New York Ocean Folk

Isn’t it cool how social media is bringing us all together and bridges the gaps of the oceans to create a platform where you can be socially connected to someone on the other side of the world? Tyler from WAX / SURF CO. contacted me after following the blog and The Drifter’s insta about sharing what’s going on up in New York City in the world of Surfing. Seems like there’s a whole lot more going on in New York than Sex In The City…

I’d like to introduce all you Salty Sea Folk to three New Yorkers with one big thing in common, their love for the ocean.

Brigid Lally, is a young female surf photographer from Manhattan and Tyler Jorgenson & Michael Farley are the two creative minds behind WAX / SURF CO. a unique bespoke surfboard company specialising in creating innovative shapes with stunning finishes.

These three creative humans have been working together with Brigid helping to tell Wax / Surf Co.’s story to the surfing community through her photography.

“We really wanted people to see the emotion and the details of shaping. Shaping photos usually show the perfection or a finished shape, but they rarely tell the story of  how that was manifested or tooled.”

“The draw of Brigid’s photos really inspired us so I just cold emailed her and she was in the shop that following weekend. I think she was just as anxious to see a side of surfing that she had never photographed or seen before. Brigid’s engagement with the shaping and glassing process is intense. She really gets in there and her photos show that. She becomes part of the process through that engagement. She shot me shaping a customers board and then she came back the following weekend and shot Mike and I glassing it. The she came back again and agian and again. In between these shop shoots we were also doing morning dawn patrols together and other surf sessions. It was really great seeing ourselves though her photos and seeing our own progression in her work. We are really grateful for her help and her friendship.” says Tyler.

For a small business that has only been operating a year, the boys at Wax / Surf Co. have come a long way. Their surfboard designs and finishes are a product of their architectural background with ideas of letting the shape evolve from a dialog between them and what they think the board can be. This creates some pretty amazing shapes. I was totally intrigued about Wax / Surf Co. and immediately wanted to know their story about how these two Architecture students came to be shaping surfboards in Brooklyn. 

Hey Tyler and Mike, please, tell us how it all came to be,

We have been making boards as Wax / Surf co. for a little over a year now and are so in love with the process, the boards and the culture that we just can’t stop making, surfing and creating. Our home break is Rockaway beach 67 but we tend to skip around New York and Jersey going as far up as Montauk and as south as Charleston SC. 

We met in architecture school in Arizona and became great friends through our common interest and fine eye in craft, attention to detail and the discipline to attain our goals. Tyler is an architect and Mike is a fabricator. We spend just about every hour outside of our day jobs at our shop space working on boards and testing our ideas in the waves. Sometimes we are on the subway by 4 am before work so we can hit the waves by daybreak before we need to be at work by 9 am.

What was the inspiration for founding something so unique in the way of board shapes?

The notion of shaping something so complex with your hands is really inspiring to us. Yes there are a lot of makers and shapers mass producing but there are so many people who do this by hand as well. In most other industries this seems to be fading away but with surfboards it adds so much to the surfing experience to have a conversation with the person who made your board. 

Have you guys had to overcome any challenges over the life of Wax Surf Co.?

For us as a company the biggest challenge has been trying to overcome and go beyond what has become a super saturated market. Surfing is about creativity and an individual interpretation of the wave and how you engage that surface. Finding and experimenting with different shapes and forms has been the hardest thing we have ever tried to do. And once we get there, it is not enough to have a great shape, it must be executed with good craft in the glassing or people will think you are a joke.

What benefits could the average surfer expect to gain from riding a Wax Surf Co. shaped board?

We pride ourselves on making time for each and every customer. Each customer board started as a conversation, shop meeting or a customer’s ideas for what their board should be. We love to organize shop visits and pull the customer into our process so you can understand your board and how it surfs from its conception. We feel that a connection like that can help you take your surfing experience to a whole new level. 

I was so stoked to hear the boys had hooked up with a female surf photographer and even more stoked when I myself stumbled across Brigid’s work. Her photographs are raw and real and there’s a mood that speaks to me like long lost memories.

You wanna hear a little about Brigid Lally?

Hey Brigid, tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Brigid Lally.  I’m a 23 year old photographer currently living in Ventura, California.  I was born and raised in Manhattan.  I moved out west this summer to pursue photography.  I love the ocean and shooting film

What first sparked your interest in photography & surfing?

Growing up, my mom always had a camera around.  My siblings and I took turns using hers until we were given cameras of our own.  I really got into photography when I started working in the darkroom during high school.  I was shooting film primarily when I first started out and have been hooked ever since.  Despite my compliance to the digital age and its demands, I still gravitate towards the aesthetic and the process of film.  

As for surfing … My call to the water is undeniable. I can’t live without it. If I’m not within an hour of the ocean, I feel claustrophobic. There’s something therapeutic about diving into water. There’s a release in it … the respite of letting go and being so fully absorbed by something. Falling into rhythm with something bigger than yourself as you streamline below the surface or seize a wave towards the shore. To surf is to harness this energy.  

I couldn’t have put it into words as a kid, but now I understand what caught my imagination that day. How strange it was to see men do something beautiful, so pointless and elegant. Men and their boards carving along hills of glass for pleasure alone. The primary thrill of surfing was incontestable. The body rush brought on by flying down the line of a wave with the wind singing in your ears.

I didn’t know what endorphins were but quickly understood how narcotic the feeling was and how addictive it became. From day one, I was stoned from just watching. I had to get out there. Week by week, I literally found my feet, wobbling in across the shore break, smiling from ear to ear never wanting those few brief moments of living to end. Each time an echo of the initial thrill. Suspended in this moment, never having felt so good in all my life.

It has always been a feeling I’m never ready to give up. But each time the wave dies out and I’m left bobbing in the water, I remember where I am.  The beating in my chest, the flit of excitement in my stomach, I linger for a moment before paddling back out for another one.

As a photographer, I try to translate this feeling. Every time I see a kid pop to their feet, arms flailing, all milk teeth and shining skin, I’m there. I know her, and some spark of early assurance returns to me like the rush of oxygen when I come up for air.

Tell us Aussie Sea Folk what it’s like surfing up on the North East Coast of America?

Surfing the east coast was almost enigmatic to me growing up.  I knew people surfed winters back home but growing up in NYC it was something I only really witnessed and partook in summers during hurricane season or the occasional shore break session.  I used to travel to warmer places to surf.  Zero degree surf was almost unfathomable.  And furthermore, it wasn’t super publicized.  Not until the days of social media did I feel like my home breaks started to blow up in New York  and the greater North East.  The mystifying factor despite these changes somehow remained intact.  I have a great respect for these surfers.  They go out no matter what if there’s swell on the horizon they’re up at dawn.  The waves are something to behold.  It’s so cold the water temp is warmer than the air and you can see steam coming off the sea.  4am subway rides to the nearest break and 5 mil suits are the norm.  Experiencing these steadfast surfers this winter was humbling.  

There’s a real sense of nostalgia in your images, where do you draw inspiration from?

I draw inspiration from my upbringing, the people I surround myself with, the books I’ve read, the music I listen to, and the art I appreciate.

Tell us a bit about how you got in with the guys from Wax / Surf Co. and what drew you in?

I had always been fascinated by the shaping process and was excited to be given the opportunity to work side by side with an upcoming board company. At the time, Tyler and Mike were working full-time during the week and doing custom board jobs on the weekends.  I was also working during the week full-time so we started meeting on weekends to shoot whenever they had a project or a minute to surf.  The wax guys opened their doors to me.  The first day we decided to meet I got off the J train and started making my way up the street to the given address to find the boys shaping a blank in the street. Since then I have shot them glassing up boards as well as a few surf sessions.  It became more than business, I consider them friends now.

Do you have any advice for other girls and women who are interested in getting photography?

The industry is pretty male dominated, don’t let that discourage you.  If you are passionate about surf / photography / or anything in-between, you are just as qualified to follow your dreams.

Catch the crew at Wax / Surf Co. at:

Instagram: @waxsurfco

And check out Brigid’s work HERE     

Instagram: @saltairian

* All images by Brigid Lally

**This is a sponsored post

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