The North East of England is perceived as a cold, dark and fickle land, however, on its day, it plays host to some of the best waves in Europe.
Blessed with flat rock and littered with epic set ups, surfing’s popularity in the region has been steadily increasing over the years however the crowds are still generally fairly sparse, certainly by Cornish standards. There is some serious talent amongst the strong local crew, spearheaded by the likes of Sandy Kerr, Ross Hagreaves, Kris Fairst and of course Gabe & Jesse Davies.
We recently caught up with one of the regions few dedicated surf photographers, Lewis Arnold, to show us some of his excellent work and tell us what it’s like shooting in the region. Here’s what he had to say:
“Although I can appreciate the constant perfection and amazing light of an Indo boat trip, my photography is motivated by the darker, colder north sea and its muted colours and changing light. I try to come up with something different and I find inspiration in the diverse coastline of the north east.
At the moment I’m working on wavewall, a large scale public visual artwork that reflects the imagery, culture and life of surfing in Tynemouth. The work uses hundreds of phototgraphs of surfing in Tynemouth going way back in photomontage and with help from North Tyneside Council and the Arts Council will be installed on the ramp at Tynemouth Longsands this February.
Like most surf towns, Tynemouth has changed a lot over the years with surf shops, schools, web forecasts, better equipment, photographers and crowds etc, there’s been some problems but overall, the surfing ecosystem up here is functioning pretty good.
I learned to surf at Tynemouth in the eighties so I guess I’m an old timer by todays standards. My old crew from back then have long since quit and I started surfing with and photographing the Davies’ brothers, among others. These days I shoot a lot with Sandy Kerr and its’ local surfers who feature in this winter gallery.”
See more of Lewis work on his Instagram here.