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Offshore Winds, Zuma Beach
© Anthony Friedkin
Anthony Friedkin took this photograph more than 25 years ago, but, as he points out, he could have taken it yesterday. The conditions that day were unique, yet timeless, which is why he's still out there every chance he gets.
Although Friedkin has shot magazine spreads where some hot-dog is riding inside the curl of a wave a guy has to make a living, after all his signature work isn't of surfboarders, but photographs made from a surfboard. He uses a watertight hand camera invented by Jacques Cousteau that is light enough to be raised to his eye. With or without the camera, being mesmerized by the water has its own hazards. Friedkin has come close to drowning several times. A surfing accident once landed him in intensive care.
Some of his photographs show that as he squatted on his board, he was being propelled into the jaws of a looming wave. But others, like that above, are of calmer, more mysterious conditions. The streaming, pock-marked surface of the water that day was caused by Santa Ana winds. Though rarely affecting the surf like this more than seven days in a year, only these winds can produce such amazing patterns. "That's what I live for!" Friedkin exclaims.
[Originally published in West Magazine : March 12, 2006, p.13]