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20 Best Surf Photographers to Follow on Instagram in 2024

Last updated: March 13, 2024 - 13 min read
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Do you find your mind drifting off to sea? Can you feel the sea spray on your face? If so, you may be missing the beach and all the elements that come with it. Not to worry, today, we will look at the best surf photographers to follow on Instagram currently.

Most of us cannot live the beach lifestyle we want, so why not live vicariously through people who do! These photographers eat, sleep and breathe the beach, so who is there better to capture the essence of surfing. As a big extreme sports fan, my Instagram is full of surf accounts. Here is a selection of the best.

a surfer in the waves photographed

What Makes a Good Surfing Photo?

Surf photography is challenging to capture and harder to master. The main issue you will face is how to keep your camera dry. The quick answer for this is to buy a waterproof housing for your camera body and lens. Also, the setting of a beautiful beach does help, but most of the time, it will just be the sky, the sea and the surfer.

Surf photographers are usually found evoking the feeling of the viewer being in the water. The camera points toward a surfer poised on their board, hanging onto the wave. The money shot clearly shows the tunnel formed from the collapsing wave.

Apart from this, many surf photographers have a less extreme approach to their images. They take photographs of surfers enjoying the smaller waves, hanging ten and relaxing on their boards past the break.

Some surf photographers go further and use photography’s ability to freeze time to capture images of the waves in a sculptural way. We will look at a wide range of surf photographers in this list. By the end, you will have some wavy inspiration to last you till the summer!

surfing men photographed in the ocean


Best Surf Photographers to Follow

1. Russel Ord

As one of the worlds leading surf photographers, Ord will have your Instagram timeline full of some of the beautiful places he comes across in his travels. When it comes to his surf photography, you can tell he has spent years in the water.

His composition tends to capture the pure might and power of the waves. He often portrays them as giant walls that seem threatening in contrast to the water matador who is taming them. Ord can also capture light in fantastic ways, often using the transparency of the waves to act as its own light.


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A post shared by Russell Ord (@russellordphoto)

2. Sarah Lee

Lee is a well-established surf photographer. You’ll find his work on huge platforms such as National Geographic and ESPN, as well as many surf magazines. From photographing in the sea since she was 15, Lee is a surf photographer who perfectly captures the beach vibe.

Her strengths lie in capturing a more relaxing and reflective approach to surfing. Where the waves don’t seem as threatening and you are faced with a person who is fully in tune with their environment.


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A post shared by sarah lee 🌊 water photographer (@hisarahlee)

3. Ted Grambeau

In a way, Ted Grambeau is the complete opposite of Sarah Lee. Grambeau is an expert at capturing big wave surfing. Here, he makes waves seem like one of nature’s scariest and most destructive forms. His compositions have you guessing whether the subject made it out of the scenes presented.


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A post shared by TED GRAMBEAU (@tedgrambeau)

4. Clark Little

Clark Little has made a name for himself through a unique aesthetic and subject that he calls ‘shorebreak’ photography. He creates otherworldly images through the split seconds where the wave crashes down on the shore.

These images are a little closer to water photography rather than a surf photographer. Although, Little is presenting the viewer with a similar view that a surfer would get riding through a barrel.


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A post shared by Clark Little (@clarklittle)

5. Ha’a Keaulana

Keaulana is from a long line of famous surfers in Hawaii. She would have been raised to be aware of all the intricacies of surfing. Leading her to study these observations of the sport that make her one of the top surf photographers!

Her strength lies in capturing surf culture rather than competitive surfing. Perfectly capturing beach scenes through the eyes of a born surfer.


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A post shared by Ha’a Keaulana (@haakeaulana)

6. Chris Burkard

Burkard is a surf photographer whose career has led him to shoot worldwide and even led him to do a TED talk about it! The content you will get from his Instagram goes beyond surf photography and will be perfect for the travel heads out there.

I am a big fan of the way he seems to be a landscape photographer, and the action in the images only take up a small part of the frame. This gives a great sense of location.


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A post shared by ChrisBurkard (@chrisburkard)

7. Morgan Maassen

Maassen is one of the surf photographers who has a natural ability to capture the dramatic. Whether it is through the subject or the photographic techniques he uses (slow shutter speeds to blur the image), his pictures are highly emotional.


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A post shared by Morgan Maassen (@morganmaassen)

8. Joni Sternbach

I always have time for surf photographers who use old photographic processes to capture their subjects. There is something so satisfying and fitting about tintype portraits of surfers.

Maybe it’s because the sport itself isn’t too different from its humble beginnings. Sternbach’s images truly capture the timelessness of this sport. Follow Joni’s Instagram if you are more interested in surf culture and considered photography.


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A post shared by Joni Sternbach (@jstersurf)

9. Ben Thouard

If you want to see an Instagram timeline that instantly relaxes you, head over to Thouard’s page. This is an excellent example of a perfectly executed curation of an Instagram page. Beyond this, the calming tone of the blue he presents us is almost like an instant breath of fresh air.

In his work, we face abstract forms created by the ocean. He provides us with new compositions of surf photography. He often places himself below the waves to deliver us a unique viewpoint.


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A post shared by Ben Thouard (@benthouard)

10. Luki O’Keefe

O’Keefe’s photographers are again the viewpoint of a person who has grown up around the sea. Her photographs capture every part of surf culture. And, perfectly reflect the beauty and grace associated with surfing.

Following her Instagram will give you an insight into a surfers lifestyle where fun and frolicking are forefront. If you are to explore her surf images further, you are faced with the same fun and lighthearted imagery that reflects the time off the board.


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A post shared by Luki O’Keefe (@_lucrecia_)

11. Todd Glaser

Glaser has been a SURFER staff photographer for over a decade and has his photographs published in many other magazines. I am a fan of how he can capture the intensity of surfers faces throughout the chaos.

Glaser has a great ability to mix this chaos with calm. This ability put him up there as one of the best surf photographers, as you can view the images in both ways, either relaxing or terrifying.


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A post shared by Todd Glaser (@toddglaser)

12. Maria Fernanda

Maria Fernanda is an excellent example of one of the surf photographers who upload many consistent images on Instagram. This makes her a great photographer to follow, as your timeline will have a healthy fix of surf content throughout.

On her website, her images are split up into places rather than categories. I like this as it feels like you are following her around the world on a great big surf trip!


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A post shared by Maria Fernanda Photography (@mariafernandaphoto)

13. Sachi Cunningham

Don’t be fooled by Cunningham’s Instagram page, where it seems she is a dedicated surf photographer! She is a fantastic documentary filmmaker and teaches as a professor at San Francisco State University.

After looking at her surf images, it makes complete sense. The way she can capture the emotions that go along with the sort is a unique ability. Sequencing is something that she plays with as well. She uses this effectively to show a surfer as if they were progressing through the wave.


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A post shared by Sachi Cunningham (@seasachi)

14. Ed Sloane

Ed Sloane’s vibrant blue is strong enough to wash away the greyest day. Throughout his Instagram, you will find this blue punching through your screen, giving you an instant calming feel. You will then notice the hugely dangerous situations presented, which may cause you to rethink the calmness.

Sloane has the remarkable ability to bring the viewer right into the scenes he depicts. This is done by the use of a long lens, transporting you right into the soul of the wave.


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A post shared by Ed Sloane Photography (@edsloanephoto)

15. Tahnei Roy

Born and raised on the North Shore of Hawaii, Roy quickly got her hands on waterproof housing and jumped into photographing surfing. I like her style of photography as it mixes this softer, elegant aesthetic with surfing. Roy is also excellent at capturing female surfers doing what they do best, making the waves seem easy.


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A post shared by Tahnei Roy (@tahneinei)

16. Lucia Griggi

Griggi’s career started out by photographing her passion for surfing but led her to be a Canon ambassador. Her Instagram is more commonly populated with wildlife and travel imagery. But, when it comes to her surf photography, you can see why she has made such a successful photography career.


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A post shared by Lucia Griggi Studio (@luciagriggi)

17. Stewart MacKellar

It may be hard to surf in the UK, but MacKellar makes British surf photography look as electrifying as it seems! It’s refreshing to see the different environments in which the sport occurs. The sublime nature of the waves matched with cliffs makes for some really dramatic imagery.

MacKellar’s Instagram is packed with these dramatic images. They feature a range of photographic techniques that capture how it feels to be by the sea. He currently has a calendar for 2022 for sale as well as photography sessions for surfers in the UK. If you need some action shots of yourself in the UK, you know where to go:


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A post shared by Stewart MacKellar (@stewmackellarphoto)

18. Ryan Craig

Craig is another surf photographer you’ll find along Hawaii’s North Shore. He is a permanent member of the SURFER magazine photography team and has rightfully earned his place there. Photographing a wide range of surf environments, Craig’s images show the wonderful surfing world in all its forms. Don’t forget the occasional sunsets that come along with this lifestyle!


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A post shared by ᴿʸᴬᴺ ᶜᴴᴬᶜᴴᴵ ᶜᴿᴬᴵᴳ ✌🏼 (@chachfiles)

19. Trent Mitchell

Trent Mitchell’s style of photography falls under water photography rather than surfing. He is totally in tune with the water and has managed to capture the various forms of water that you would come across in the sea; the walls of water, the ocean spray.

Mitchell looks at the water as a sculpture, a translucent surface that is constantly in motion. This allows him to capture unique types of light and some beautiful forms.


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A post shared by Trent Mitchell (@bytrentmitchell)

20. Christa Funk

Funk is a Hawaii resident who started out as a Coast Guard before transitioning into photography full time. Her surf images have taken her to get front cover images for numerous surf magazines. It’s not surprising that Funk does a great job balancing the scene between the surfer and the wave they are riding.


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A post shared by Christa Funk (@instaclamfunk)


After looking through this list, we hope you have found at least one surf photographer to follow on Instagram. Certain accounts offer better competitive surfing images or big wave surfing, but this list looks closer at the photographers who live to surf.

I can tell you now if you do end up following these people, you will need a holiday almost every time you look at your Instagram!