“The Lineup is about everyone who paddles out. Surfing is a great equalizer: The CEO of a Fortune 500 company could be sitting side by side with a penniless vagabond chasing the next swell. It’s the only sport where you could also find your own heroes out there with you if you’re lucky. I can’t think of any other sport where that level of intimate sharing of space happens casually as a result of doing what you love.
For a long time, I had this art-school notion of what proper art meant: Something really formal, with big erudite ideas. It wasn’t until very recently that I realized surfing was my art. And that’s when I began shooting The Lineup. In Surfwise, Doc Paskowitz said that whenever he would emerge from the water, he came out a warrior. That’s the same spirit I’m looking for with the people I shoot.
I grew up in California, but didn’t learn how to surf until I was living in New York City. As a beginner on the beaches of Jersey and Long Island, I’d average one or two waves a month. A friend told me that I could increase that to one or two waves a week, even a day, if I moved back to Los Angeles. So I packed my bags for LA with two goals: To surf everyday, and since I was fresh out of grad school with an MFA – to make art. That was in 2005. The surfing part was a no-brainer: Get up and paddle out. The art part was more elusive.”
Left to right: Muscles, Torrance Beach; Polka Dots, El Porto; Sugar, County Line; All Summer in A Day, PV Cove.
To learn more about Kathrine Nguyen and her work, visit her website here.