Surf Stories: Megan Youngblood, Surf Photographer
If you've been following along on Instagram, you may have caught some of our favorite surfers & friends sharing their beautiful surf stories!
Today's feature is one of our surf sisters and surf photographer extraordinaire, Megan Youngblood (IG: @meganatsea). Whether you've seen Megan treading water to get the shot in SoCal, or catching waves and cross stepping, she is not only super easy to work with (she's shot a good lot of our swimwear with us since the beginning!) but a total sweetheart and killer surfer as well. Read on to learn more about Megan.
Where are you from?
How/when did you start surfing?
I went on a backpacking trip in 2015 and really wanted to learn to surf along the way. I grew up snowboarding and swimming, so I thought I'd take to it naturally (ha!). It wasn't as easy as I thought it'd be and I was actually quite scared of very small waves, so I mostly sat on the beach and drank mojitos, eyeing the skilled surfers with envy as they enjoyed Lima's lineups or let the salt water wash away their resacas in Montañita. When I moved to LA, I made it my mission to learn. It took a lot of time sitting in the ocean, watching other surfers catch waves while I either wiped out or missed waves or both, but I can’t imagine my life without it now.
Megan walking the plank at San Onofre shot by Julie Vittetoe (@romanticalme)
How/when did you start photography?
I got a film camera when I was a kid and started taking tons of horrible pictures of everything. In high school, I took a photography class and my photos got marginally better. I would make all her friends wear prom dresses under overpasses or sneak into abandoned pools and haunted houses with my skateboarding boyfriend for “projects” which were as much an excuse to get into mischief as they were about art. I drifted away from photography throughout college for a number of reasons, but a couple years ago, I bought a water housing on a whim, and have completely fallen back in love with it. Now, most mornings I have to decide whether to take pictures or surf (which can, on certain days, genuinely be a choice I agonize over), and if that's not the good life, I don't know what is.
Megan getting out of the water after a Do Good shoot in Huntington Beach, CA wearing our Sunset Top and Island Time bottoms
What inspires me?
Coffee with coconut milk, the ocean, travel, podcasts about science and technology, novels, adventure, nature, strong female leads, complicated female leads, women generally.
Any fun surf stories:
One weekend my boyfriend and I paddled out at a surf break known for being a great white shark nursery. Because of its reputation (and its relative difficulty to get to), it’s always pretty empty by California standards and on this particular day, we had the wave all to ourselves. An outside set came through, and since no one was out, I paddled for the shoulder. As the wave stood up, eight bottlenose dolphins took off down the face, jumping out of the water, riding the wave. I changed course to avoid being taken out by nature’s surfers. Always paddle for the whitewater. ;)
Any tips for young surfers/aspiring photographers?
Learning to surf really taught me the value of having a growth mindset. When I first tried surfing, getting pushed into waves, feeling afraid of tiny two footers, not being able to time anything on my own, going through the wash cycle over and over, I kind of believed I just wasn’t “good” at it. I’d watch people who had been surfing their entire lives and wonder why I wasn’t able to catch waves like they could. It sounds silly, but this is when it clicked—of course I can’t surf like them, they’ve been doing it their entire lives! Talent and natural skill exist, but they don’t matter nearly as much as practice, grit, and determination. If you’re learning how to surf, trying to get better at surfing, or interested in pursuing photography, that’s my best advice. Also, if you want to learn more about growth mindsets, look up Carol Dweck!
Thank you, Megan, for sharing your insight and a part of yourself with us today! We love you! For more on Megan and her work, check out some of her work below and her Instagram @meganatsea. Happy Friday, everyone!
Danielle Black Lyons (IG: @salty.sol) of @texturedwaves shot by Megan (wearing Do Good Swimwear Tia One Piece in Golden Sun)
Monica Medellin (@monicamedellin_) of @thegnargnarhoneys shot by Megan for Dia de Los Muertos
Surfers in Sri Lanka, by Megan