As part of the celebration of Russian surfing here on Bali, this year’s Surf Jam Festival at Balian featured a photography contest. The results were extraordinary. A window into a surfing place that is a galaxy away from the Indonesian experience. A window into the power of the passion of surfers regardless of their environment. Surfing in Russia. Sub-zero weather, snow, ice, mystery.
These winning images from the biggest, most secretive country on earth are worthy of meditation for their form and honesty. But mostly for their raw beauty. A reflection from a place that would be last on any surfers mind. Unless of course you live there. Surfers find a way. Surfers survive. Surfers surf no matter what. And here is the proof. Here, in their own words, are the winning Russian photographers reflections on these penetrating images from the frozen north.
Grand Prize: Photographer: Anna Shalashova
“March, 16th. 2016. That was a very windy day with strong precipitation. Wind speed was about 50 km. Coming snow squalls reduced visibility to zero. Sand with snow and water splashes flew straight into the lens. It was demolishing. Riders couldn’t stay in water for a long, because of a strong current, that could take them down. Surfing in the sea wasn’t possible that day. But we tried. I’ve never seen a storm like this in the Barents Sea before.
Runner Up: Photographer Kirill Umrikhin
“What I can say- it’s water was 6 degrees Celsius. Cold enough to break your bones”
Third Place: Photographer: Olga Sinenko
“21.03.2016, Girl and twilight.
That shooting was supposed to be nothing special. I did something similar before millions of times. Girls and boards, beautiful sunset, sparkles…But this girl was different. Very real. She felt it. Not just a model. We stayed untill dark, moment and emotion were captured”.
Fourth Place: Photographer Anna Gavrilova
“09.05.2016, 12:49. Kamchatka, a place where there is no definite surf season. Surfing on the Kamchatka Peninsula can be at any time of the year. Waves have always been there. Pure, pure, pure water of the Pacific Ocean, the beautiful scenery, lack of dangerous animals in the water. But careful of big bears on land. The main thing is to choose the right outfit for this water temperature. At that time, a very good day. Sun so bright. Everything so wild and clean. High-quality waves come. And on sunny day like this allow to receive an indescribable pleasure of surfing. Rider is Anton Morozov.
Fifth Place: Photographer: Anna Shalashova
March, 1. The photo was taken at sunrise. Just before the sun came up to turn the snow pink. The sun does nothing to warm anything here. Rider is wearing a hat, because it’s very cold. Beyond cold. The waves were perfect that morning, he said. This is on the Barents sea, a secret spot near the Teriberka village. I was not allowed to do shootings of the surf.