It’s an inspired way of life on California’s Central Coast and local surfer and photographer Colin Nearman takes full advantage. The scenic coastline drew him into photography, and it’s allowed him to become one of the best multi-disciplinary creatives we’ve got around here, and we couldn’t be more excited to consistently work with him. 

Chances are, if you’ve enjoyed any of our past photography, it was thanks to Colin. Adventuring up the coast, skateboarding, and chilling with friends, he’s got the eye and passion for shooting all things rad, exciting, and captivating. A California native who’s proud to call the Central Coast home, we had a chat with him to learn more about his influences, aspirations, and find out just how he’s able to point his lens in all the right directions.

How long have you been shooting photography for and how did you initially get into it?

I’ve been shooting photos professionally for about a decade now. As a grom I was always wandering up and down the coast looking for waves, and had a talented group of friends who surfed. I was witnessing so many special moments happen while I was in the water with them and it made sense for one of us to be documenting what we were doing. At the time the photos were really just keepsakes for our crew. I never really intended for it to turn into my career.

Who are some of your influences? Whether it’s in photography, surfing, or otherwise.

That’s tough. The list is endless for this one as far as artists go. A few are Thomas Campbell, Kellen Keene, Nate Tyler, and Dana Shaw. These are guys who haven’t let the industry dictate their craft or change their values, and have found success doing things their own way as artists. It’s hard to find that balance, and I really admire how they have gone about their careers and life in general.

What’s one photo that you think just about sums up your style? What’s the story behind it?

If I had to choose one relating to surf photography I’d say this shot I got last winter. A small, but perfect novelty wave that has been on my mind for years. When you shoot waves with less focal length you get to incorporate details around it that help tell more of a story in the photo and I’ve always been drawn to that style of shooting. This wave only breaks every few years, and even when it does it’s not certain that it will make for a good photo. I’ve waited almost a decade to capture it in its proper form, and I may wait another decade before I see it happen again. These types of shots aren’t always the “fan favorites,” but it’s what keeps me excited about what I do. It speaks a little to my style and my journey.

Has there ever been a time you “missed the shot” or almost had the one?

Most definitely. More than a few times, but that’s the name of the game. One incident happened recently. I was shooting in the water in Santa Cruz and watched Noah Wegrich do one of the biggest airs I’ve ever seen. I had just come up from a set that broke on me and couldn’t get into position and fire off the shutter in time for it. Those moments will leave you hungry for redemption though.

You’re a gifted surfer as well, how did you get into that? What are your favorite spots around home?

Appreciate the kind words. I ran with a pretty big group of friends when I was a young gun and we were all absolutely addicted to being in the water. We spent basically every waking moment that we weren’t in school at the beach. Three a day sessions no matter how bad the waves or wind were, or how far we had to walk. I’d give more credit to time spent doing it than my own natural ability haha. Favorite spots are anywhere it’s firing with friends.

Would you rather give up the lens or give up your board for the rest of your life?

Without hesitation, the lens.