SWELL Snapshot | Shawn Parkin San Clemente Local Lensman Shares His Style In SWELL's November Catalog
December 2, 2013

SWELL caught up with surf photographer Shawn Parkin to get perspective on his  South Orange County surf imagery featured in SWELL’s November catalog. Shawn skated from his San Clemente pad and met us at Bull Taco to grind some $1 Tacos and $2 Tecates. Here’s what we gathered from the bearded lensman.
(Surf Imagery Prints Avail at ShawnParkin.com, Free Catalogs Subscription)

SWELL: First Parkin shot ever published

Parkin: I think my first shots published both online and in print were from the infamous Fire Swell in October of 2007.  A small shot in Transworld Surf (less than 1/4 page), and a few shots on Surfline.  I was pumped.  Still didn’t fully understand how to use my equipment, but I managed to get a few good frames.  At that point, I still hadn’t decided that I was going full-on into photography as a profession.  I was a graphic designer who liked to shoot photos.  So in one sense, I kind of blew it that day by not shooting more.  It was a serious combo swell with stiff Santa Anas (offshore wind).  The conditions were all time, and I, like every other surfer, was freaking out over how good it was.  I was frothing to get barreled, so I only spent maybe 45 minutes shooting before paddling out.

SWELL: Flat-spell survival activity?

Parkin:  I ride all sorts of wave craft, so even when it’s real small, I will still try to surf.  Either longboard, bodysurf, or Paipo.  But if it’s truly flat and I’m trying to get outside, I’ll go trail ride on my mountain bike.

SWELL: Favorite post session SC grinds?

Parkin: I’ll go Pipes Cafe for a breakfast burrito, or Captain Mauri’s.  If it’s closer to lunch, I’ll grab a sandwich from Billy’s.  Billy’s has every type of sandwich option you could want, and I love to load em up.  And they have like 12 different types of mustard!

SWELL: Cant go camping without_________?

Parkin: Cold beer, and a good companion/photo subject.  A head lamp, pocket knife, and playing cards.  Oh, and after seeing this tutorial last week, I think this beer can stove will be part of my essentials from now on:

 SWELL: Dream surf trip?

Parkin: Wow, that’s a tough one.  I’m kind of split between two totally different trips.  1 is remote Canada with the Long Brothers.  Just getting out there in the wilderness…cold water, big mountain backdrops, trees, bears, eagles, rugged coast lines and serious surf.  The other would be New Zealand with Tyler Warren, Ryan Burch, and Ellis Ericson.  Those guys are all making their own boards and experimenting with different shapes, and they have amazing style in the water.  I love that creative and open minded approach of riding all sorts of equipment for different conditions.  New Zealand has all types of waves on offer, and the scenery is gorgeous.  Going there with those guys would be an all time trip.

Now that I’ve written all that out, I see the commonality…colder temps and rugged and varied landscapes.  I find myself gravitating towards that, rather than warm water tropical locales.

Shawn’s Styles -from the November Catalog

1. Classic Cords: Billabong’s Fifty Corduroy Pants


2. For Dawn Patrol: O’neill Mexicali Jacket


3. Buttoned Up: Vans Hoover Shirt


4. Everyday Tee: Rip Curl Getting Away Tee


5. Winter Outerwear: All Things Pataognia