Will Adler is a surfer/photographer from Santa Barbara, CA. His photographic images capture moments of time that stir memories of our collective ocean experience. We spoke with Will to learn more about what stokes his creativity.
What was your life like when you were a child?
Great, lots of daydreaming and running around.
When did you get your first surfboard?
It was my 10th birthday, I bought a beat up 6’0” Rusty board with some neon paint job. I don’t know what happened to that thing– first boards should be saved.
What was the feeling you had when you first stood up on a surfboard?
I remember how clear the water was– I could see the sand bottom moving beneath me, other than that pretty much the same thing I feel now– awesomeness.
Who did you look up to and admire when you were growing up?
There were a lot of people throughout the years. The Ghostbusters, my parents, a lot of the older guys who would surf at my home town spot, Hammonds. Tom Curren and Chris Brown are a couple local heroes.
Who/what inspires you?
Friends, coffee, music, books, the internet, my Uncle, my girlfriend, Morgan Maassen, fog, working, nudity, the outdoors, the ocean, Albert Jenks, my brother, weirdness, laughter, travel, car rides, cameras, people who make things, animals…
What do you look for when creating a photograph?
I am always looking around for anything to shoot. What usually catches my attention is a particular mood or feeling. I get excited when I see anything humorous or a bit odd; I love images that kind of make you stop and think. Anything with a lot of empty space– keep it simple is my recurring theme. When it comes to surfing, it’s all about style.
What is the greatest thing you have learned in your life?
To keep learning. Live life. Say yes. Travel anytime you get the chance. Always ask for help when you need it, and give help when you can. Love. Goof off.
What are you most proud of?
Following what I love.
Of all the places you have traveled to, what place in particular stands out and why?
I have been very lucky when it comes to traveling. I’ve had the chance to see a lot of the world and every place has something to offer. But if I had to pick a place to shoot photos, it would be the desert. I love the space and mystery out there. Baja is a great example.
What meaning does surfing hold for you and how has it changed your life?
It has shaped the second half of my life, through friends, travels and I guess just my general outlook on things.
What brings you the most happiness in the world?
Family and friends always, music, creating things, picking up film from the photo lab, being outside.
Who are some of the people you feel are shaping the path for surfing today?
People covered in foam dust… Seriously though, there are so many people pushing it in so many different directions, I can’t wait to see where people take it throughout my lifetime. Mother Nature. Laird.
What is your current favorite board? Your favorite surfspot?
I don’t have a favorite board right now, but my 10’ Stu McRobbie board gets ridden the most this time of year. The best board I’ve ridden lately is this really bizarre looking thing that Ryan Lovelace shaped, it’s like 7’8″ and has a real wide tail– the thing flies with no effort whatsoever. My favorite spot will always be Hammonds, for the fun waves and good crew.
What’s your favorite meal?
Whatever is in front of me, and a couple beers.
What are you currently listening to on your iPod?
To day it’s been: The Standells, Ween, J.J Cale, Yo La Tengo, Iron Horse and tortoise. That looks way weirder in writing than it sounded.
What are you most grateful for?
Good friends and family and all the great opportunities life has given me.
What’s next for Will Adler?
Lunch, then maybe moving to New York for a few months.
To learn more about Will Adler and to see more of his amazing work, click here.