Surfing may be synonymous with clear jewel blue tropical waters, swaying palm trees and boardshorts weather, but SURFER staff photographer Chris Burkard names chilly desolate corners furthest from the equator line — Iceland, Norway and Russia — as his favorite locations to photograph.
From snow-capped mountain backgrounds, to surfers navigating jagged cliffs along the water’s edge, Burkard's newest hardcover coffee table book, High Tide, A Surf Odyssey showcases some of the photographer’s most impressive adventures in raw nature.
“I wanted to include locations that were a little out of the ordinary,” said Burkard about his photo editing process for the book. “I am drawn to locations and landscapes that are un-explored and untraditional.”
High Tide, A Surf Odyssey follows up Burkard's previous surf photography books, Distant Shores (2013) and The California Surf Project (2006), which was co-authored with Eric Soderquist.
The selection of photographs in High Tide, A Surf Odyssey expands upon the theme of searching for waves in off-the-grid locations of which Burkard has become known for. Each location, or chapter, is prefaced with a story written by one of Burkard's travel companions.
“I wanted to capture the adventurous nature of surfing, which I feel has been lost in the wake of the traditional surf culture,” Burkard said. “So often it’s the same tropical locations and surf spots. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but what I wanted to communicate through this project was the discovery of new places and the beauty that they have to offer, not only for the surf culture, but for photographers and explorers.”
Much like the subjects of his photography, Burkard’s camera work is also something he tends to push the limits of towards undiscovered areas.
“Some lessons I learned is that the weather is unpredictable and unforgiving. Nature is powerful and demands respect, but never taken for granted. It really leaves me with a sense of awe when I surf or capture images in a place that has never been captured in that way before,” he said.
No matter how far flung the coastline, Burkard said that the surfers he encountered all around the world during the course of his travels shared a universal spirit.
“I discovered that surfers, regardless of their ethnicity or background, have a mutual love for the planet, the ocean and adventure. It’s common ground that creates a global family,” Burkard said.
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