This essay was photographed the first week of October, 2009 while attending David Alan Harvey's 'At Home' Workshop in Brooklyn. It was originally intended to simply be a photojournalistic essay about surfing at Rockaway Beach, Queens. I had photographed surfers in Indonesia, Hawaii and California but wasn't exactly sure what to expect in New York. According to my research, it was still surf season in the Rockaways, but with the surf shops closed for business much of the time I was shooting, my arriving on the subway most days shortly before dark, and the surf resembling the prairie flatlands I grew up in, finding a gaggle of surfers, or any surf action at all, proved challenging.
'Tidal' is defined in the dictionary as, 'of, relating to, or affected by tide'. I thought it was appropriate not for the pun, but more figuratively as a word that encapsulates the powerful surge of feeling which surfers have described when riding a wave. Gliding along the ocean's memory acts as a catalyst to experiencing a unity with nature, an esoteric relationship with the cosmos while the rest of the world disappears, and one enters another dimension. It's not difficult to understand then why surfing has been described more so as a religion by surfers than just a sport, and the restlessness, even depression in some cases, that they experience in the absence of waves.
Rockaway had originally appeared to me as a disillusioned, surfless town, but as the week went on, the reverential surfers revealed themselves, still beckoned to the sea...if only by mere ripples.
Special thanks to Ian Roberts of Holiday Maker (NY) who contributed the music for this slideshow: myspace.com/holidaymakermusic
I would like to thank also the surfers I photographed there, for without them, this essay would have been rather thin.
Kevin Blagys, Sean Bolebruch, Americo Cruz, Melissa Finch, Veronica Hendrick, Dara Lazar, Marcos Guiu Navarro, Salvador Pantoja, Ian Roberts, Scott Snelling and Douglas Wasserman