With Surf Tribe, photographer Stephan Vanfleteren shows that there is far more to surf culture than just sport and competition. Surfing is also about a deep admiration and respect for the ocean, as well as the feeling of insignificance when confronted with the forces of nature. Surfers use the waves for fun, but also to forget and to battle, both with others and with themselves.
Vanfleteren looks beyond the traditional borders of the United States and Australia and searches the globe for people who live in places where sea and land meet. He documents a fluid community, with nature as its sole leader. He has sought out young talent, living icons, and old legends, both competitive and free surfers.
The photographs here are serene black and white portraits in Vanfleteren's well-known, haunting style; as always, he reaches below the surface and goes to the core of his subjects. Included, amongst many others, are Kelly Slater, Gerry Lopez, John Florence, Mickey Munoz, Filipe Toledo and Stephanie Gilmore.
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