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The magic of the perfect surf photo – in pictures | Art and design

The three critical elements to surf photography are good light, good surfers and good waves. Most of us photographers get up early to take advantage of all three. Because the ocean is a fickle environment, our window to capture these moments may only come once a month. We study wind and wave charts like meteorologists. We factor in family and jobs, dropping responsibilities more than we should when conditions are right.

When all the elements align, when you’ve made it out there, swum in a turbulent ocean for hours and got home to see an incredible photo, your stoke is off the charts.

The surfers are often strangers who become friends, names and numbers exchanged, meetups discussed and planned shoots coordinated. The photos below, by several photographers, were selected for such a meetup – an evening in southern California last November with several surf photographers to share work of the past year