Today’s demanding digital environment means that ESM’s photo focus usually remains firmly on the present. Racing to cover the Right Now (while occasionally stopping to flash back to the golden past), however, we often lose sight of how we got here. The mind-blowing technological advances that have made high-level digital photography accessible to millions. The shaping evolutions that have given surfers a plethora of choices both user friendly and amenable to high performance. 

Most of all, in our rush to churn out jaw-dropping swell galleries and #liveaction social media posts, we forget that, as recently as a few years ago, it took time to make good photos — and time to select good photos.

That’s what this inaugural edition of East Side Stories aims for: not today, and not the glorious good ol’ days, but the time in between. That wild, wonderful stretch from the mid 2000s to the mid 2010s when new maneuvers were stomped, new frontiers were explored, new technologies went from experimental to mainstream, and the first generation of Instagram-raised, Snapchat-reliant hotshots came up under the watchful tutelage of the last generation to achieve this crazy surfing dream the old-fashioned way.

Not quite new and not quite old, we present to you East Side Stories, Vol. 1 — the ESM Photo Library by Tom Dugan and Dick “Mez” Meseroll. -Nick McGregor