Rhydian Thomas

Backlit Barrels with Rhydian Thomas

How are you? What have you been up to today?

Pretty good! I’ve had a coffee – that’s about as much as I’ve achieved so far today.

Have you had any good waves lately?

We’ve just had a solid east swell here in Sydney, so there’s been heaps of options. The water is still warm enough to surf in boardies too, which is still a novelty to me having grown up surfing in 6mm wetsuits.

Let’s talk photography. Where do you do most of your work and what are the conditions generally like?

I like to shoot in the water as much as I can, it’s what I enjoy most as it brings a whole other element and set of challenges. My local breaks are Tamarama, Bronte and Bondi and it’s where I shoot most of the time. The morning light here can be pretty amazing and being on the east coast you get some sweet backlit waves at sunrise.

What’s your favourite piece of kit?

My 50mm f/1.2 .. it took me the best part of a year to save for that thing but I love it. That and my water housing … and my fins.

Favourite photographers in the surfing world?

One of the great things about living in the Eastern Suburbs is your surrounded by local legends, guys like Bill Morris who’s photo’s I first saw in surf mags I used to read as a kid. There’s so much talent out there but I guess the most inspirational guys for me have been Trent Mitchell, Jon Frank and recently Morgan Maassen. Their images are just on a whole other level. Same goes for guys like Zak Noyle, Russell Ord, Stuart Gibson, Mickey Smith and Ray Collins. The positions these guys put themselves in, in the water to get a shot is crazy and their images are awesome.

Besides surfing do you enjoy or work in any other forms of photography?

I probably should, but i don’t. I tend to stick to coastal imagery – its not all surf, but taking photo’s around the coast is what excites me the most – I guess because surfing has been such a dominant part of my life since I was a kid.

Many people imagine being a surf photographer as a dream job. What are your favourite aspects and what are the challenges?

For me, being a surf photographer will always be a dream job – I doubt this will ever pay the bills – so I just do it for fun. It’s a real competitive industry, I have heaps of respect for the guys who manage to make a living out of it.

If you could conjure up a dream surf session who would be out there, what’s the location… and where would you be?

I think I’ve already lived my dream session – it was at a break called super suck in West Sumbawa. I’d spent the afternoon toying with this shallow reef break capturing shot after shot of these guys surfing this world class left hander. Swimming back to the beach at sunset, still clean 4-6ft sets, light offshore winds, I turned to look back at the break just as this guy slotted into a perfect backlit barrel. I was too slow to get a clear shot but that image pretty much burned on my retina and has stayed with me since.

How can people buy your work or find out more?

I run a website –rhydiantphoto.com – where I share a bunch of my photo’s and sell prints.