The Inertia

I turn 40 in a couple of weeks, and I’m fizzing at how freakin’ good it is to be a surfer. I live in such a wave rich area. We’ve got a ton of reefs, and basically every nook and cranny lights up depending on the conditions. I guess I’m particularly stoked right now because we’ve just had the best autumn in well over 10 years, and it looks like winter is going to be even better.

Dean Dampney, reflecting on "how good it is to be a surfer."

I grew up in a suburb on Sydney’s northern beaches and went to Uni, where I earned a couple of degrees. I’ve been in the water and surfing my whole life. My time as a student was wasted for the most part, but I had plenty of adventures – as you do being a surfer with plenty of time. That’s when we really started hitting the south coast a lot. The adventures continued with world travel and all the rest of it. Somehow, there are 10 years of getting over to Hawaii in the midst of it. I haven’t been since we started to have kids six years ago, but that time will come again in the not-too-distant future. I love and I hate Hawaii. It’s been my biggest teacher. I love that even over a just matter of weeks, you’re almost guaranteed some ten-foot plus days.

As a photographer, my roots lie in street photography. My personal work has focused more on a documentary approach with a love of environmental portraiture. I’m not creating projects, I’m just simply telling my own story. It’s pretty simple these days. I live in a beautiful place with incredible waves and few people. The generations down here are being spliced and shared between the groms, the elders, and the guys like myself, who are neither here nor there. What unites us, for the most part, is this great sense of how lucky we are.

Learn more about Dean, and check out more of his work at


Only the best. We promise.


Join our community of contributors.