A new book by photographer Jason Reposar attempts to capture the face of surfing’s past, present, and future.
“I just want to honor the people who’ve stoked me,” says TransWorld SURF Senior Photographer Jason Reposar. The Los Angeles-based surf, music, and lifestyle photographer has embarked on the daunting task of taking the picture of everyone who’s ever mattered in the sport of surfing. “I’ve shot about 500 people so far, “Jason smiles, “and I think I got about 1,400 to go.”
To do this, Repo (as we lovingly refer to him) has been traveling the world with a portable photo studio-lights, a black backdrop, and his medium-format camera gear-and using all means necessary to track down everyone from modern-day superstars Andy Irons and Kelly Slater to legends of the 1980s like Tom Carroll and Gary “Kong” Elkerton and legendary figures, including Rabbit Bartholomew, Greg Noll, Michael Petersen, and Maurice Cole to name just a few.
Surfers, especially the more eccentric ones, can be hard to find, and Repo has his share of stories about tracking down the more reclusive ones.
“I was in Australia with Jay Phillips, and for like three weeks we were trying to track down Wayne Lynch (1960s and 70s shortboard pioneer, and generally considered to be the ultimate “soul surfer”),” Repo recalls. “I finally got him on the phone. ‘You can shoot me if you can find me,’ he said, so I asked where he was, and he said, ‘I’m in a bar in Victoria,’ then he hung up. But I found him.”
Reposar’s project seems very relevant in surfing’s current atmosphere of getting back in touch with the roots of surfing-an ideology manifest in the reemergence of the surfboard designs popular three decades ago.
“Repo’s book is going to be an ethnograph of surfing,” says The Tribe publisher, surf-filmmaker, and head of Metalstorm Entertainment Josh Williams. “I can’t think of a more significant book project for the surf world.”
But with just over a quarter of the photos shot, Reposar and Williams don’t have time to stop and pat each other on the backs yet. Jason has been shooting in California this summer, and by the end of 2005 will have traveled extensively throughout the East Coast, Europe, South America, and Japan.
The Tribe will be published as an oversized hardback coffee-table book, and Metalstorm is planning on a Spring 2006 release date. Wish them luck. In the meantime, here’s a small sampling of what you’ll find in book’s pages.-Joel Patterson
Tom Carroll and daughter (Jenna or Mimi???)
Monica, Joel, and Evie Kate Parkinson