All Photos © Ryan Field
Ryan Field is part of a team working on the documentary film project “Hydrodynamica”. The film explores alternative surfboard design and functionality that originated in San Diego in the 1940s with the enigmatic surfboard shaper Bob Simmons. “He thought about surfboards and their interactions with the wave in an entirely new way,” says Field. Simmons’ ideas have influenced generations of surfboard shapers who prefer alternatives to the common three-finned thruster we’re all used to seeing.
Field has photographed the boards and the people who make and ride them. To draw out the shapes and nuances of the boards, he used lighting techniques based on the lighting that the shapers use to create the boards. “I have a great deal of respect for the knowledge and craftsmanship they have to design and build something so beautiful and functional to harness nature’s energy, all for the feeling you get gliding down the face of a wave,” Field says.
Above: An old bodysurfing board, thought to come from the Atlantic coast in the early 1900′s, photographed in San Diego, California, June 11, 2010. The board is made of wood and wrapped in canvas that has been painted. It’s thought that boards like this were rented on the beach for people to ride in the surf. Some of the board’s design elements seem functional and show up many years later in more modern designs. (more…)