‘HAZMAT Surfing’ imagines surfing in a poisoned future

Michael Dyrland's 'HAZMAT Surfing' looks at ocean health in venice beach

When rain runoff ruined a surfing trip, Photographer Michael Dyrland decided to create a photo series examining ocean health. Photo: Michael Dyrland

When Michael Dyrland traveled to Los Angeles in October 2014 to photograph an old friend, he was excited about trying his hand at surfing in Venice Beach. But after a night of heavy rain, he was shocked to discover that they couldn’t paddle out because of runoff contamination.

“When I woke up the following morning, I asked my friend when we could go out and he said ‘Are you crazy? No one goes in the water after it rains. You could get MRSA, hep C, virus, respiratory infection, etc,'” Dyrland wrote on the website Bored Panda. “I was shocked. Because it rains so infrequently in L.A., all the sewage, garbage, oil and [fecal matter] runs right down the streets into the sand and the ocean.”

Dyrland was so bothered by his inability to surf, that he decided to put his photography skills to use and compile a photo series titled “HAZMAT Surfing,” which envisions what surfing might look like 25 years from now if ocean health continues to worsen.

The timing of his photo series coincides with the recent toxic spill in Colorado that contaminated the Animas River so nobody could kayak or fish.

The coincidence empowers the message of Dyrland’s work.

For more on the photo series, check out Michael Dyrland’s website.

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