Robbie Crawford’s Award Winning Surf Photography [Interview + 46 High Quality Photos]

Ready to meet a seemingly average person doing something extraordinary? Robbie Crawford of Huntington Beach, California beat out over 1.5 million people to win GoPro’s Facebook photo submission contest with the block of four photos above! GoPro gave Robbie a $2500 cash sponsorship to continue on doing what he loves to so  Robbie used his winnings to travel to Hawaii. Below you’ll see the awesome video result of Robbie’s trip to Hawaii and a few more incredible pictures shot using the GoPro. We also interviewed Robbie about everything from his shooting strategy to his favorite places to each in Southern California.

Q: Give us five insider tips to shooting incredible photos with the GoPro.

It’s pretty much the same as any type of water photography…

  1. Lighting… to me lighting is what’s most important. You get a sunset or sunrise with some high clouds illuminating the sky with vibrant colors and the shot’s going to be beautiful.
  2. Wave quality… the more hallow the better… then throw in some backwash or mutation and it’s going to make for an interesting shot.
  3. Water quality… the cleaner and clearer the better… brown water just isn’t that interesting unless you have a subject doing something spectacular… so if the water’s ugly make sure you’re shooting someone who rips.
  4. No water spots… the secret is to lick it and dip it… and make sure there’s no sand on the port… any sand is a guaranteed water spot because water spots aren’t spots… they’re actually caused by the sheet of water on the surface of the port separating… saliva helps to keep that in tact… and sand is the worst.
  5. Learn basic photo editing skills in lightroom or photoshop… pretty much every photo you see in a magazine has been touched up. The key is not to overdo it… a lot of people want to push the colors so much that it doesn’t even look real anymore. The goal is to get the shot to look as close to what it actually looked like with your eye as possible.

Q: In your opinion who is the most exciting surfer on Earth?

I’ve heard a lot of people say that in order to win a world title you have to surf at 70%… to me that isn’t that exciting which is probably why the world champions have never been the most exciting surfer to me. The most exciting surfer to me is the one who’s surfing at 100% even if that means they fall on 4 out of 5 waves… today I would say the person that’s isn’t willing to give up that 30% in order to please the judges is Dane Reynolds… so he tends to be the most exciting.

Q: Explain your GoPro camera set up? Helmet? Attached to a board? Handheld?

I have mine attached to around a two to three foot pole that Stickgrips made me.  I really like it because it extends my reach… it allows me a variety of angles and also I can keep the camera in the barrel that extra tenth of a second which is a whole extra shot. I also have the double housing with two cameras… I have one set for video and one for photos so I can video and shoot photos at the same time. That’s really fun…

Q: What developments would you like to see from the next generation of GoPro camera’s?

As of right now the quality is insane. Any improvement there would be icing on the cake… so I guess where they could take it to the next level would be first of all in the housing. It would be really cool if they could make a pistol grip housing with a trigger. Which would bring me to the next thing and that would be continues shooting as long as you hold the button. This would only really be effective if you had a pistol grip housing with a trigger though. Otherwise it would be cool to be able to adjust how many continuous shots the camera would take. As of now there’s 10 shot burst which shoots 10 shots in 1 second which is awesome. Bit it would be really cool if you could set it to shoot 20 shots in 2 seconds… or 30 in 3 seconds…

Q: What would your ultimate three day photoshoot adventure consist of if money was no option?

Probably Tahiti with some friends and my wife… I’ve never been there yet and it pretty much has everything I mentioned as far as making a great shot… epic lighting… beautiful scenery… wide open barrels… and pristine water quality… throw in a couple of my friends getting shacked and that would be magic… not to mention some beers on the beach after with my wife and friends… oh… I’d want to bring my Mom to… because she’s never been anywhere tropical so that would be cool = )

Q: Where did you grow up and where do you live now?

I was born in Long Beach California… and I now reside in Huntington Beach California

Q: Who inspires your photography work?

So many people… probably impossible to list them all… but here’s some… Clark Little, Ron Romanosky, Brian Bielman, Scotty Carter, Zak Noyle, Daniel Russo, Scott Aichner, Russ Hoover, Ray Collins, Todd Glaser, Mike Coots, Vince Cavataio, Joseph Libby, Don King, Matt Kurvin, Matt Clark, Tim Jones, and on and on and on… haha… pretty much everyone who can find the beauty and capture it…

Q: What is your day job?

I work in multimedia… graphic art, web design and development, motion graphics, etc…

Q: How did you get started using the GoPro to shoot surf photography?

I actually got into it because I had started board surfing Wedge and Russ Hoover encouraged me to get one and put it on the front of my board to shoot video. Then I started shooting photos with it and that was it… I was addicted = )

Q: What is your favorite place to eat in Southern California?

Probably Kappo Honda… it’s a really fun and classy Japanese restaurant in Fountain Valley… amazing food and good service… great place to try something you’ve never eaten before and have a few beers and party it up a lil as well = )

View over 200 additional incredible GoPro surf photos here