Whilst visiting this website you have likely admired many amazing photographs of surf kayaking taken by Mark Boyd. We want to tell you a bit about the man behind the lens because he’s pretty remarkable. We asked him a few questions and here are his responses:
Why do you like to take pictures of kayak surfing?
I have been active in sports my entire life, football, basketball, motorcycles, skiing, windsurfing, surfing, kayaking and more. I have also had physical jobs my whole life, working in a gold/silver mine when I was younger and then as a farmer for the last 36 years. Then about 4 years ago I developed neck problems that required a cervical fusion of my C5-C6 vertebrae, with the possibility of more fusion in the future. That slowed me down a lot and after other neurological problems developed, put an end to physical activities. So I picked up a camera to film my son Zack and all of my friends having fun kayaking (it’s almost as much fun as kayaking but not quite).
You have captured some incredible images. Does it help that you have been a kayaker and surfer?
I have found with my knowledge of waves and water, I can anticipate what moves people are doing and that helps capture some nice pictures. So after a year or so of photographing kayaking, I’ve learned even more about how people move on the water and that helps even more. All kayak surfers have their own style, so as I learn each person’s style, I can anticipate what they will be trying on the water.
What advice can you give someone looking to take photos of surf kayaking?
Study the waves and riders and spend lots of hours staring through a lens taking pictures. Try new ideas and different angles to get new shots. Also staying away from other people helps. If you are talking and not watching through the lens, you will miss the shots.
As for equipment, I’m not a pro, but I think any good DSLR camera will work, but it takes a good telephoto lens to take surf shots. You are a long way away from the action most of the time. a 200 mm lens is about as small as I would use and I often use much bigger. 150-600mm is what I use most of the time, although I’m thinking about going bigger. With the lager lenses, a tripod or monopod helps a lot. With all your equipment in place, just take lots of pictures.
You have studied many different surfing styles. What advice would you give someone wanting to become a better surf kayaker?
Surf lots of different places, not just one break. By going to new places, it forces you to read the water and waves and this will make you better. High tide, low tide, windy days, big swell, small swell, all directions, do it all. Every time the ocean is different it will teach you something. If you go to the same point break every day, you will only be good at that spot. Also try to surf with people better then yourself. Watch and learn. If you don’t compete, go watch a competition or two to see what the best in the sport are doing. You may see things you never thought possible and they’re also a lot of fun.
Trying new equipment helps too. The new stuff can do amazing things on the water. Most of all, HAVE FUN!
Thank you Mark for your time and dedication to capturing the essence of the sport we love. We appreciate you and all those photographers that help promote our sport!