The Inertia

Chuck Schmid has been surfing or taking pictures of surfing for over forty years. Born in Germany, Schmid moved to California in 1966, and started shooting surf photos with a sixty-dollar Vivitar camera that he bought from K-Mart. In 1971, only two years after he began shooting, Schmid had his first photo published in SURFER Magazine.

In 1985, after struggling to make ends meet as a photographer, Schmid sold his camera gear and chose to focus on other endeavors, but his passion for photography never dwindled. In 2006, when his wife started shooting digital he decided to pick up a camera again.

“I shot surf photos in the seventies and eighties, got some shots published, made some ads, took a couple trips, but never made a profit,” says Schmid. “I think what I’ve been most interested in depicting has been what a good surfer does in a critical situation – not shooting oddball angles with weird equipment. With water shots, I try to show the perspective you get paddling out and capture the feeling of being there.”

“Today, I’m 56 years old. I don’t surf. I don’t smoke or drink. No cell phone, no tattoos, no Facebook, no iPod, and no Blackberry,” says Schmid. “Every dollar I get costs me two dollars. I’ve worked in other people’s factories for 38 years. I’ve never said ‘sick’ or ‘shacked.’ What I’m after is great photos – trying to catch some great surfers out in good surf and ripping.”


To view more of Chuck’s work, visit

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