“Surfing is about battles won and lost, communion with a mysterious and elusive energy force of nature and meditation as deep as any practiced by the most dedicated Zen monks. Look closely at this stunning collection of portraits by Stephan Vanfleteren and see the warrior, priest and philosopher in each of these faces. Imagine the experiences, the thoughts, the feelings. If Stephan has captured anything, look deeply into the eyes and behold a world without fathom.
Surfing is all about surfers even if the surfers always say that it’s all about the waves first then their surfboards after that. This is why this portrait collection is so provocative. Getting surfers to coherently articulate what it is that makes them tick is a fool’s mission. Surf Tribe evokes the readers to fill in all the blanks for themselves. Look deep and enjoy!”
— Gerry Lopez
In Surf Tribe, photographer Stephan Vanfleteren shows that there is far more to surf culture than just competitive sport. Surfing is also about a deep respect for the ocean, as well as that moment of insignificance surfers feel when confronted with the forces of nature. It’s about battles won and lost, both with other surfers and with themselves.
Vanfleteren looks beyond the traditional surf spots of California and Hawaii and searches the globe for people who live in places where sea and land meet. He documents a fluid community, which has nature as its one and only leader.
He pictures talented youngsters as well as living icons and revered legends, competition surfers as well as free surfers. In this book there are no action shots on azure blue waves; instead, you’ll find serene black and white portraits in Vanfleteren’s well-known, haunting style. He reveals the real person behind the surfer, in all his or her strength and vulnerability. This series of images penetrates to the true heart of surf culture: the love for the water, the addiction to the waves, the passion for the surf.
With more than 300 portraits of, among others, Kelly Slater, Gerry Lopez, John John Florence, Laird Hamilton, Bethany Hamilton, Greg Noll, Stephanie Gilmore, Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Mickey Munoz, Filipe Toledo and Tom Carroll.
With a preface by surf legend Gerry Lopez.