It all started with a Google search: “the best surf in The Philippines.” Having just come off the high of shooting waves in Australia, Swedish photographer and Offset artist Karl Lundholm wanted to make one last stop on his way home. One place kept coming up in his search, and the more he learned, the more he yearned to visit the island of Siargao.
When he arrived in Siargao, the photographer was instantly struck by the generosity and joyfulness of its residents. Something about the landscape and the warm tropical water seemed to bring delight to the island shores; to Lundholm, it seemed “everyone on Siargao is always smiling.” That delight and zest for life is what he searched for in the water.
In preparation for the shoot, which promised its fair share of rough waves and currents, Lundholm outfitted his Nikon with a lightweight latex house by Outex. As for himself, he wore his trusty fins to help navigate the bright blue water. When braving the waves, Lundholm stresses the importance of understanding and trusting his equipment: “Get to know your camera,” he says, adding “some waterhouses don’t let you see or change the settings while in the house.” He also notes the import of starting off slowly in more serene areas; only after conquering the quiet areas did he feel comfortable moving on to the bigger waves, including the mammoth Cloud 9, which attracts expert surfers from around the world.
Once he got the hang of things, the photographer felt unstoppable. The first time he went out to shoot, the sun was setting, casting the water in an electric glow. The water was so pleasant he didn’t need a wetsuit, and he witnessed the light shift from orange to cool blue as the sun ducked into its bower. Even after dusk, he couldn’t bring himself to leave.
“Just outside the where the waves break, all these happy surfers are just laying here and waiting for their wave,” says Lundholm, and he waited with them as long as he could before he had to make the trip home.
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