The urge to ride a wave, the search for the next perfect swell, is an enduring preoccupation that draws people to coastlines around the world. In recent decades, surfing has grown into a multimillion-dollar industry with over three million surfers in the United States alone and an international competitive circuit that draws top surfers to legendary beaches in Hawaii, California, and Australia. But away from the crowds and the hype, dedicated surfers catch waves in places like the Texas Gulf Coast for the pure pleasure of being in harmony with life, their sport, and the ocean. Kenny Braun knows that primal pleasure, as both a longtime Texas surfer and a fine art photographer who has devoted years to capturing the surf culture on Texas beaches. In Surf Texas, he presents an eloquent photo essay that portrays the enduring fascination of surfing, as well as the singular and sometimes unexpected beauty of the coast.
Texas is one of the top six surfing states in America, and Braun uses evocative black-and-white photography to reveal the essence of the surfers’ world from Galveston to South Padre. His images catch the drama of shooting the waves, those moments of skill and daring as riders rip across the breaking face, as well as the downtime of bobbing on swells like seabirds and hanging out on the beach with friends. Braun also photographs the place—beaches and dunes, skies and storms, surf shops, motels, and parking lots—with a native’s knowing eye for defining details. Elegant and timeless, this vision of the Texas Coast is redolent of sea breezes and salt air and the memories and dreams they evoke. Surfer or not, everyone who feels the primeval attraction of wind and waves will enjoy Surf Texas.
By Kenny Braun
Braun is best known for his environmental portraiture, landscape, and editorial photography. His work has appeared in Texas Monthly, Texas Highways, Southern Living, Wired, Spirit, and Women’s Health, as well as The Salt Lick Cookbook.