Summer was fun in the warm clear water, but when winter hit the crowds disappeared. The surfers remained, which was cool, but the images didn’t have the same feel. Capturing the power of the waves bearing down and engulfing boardshort clad swimmers throughout summer helped convey the helplessness amidst the ocean’s authority, whereas when the wetsuits and boards appeared it felt like the surfers were stepping into the ring with horse hooves in their gloves – ready to battle the ocean on a more even playing field.
In the deep of winter we traveled to a remote beach near where I grew up – the water was around ten degrees – tried to show our dedication to experience the ocean and all the elements. Hiding inside thick wetsuits, the ocean seemed to welcome us with playful waves to shoot in, allowed us to casually swim back, then hit us with overhead waves that came unexpectedly.
We managed to link up and capture one image (Deep) that conveys the sheer size and dominance of the ocean before we both got caught in a travelator of white water and swept down the beach, slowly bringing us back to shore. Being over and hour drive to the nearest for of help meant we’d quit while we were ahead and bail, somewhat symbolic that only one photo from the day made it through to our final edit.
Having played with the waves and lazy swimmers in summer, this winter definitely shows a side I wasn’t expecting.
Editor’s Note:This gallery and essay come from photographer Mark Tipple, via the Wonders App, the most amazing hand-picked visual stories about travel, outdoor culture and free spirit.