All Photos © Yassine Ouhilal
Yassine Ouhilal is a photographer, filmmaker and explorer from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He is a regular contributor to The Surfer’s Journal and Surfer Magazine as well as other surf publications from around the world. He prefers shooting in difficult to reach and uncharted destinations over the typical go-to tropical hotspots of the surfing world. He uses his knowledge of marine charts, geological maps, satellite imagery, weather forecasting and a love for time on the road in order to be at the right place at the right time in some very inhospitable places.
These forays have taken him to places like Norway’s Arctic circle, Morocco’s coastal Sahara desert, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Russia in search of seldom seen vistas of perfect waves amidst dramatic backdrops.
Ouhilal explains, ” I approach my surf photography work as a long-term project, which starts with researching a particular location of interest, looking at weather patterns, logistical details. Sometimes, years will go by until one of these locations becomes suitable for shooting with the right swell and weather patterns. Other times, I’ve gone back numerous times in order to get ‘The shot’ I see in my mind.” Ouhilal’s extra effort has produced unique images that have set themselves apart from more typical destinations. “I really try to give a sense of place in my photography by juxtaposing backdrops with the surfing element, be it a surfer or an empty wave. Many factors have to come into play for that to happen, like the right weather conditions, and when they all come together, it creates a very special and moment.”
Above image: “Nick Jiampa in the Faroe Islands, a tiny archipelago between Iceland and Scotland. This was the first time waves had been ridden on these storm-battered isles. On Nick’s first session on the island, nearly an entire village came out to watch as I was shooting from a boat. After he successfully rode his first wave, the Captain’s cell phone rang. It was from one of the villagers. He said something in Faroese: ‘He’s still alive’.” All captions by Yassine Ouhilal.
“Romain Laulhe about to get tubed high in Norway’s Arctic Circle.”
“3x World Champion Tom Curren hiked for 6 miles with his board and wetsuit perfectly balanced on top of his head to a remote beach in the Arctic where he surfed all by himself.”
“Big Wave surfer and photographer Derek Dunfee.”
“Cheyne Cottrell in the Arctic.”
“Matthew Whitehead is currently in Mexico in the process of riding his bicycle from Eastern Canada to Tierra del Fuego with surfboard in tow. He is an amazing person and his modus operanti is one many would benefit from living by.”
“Christian Wach taking surf exploration to its limits in Norway’s remote North.”
“Christian Wach is one of the best longboarders in the world. He dances on his board and does things that seem impossible like this hanging heel.”
“Patrick Millin surfing at 1am under the midnight sun in Norway’s Arctic Circle.”
“Christian Wach taking noseriding to the logical extreme: hanging paws.”
“Artist/Surfer Tyler Warren drawing deep lines on a Moroccan canvas.”