2010 and Beyond 2010 and Beyond Andy Irons died. That’s how this decade started. It was abrupt. It was shocking. And it was painful. One day he was here, the next he wasn’t. Not one single person got the chance to say goodbye. It was a massive blow to the whole surfing world. The wind was sucked right out of us. We lost one of the greatest surfers of all time. By this time, I’d really gotten to known him. He was a great friend and will be forever missed. After his death, it’s almost as if time didn’t move. The surf industry needed something to find it’s pulse again. On August 27, 2011 we got what we needed. It was called “Code Red.” It was the craziest swell of all time at Teahupoo. It was massive and it was terrifying. The world watched Nathan Fletcher ride the craziest wave that was never meant to be ridden. I was there and by a stroke of luck I was on the right boat, at the right time and was able to capture the best angle of his death defying wave. I remember looking at the back of the camera and praying for it to be in focus. I remember not being able to wait to get back to the dock and getting to my computer. I knew this shot might be the single most important shot I’d ever gotten. According to others, it may very well be one of the best surf photos of all time. Time will be the judge of that. Big surf companies started dropping like flies. A tanking economy helped expose companies that had been for years hanging on by a thread. Companies plagued with poor decision making were unable to stand the test of time. TransWorld Surf was another casualty of the bad economy but not at the hand of bad decisions. The company that owned Surfer and Surfing Magazines acquired the TransWorld brand. Employees of TransWorld Surf were promised we weren’t going anywhere. A month later we were gone. After 15 years at TransWorld, I was without a magazine. It’s taken me a couple years to make peace with it and figure out what my future holds. Things have changed so much in photography and media. I have to admit, I was insulated from the changing world at TransWorld. There are lots of new photographers out there producing great work. What started out with 50 to 100 photographers world wide, now is in the 1000’s. Smartphones with cameras, affordable consumer cameras and GoPros came along and shorebreak photography is everywhere. Facebook and Instagram are now the new media. It’s a major transition and lots of long time photographers are struggling to keep up. Things aren’t what they used to be. You know what they say, when one door closes another opens. I used to work for one magazine, now I’m working with every major surfing magazine around the world (don’t get me wrong, I miss TransWorld). I’m now shooting large ad campaigns with companies like Guinness Beer, Western Digital, Gap and Athelta. I was asked to do a TedX talk. I’ve been shooting full-time for Volcom and this relationship has been great. They too send me all over the world with their surfers shooting for their catalogs, posters and movies. When I’m not doing that I’m at home capturing the lifestyle and surfing of the North Shore. It’s a pretty good gig. The surfing industry has for the most part stabilized itself. With the new WSL and young surfers like John John Florence and others, there’s a new excitement in the air. Things are changing faster than ever. It seems technology has no end. With the addition of GoPro’s and drones, there’s new angles and looks coming out daily. Surfing’s future seems bright. I have spent almost 40 years building up my name as a brand. After all this time, I’m still excited about what I do. Things change and evolve and that keeps me excited. There’s finally a book in the works. The decade is not over and neither am I. I got a few more images up my sleeve before I decide to go surfing forever. Here’s to hoping my best surfing photo is just around the corner.