Andy Bowlin Interview

Interview by Glenn Sakamoto

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Andy Bowlin is a talented surfer/photographer from Central California. Shooting since he was in high school, Andy's images are bold and rich in color. We spoke with him to learn more.

What was your childhood like?
My childhood was great. I grew up in a tiny community in Central California called Garden Farms. It's just inland of the beach where I live now. I spent my time walking the creek catching fish and skateboarding with my friends. When the rains came and made the creek flow we would put on our wetsuits and boogie board from one end of town to the other through the "rapids.” Those were the good old days...

When did you get your first surfboard?
For my 15th birthday, my dad bought me my first surfboard. It was a shortboard shaped by Cole Surfboards.

What was the feeling you had when you first stood on a surfboard?
Like most people I spent a lot of time in the whitewash riding straight in. But I can still remember to this day the first time I finally rode the face of the wave. It was at the Pit in Morro Bay, CA. My uncle let me use his old single fin longboard. I remember feeling like I was going really fast and I could hear the leash dragging behind me making a loud noise. I was hooked after that. Finding rides out to the beach and back became my life.

Who did you look up to and admire when you were a child?
In life, I looked up to my parents. My mom could find anything I was looking for and my dad could fix anything I needed. In surfing, I always admired Kelly Slater, Shane Dorian, Ross Williams, and Rob Machado.

Who/What inspired you to begin shooting images?
I would say my mom and my grandpa. My grandpa was an amazing artist and I always loved his oil paintings of ships at sea. My mom always had cameras around the house and I liked using them to take pictures of me and my friends skateboarding. An old Olympus and then Canon Rebel. Since I lack any drawing or painting skills, I love being able to create my scenes with a camera.

What do you look for in a good photograph?
I love a photo that is well composed and exposed. Every photo tells a story, some better than others.



Of all the places you have traveled to, what place in particular stands out? And why?
I would have to say the Caribbean. I love the clear warm water. The surfing is good, the people are good, and the fishing is good. Its what I imagine Heaven to be like.

Who/what inspires you?
A few photographers that inspire me today are Chris Burkard, Nate Smith, and Ray Collins. The images they create stop me in my tracks. I feel that's what a good image should do – make you feel excited and forget where you are for a second. I am inspired by photos that are technically hard to get or make me wish I was there. These three guys nail it every time.

What is the greatest thing you have learned in your life?
That nothing comes easy. If you really want to do something, putting your mind to it all – things can be accomplished.  

What are you most proud of?
About a year ago opened an art gallery in Cayucos, CA called the Green Room Gallery. I am pretty proud that I can live in the small beach town I love and be walking distance from my own gallery. I am also proud that it allows me the opportunity to support other local artists, Check it out at

What brings you the most happiness in the world?
I love shooting images that make me smile. When all the conditions lineup, it’s an incredible feeling.

What is your favorite board?
It's hard to narrow it down to just one. I either ride my 5'9 super wide twin fin. Or my 6'9 single fin egg. Just depends on the waves. Most of the time I'm on my twin fin, unless I go somewhere the waves are really lined up, then I'm on the egg.

What's your favorite meal?
I love cream of broccoli soup with some sourdough bread on a cold day.

What are you currently listening to on your iPod?
I listen to all kinds of music really. But here are a few of my favorites; Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, Beastie Boys, Gregory Isaacs, Bob Marley, Freddie McGregor, Dennis Brown, John Holt, Alton Ellis, Cocoa Tea and Barrington Levy. I have a thing for reggae music....

What are you most grateful for?
My health.

What’s next for Andy Bowlin?
Just keep on keepin’ on. And I’m still searching to nail "The Shot"...

To learn more about Andy Bowlin and his photography, click here.