From Oman to Indonesia, Haiti to Comoros, Liberia to Algeria, surfEXPLORE is a collective dedicated to surfing exploration. Since 2007, they’ve traveled the world in search of new waves and deep cultural immersion. Their materials are featured regularly in specialty surfing publications, adventure travel magazines, websites and newspapers worldwide. These images of rarely-touched lineups prove it.
Algeria. Winter rainbow over the Mediterranean Sea. We had been sitting on this location for a week or so, when we saw a forecast that looked great for the coast of North Africa. The Med is a small sea so it’s difficult to avoid weather during a major swell event. We were brushed by morning rain showers embedded in the front, producing a beautiful rainbow over this left point which until this day had never been surfed. Image: Callahan/surfEXPLORE.
Indonesia. Phil Goodrich strokes into a thick one in Pacific Indonesia. This spot was a fun right at three feet, long and fast. The outside section transformed into a beast at six feet, throwing heavy Pacific-power barrels onto a shallow reef far out at sea. Image: Callahan/surfEXPLORE.
Oman. Walking in the Wahiba Dunes, towards the Arabian Sea. After some time in the desert, it’s easy to understand why desert people think of the dunes as a kind of sea – without trees, rocks or landmarks of any kind, it’s similar to traveling over water, but a sea of sand. Bring a compass, people have gotten very disoriented and vanished forever a short distance away from camp, wandering among the dunes. Image: Callahan/surfEXPLORE.
Indonesia. Emiliano Cataldi on a screamer in the Gili Islands of Lombok. We could easily do this entire feature on waves in Indonesia alone, such is the quantity and quality of waves available throughout the 17 000 islands of the archipelago. This reef is both tide and swell sensitive, only breaking like this two or three times a season on the biggest of Indian Ocean swells and a strong incoming tide. Image: Callahan/surfEXPLORE.
Mauritania. Sam Bleakley on the nose in the middle section of Meteorites. Groups of French and Moroccan surfers make regular trips on the biggest North Atlantic winter swells to surf the Nouadhibou Peninsula, camping in the ruins of colonial La Guerra to ride empty big wave points. Bringing a supply of gifts to ensure the goodwill of the Commandante, of course. Image: Callahan/surfEXPLORE.
Taiwan. West Coast rivermouth. One of the major problems surfers in Taiwan face is police harassment when a typhoon is approaching. Civil defense officials and the police descend on major spots, ordering everyone out of the water with bullhorns and videotaping those that refuse, for later identification and a stiff fine. The solution, at least until the laws change, is to have a knowledgable local friend like longboard legend Toumei, who knows how to avoid the police and catch spots like this secret rivermouth in the best conditions. Image: Callahan/surfEXPLORE.
Gabon. Left point at Mayumba, with Randy Rarick laying into a bottom turn. Since the airport closed a few years ago, the three-day bush taxi journey from Libreville through the great tropical forest of Central Africa has put off many surfers from southern Gabon, but the waves are definitely there. Surf yourself silly every day at the empty left points, drink local Regab beer every night at Stephanie’s Le Week-End Bar and try not to think about how long it’s going to take to get back to Libreville! Image: Callahan/surfEXPLORE.
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About John Seaton Callahan:
John has been a professional photographer since graduation from the college of Fine Arts at UCLA with a degree in Design in 1986. His work is published worldwide; with over 3,500 documented pages of editorial and more than 100 cover images. Originally from Hawaii, he has lived in the city-state of Singapore since 2000.
For more of John’s work visit his website.