MSW's Back-lit Beauties

© 2017 - Danny Strapps

Franito Sainz one of the top local surfers in Lanzarote pushing through a tube at El Quemao. He's a charger with big balls and one of the greatest the Canary Island's have ever produced. Shot during the last days of December 2006/2007 the waves pumped until January 2 with a perfect atmospheric light set off by a little calima (fog) which really helps the picture to come alive and engages the viewer. Just out of shot there are a few guys threading these barrels wearing Christmas hats.Cedric De Barros

South Australia / Chinamans

© 2017 -

We had been surfing all weekend and my arms couldnt take another session so I swam out with the underwater camera and jagged a bag full of amazing backlit shots just as the sun said its final words for the day. There was slight offshore and a dropping swell with just two of us out - fantastic.Danny Strapps

Spain / El Palmar

© 2017 -

Taken near Cádiz during a big, unpredictable winter swell. Despite this upon seing the light, sky, clouds and colours I had to enter the water. I spent more than three hours taking photos and when I got out of the water It was dark. Back home my reward was when I saw this picture. I think It looks like the clouds are part of the rentry. In the picture we see the rider Alvaro Calderon from Etnica Surf Shop Team he is from Cádiz but now is studying ophthalmology in Madrid.

New South Wales / Sydney (North Narrabeen)

© 2017 - surftwisted

The light was a bit temperamental, it kept hiding behind those clouds. I'm glad it was out for this and
I think the clouds give the shot a bit more dimension. It was taken at North Narrabeen in mid February 2009. Sydney had been suffering - flat for 6 weeks. Then this: I was told it was the best Narrabeen has been in years, 6-8ft grinding
kegs. In the morning it was huge, cloudy and raining. Zahn Foxton and a few people were towing at low tide, but as the tide came up it got a bit more manageable and the sun came out. There were a solid group of surfers out: Barton Lynch, Ozzy Wright, Matt Capel, Kye Fitzgerald. This wave of Kye's was mental, he had pulled into it right outside and I didn't think he'd make it to where I was shooting on the inside, lucky for me he did and the sequence turned out sick! Kye was riding a 6'10 single fin shaped by his dad, the 70's legend Terry Fitzgerald. There had been a load of shark attacks around Sydney during this time, and as much as I tell myself that its safe and no sharks will bother me, I always feel a bit anxious. Anyway, about half way through this session I took about three sets waves on the head, I was getting smashed around and something grabbed the back of my shorts and started pulling me down. I shat myself and thought my number's up here - it turned out to be a surfer who was panicking and just needed a bit of help!
Will Bailey

Ireland / Bumbloids

© 2017 - Jason. F

Fergal Smith dropping in to a backlit Bumbloids. I had shot Aileens from the water the night before, so over-excited I threw up. Duncan Scott and Al Meenie left to travel home and I stayed on an extra day. Bumped into Mickey Smith, Fergal, Jamie Pardoe and Jack Johns all hanging around on a patch of hill looking out at a turquoise heap of water, Bumbloids. We had a fantastic day, even in the water, even at the time we knew it was special and looking back, it just gets

Portugal / Coxos

© 2017 - Sunshine Surf Safari/ Green Room

An unknown local at Coxos in Portugal. I rarely choose to shoot at midday but the opportunity presented itself to try some close-range backlit pics from the dry reef and I couldn't turn it down. As it happened it turned out pretty well.Jason.

Queensland / Coolum

© 2017 - Andrew M

Early one morning I was watching the sunrise peak over the horizon as we drove on the beach, the anticipation was killing me, wanting to get in the water as the swell was a clean winter swell looking about 3ft. Knowing the winds should stay offshore all day I was frothing. I had a car full of Germans an Irish surfer keen to start their tour and we arrived to discover fun 2-3 ft beachie peaks - perfect. This was one of the first shots of the morning and it makes me want to pack up the 4WD an head up there now.Sunshine Surf Safari/ Green

South Africa / Durban

© 2017 - Rob Tibbles

A classic winter's morning in Durban shot from the North Beach Pier. I had just got this camera which was probably on auto and this shot certainly wasn't planned, just a slice of good fortune. I remember everyone had a classic surf, it was a real good clean swell and the offshore was just perfect. A good day to be alive. Andrew McKay

United Kingdom / Croyde

© 2017 - Travisurf

Taken at the start of October, when the water's still warm, but still one of those days that has the feel of summer about it. Taken late in the arvo, this moment of sublime stillness and serenity is deceiving. Approaching low tide, all the boys were out belting the hell out every wave, with this guy throwing his log about almost as much as the guys on sticks. It looked so much fun that I had to grab my water rig and get in myself.Rob

New South Wales / Byron Bay

© 2017 - Geoff Tydeman

At the time of this photo I was working interstate in Queensland Australia and the only chance to surf I got was on Sundays. With the Gold Coast beaches being crowded to the point of unsurfable I would stay with friends Saturday night and head down south a few hours for a dawn patrol which at this time of year was 4am. On this particular day the gold coast was flat but as I was staying with a friend in training for the World waveski titles we arranged to head to Iluka break wall with mutual friends and eternal grommets Azza and Nige (pictured). We all arrived on daybreak and were greeted by a beautiful backlit groundswell breaking along the break water - with nobody else around I decided my surf could wait and walked down near the takeoff zone with my camera. I had barely positioned myself when Nigel Bryant took off on this wave and taking the photo more out of hope than anything else - as the sun-glare was playing havoc with the camera - this and another photo from that morning are a couple of my best ever shots and have etched this morning in my memory. Without these photos that day would be just another good day that I vaguely remember.
Travis (Travisurf)

United Kingdom / Newquay

© 2017 - Poseidon UTR East

It is a rare occurrence to have all the elements of light, waves and surfing action all together during January in the UK. So it is especially satisfying to get a shot like this January sunset of Lewis Clinton at Fistral Beach, Newquay. Lewis is going to be a star after fine achievements within the junior ranks and I look forward to following his career as he moves up the senior ranks in the years to come.Geoff Tydeman

New York / Montauk

© 2017 - DonX2

Taken last August, on Long Island... more specifically Montauk. It was midday light so the sun was high and the beach faces the south. No one was surfing because it was a sneaker swell that just popped up out of nowhere. The strange thing was that the waves were coming in sets of one with a very long period. I would wait around for a set and of course I was way out of position and had to swim pretty hard to get into that one. I also tweaked the colours just a bit in Photoshop to make it super-surreal looking. I think it came out well backlit with a dark tube and beautiful green water spilling over into a blue sky. After a few other sets came through I decided that was the best i was going to get and I retired to the beach and reviewed my photos over some Coronas 'n' lime with my girlfriend.Tom

Florida / Sebastian Inlet

It started as mostly a rainy and overcast day and I was wet and cold and had just about all but given up on getting a decent shot. But dropping lower the sun sneaked through holes in the sky allowing it to bounce off the clouds behind and above the surfers giving a cool softer light, then the wind changed to more of an offshore and the waves started peeling off nice and smooth for about an hour or so making for this barrel shot of Paul Rieneke. I guess it came down to right place, right time, as it usually does in Sebastian.


Ed Temperley

MSW editor. Instagram @edtemperley