Ocean rich in photo magic

MOST people could not think of anything worse than bobbing around in the ocean off the West Coast with nothing but a camera in hand, but Elliston photographer Hayden Richards is not most people. 

Rich as he is affectionately known, is the creative mind and spirit behind SA Rips and has attracted the attention of more than 50,000 followers to his Instagram page sa_rips which documents his sometimes magical, sometimes frightening encounters with nature. 

After ‘dabbling’ in photography for four years Rich has attracted national recognition for his work.

About three weeks ago Rich won a photo competition through Stab Magazine and O’Niell USA and as part of that travelled to Hawaii to work with award winning surf photographer Brian Bielman

Rich has also had two images selected in this years Top 20 Nikon Surf Photo of the Year and has been invited to exhibit his work as part of the Byron Bay Surf Festival in two weeks.

He said to be invited to exhibit as part of the festival was a huge opportunity with only 12 artists from around world invited each year to showcase their work. 

“Roughly 200,000 people walk through the gates over the weekend, I really want to make an impression with my work so I’ve chosen nine of my favourites and framed them on stone,” Rich said. 

“It takes practice to get that one perfect shot, countless hours bobbing around the ocean and walking along the coastline looking and waiting for that magic, so having my work recognised and selected for national and international awards gives me the warm fuzzies and makes me happy.”

Rich said he took photos purely for the love of it and credited the landscape and coastline at Elliston for his works uniqueness. 

“Where the south oz desert meets the ocean, everything is big – the waves, the sharks, the expanses of burnt tundra are something spectacular.” 

“Be they of mean empties, pro surfers being pro surfers, a weird refraction of powerful back wash, all of it makes you go ‘aaaaah’.”