Welcome back to Hang 10 with Birdie, where we catch up with friends Birdwell has made along the way, in and out of the water. This edition we get a glimpse behind the lens of one of our favorite action and surf photographers, Sarah Lee. Born and raised on the big island of Hawaii, Sarah bought her first camera at the age of 15 and found her unique style shooting in—and under—the water. Even as commercial and editorial clients from Pelican to H&M to National Geographic clamor for her work, Sarah’s irrepressible stoke pushes her to discover new adventures and create even more beautiful (and sometimes even dangerous) images. Last month, she hit a particularly sweet milestone as the first female photographer to grace the cover of The Surfer’s Journal. Her subject? None other than our friend Arthur “Toots” Achinges! We can’t wait to see her next cover.
1) If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
At a remote spot anywhere tropical with a few of my favorite friends, sharing perfectly peeling 3-5ft a-frames in crystal clear 80º water into the sunset.
2) What’s your favorite word, or one you use all the time?
3) What’s in your car trunk right now?
Psychedelic chindi rugs, a 7ft single fin, paipo, two pairs of daFins, 2 wetsuits, rain poncho, an air-tight jar of fresh ground Kona coffee from my family’s farm, french press, and a small camp stove.
4) Dawn patrol or sunset session?
Dawn patrol to surf, sunset session to shoot from the water.
5) Longboard or short board?
6) Favorite wave?
Any perfect right point-break that makes my legs burn.
7) Coolest animal you’ve bumped into out in the water?
A pod of 50 spinner dolphin, playing fetch with leaves on the Big Island.
8) Last product you recommended?
MANDA sun paste, especially for lip and scar protection in the sun.
9) SurfNyl or SurfStretch?
SurStretch is rad, but guys look way hotter in SurfNyl. ;)
10) Best memory in Birdwells?
Howabout WITH Birdwell? Tanker surfing mission with Tierney and Skvarna in Texas … got to shoot a few waves then just as I loaded up my camera in it’s water housing to shoot from the water, we got stuck in a nuts white-out rainstorm for over an hour and the little boat we were on had to draft off a massive tanker to get back to shore. Kev and I were sitting on the bow, getting drenched and laughing deliriously as we were getting soaked from warm rain and backwash, on top of pelican cases, lightning flashing all around us, and everyone else was miserably huddling under the tiny shelter on the boat trying to stay dry.
Find Sarah on Instagram HERE.