As always, this year’s Follow The Light awards proved hard to judge according to master of ceremonies Aaron Chang. Staged in the heart of the US Open at the Shorebreak hotel in Huntington beach, five hand picked, budding surf photographers presented their portfolios in front of surf industry icons and a panel of judges. With each picture more stunning than the next, it was a difficult task to select the “best” photographer from such varied styles and landscapes.
While the tallies were close across the board, Matt Kurvin ultimately won the People’s Choice award for, among other things, his remarkable photos of backwash pounded surf. When these images escaped the projector, Oooh’s and Aaah’s were given as if fireworks had gone off in the room. The Santa Cruz based Floridian was awarded a total of $1500 for his mind-tripping photography.
For the main prize the timid and shaggy haired Australian Duncan Macfarlane won over the panel with his eclectic mix of progressive surfing, unique perspectives, and varied use of lighting. He walked away with the $5k grant and the prestigious title as the Larry “Flame” Moore Foundation grant recipient for 2011. He plans on further developing his talents and possibly enrolling himself in a photo business course with the prize money.
Aaron Chang presented the difficult pick to the 2011 Follow the Light Finalists. From left to right: Quincy Dein, Matt Kurvin, Rick Lesser, Duncan Macfarlene, and Carlos Santana.
SWELLsurf has been a proud sponsor of the Follow the Light Foundation since it’s inception 6 years ago. The award ceremony was created under the wishes of the late and legendary surf photographer Larry “Flame” Moore to help push both the sport of surfing and the lensmen behind it.