Patrick Ruddy was first inspired to take photographs when he was fifteen. He would take his 35 mm camera down to the beach, shoot photos of his friends surfing, and develop prints from his bathroom. Three years later he was taken under the wing of Surfing Magazine Assistant Photo Editor, Jimmy Wilson. This helped Ruddy’s work reach a mainstream platform and has led to a career as one of the best surf photographers on the East Coast. Ruddy now works for a variety of clients, editorial and commercial, but he can still be spotted close to his home in Florida shooting with friends and family. We recently caught up with the Daytona Beack native to learn more about what makes him tick.
What makes a great surf photo?
Great surf photos can be of any place, or anyone. That’s the cool part of photography. Sometimes you don’t have the best guys to shoot with, but when you pull back and use more foreground, you can create all kinds of great photographs.
Of all your travels, what was your favorite trip? Why?
A few years ago my friend, and then-Online Editor at SURFER Magazine, Zach Weisberg called and asked if I wanted to do an East Coast road trip for SURFER. I jumped on with no hesitation. We started in Miami sometime in mid October, and ended in Maine on Halloween night. It was two weeks of fun, surf, and travel, all while updating SurferMag.com with daily photos, quotes, and stories from the road. Looking back it was a great trip, and one I can say that I wouldn’t have done anything differently on. Thanks for the call, Zach!
As a proud Floridian, what’s your relationship with the Gulf Coast disaster?
I can’t speak enough about the Gulf. I feel so badly for everyone who’s been impacted along the coast. I had a chance this summer to spend some time with Sterling Spencer, and I got to see firsthand what these people are going through. It’s not pretty. Many coastal communities in the Gulf bank on summer tourism each year. It runs their entire economy. All I can say is: get involved. There is still a lot of work to be done, and these people need our support.
What or who is your favorite subject to shoot?
I’ve always enjoyed being close to home on the East Coast – everywhere from Florida to the Outer Banks, and more recently New Jersey and New York. I like shooting with Asher Nolan, Oliver Kurtz, Jesse Heilman, Nils Schwiezer, Billy Hume and a lot of other guys too. To me the East Coast has everything I need. I feel blessed to have grown up here.
Where is Patrick Ruddy in fifteen years?
Hopefully where I’m at right now: close to home surrounded by good friends and family.
“You gotta want it!”