist, recently started writing about Yemen.I hope his journey is going to inspire more than a few to give a chance to a country that got judged way too hard, way too quick. And don’t worry—it involves surfing too.
A new-ish couple, Ernie (name has been changed to protect the innocent) and I decided to go to Kauai in September to surf and work on our tans. A shared love of surfing and sunshine was largely the reason we’d wound up together, and it seemed like a great idea.
It's not often anyone pairs surfing with falling snow, iced over beards, 5-4mm wetsuits and rocky lake shorelines but when it comes to this crew, it's the first things that come to mind. If you're ever curious enough to meet one of these people...take a drive up the North Shore of Minnesota when the winds are strong and they hail from the East by North East.
In France, there are destinations that are essential for surfing: Biarritz is one of them. Luckily for me, I was able to go there for three weeks.
Jeremie and I head down to La Vague à Guy for a nice morning session before starting a busy work day. For a very long time, I’ve wanted to create a special black and white series of river surfing and with the pretty overcast weather, it was the perfect opportunity to make my vision become reality.
Just a few days ago, moving to San Diego was nothing but a dream. In just one day, that dream became a reality.