Ryan Mack’s 20 Favorite Photos From 2020

December 31, 2020 • Photos, Swell Gallery

All photos and captions by Ryan Mack & Presented by our Friends Of The Porpoise WRV https://www.waveridingvehicles.com

New Jersey’s Ryan Mack has risen so far and so fast in both image making and establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with, it’s hard to calculate just how high and far he will go in the surf photo biz and beyond. Truly gifted and, most impressively, uber diverse in both what subject matter captures his eye and what equipment he is proficient with ( just bout everything land, sea and air both still shots or video ) to help bring his vision to it’s final capture. Our only regret is we only allotted him 20 of his favorite images of 2020 instead of the other number. Please follow him on Instagram at @ryanmackphoto, you will not regret it. – Mez –

Tosh Tudor, Joel Tudor’s son,  from California. It was pumping and he was in shock. I don’t think he knew how fun it could get here even if it was 24 degrees outside.

This was during the times of unrest in American 2020, one of the first nights of large protesting in NYC. Police officers marching down the road driving the protesters back on the streets of Lower Manhattan.

This was a rare, Jersey Shore double rainbow that was really nice to see after crazy weeks of being inside alone in my home and all the jarring racial and political unrest dividing our country this year. This shot really helped bring up the good vibes levels for me.

Rob Kelly’s 2020 Super Bowl Sunday barrel.  It was a weird day of waves at this Central Jersey go to spot but we went down the beach from the normal zone and found some wide one. The watercolor and lighting was wild looking this day and a standout factor in why I selected this frame.

 

This was a few weeks ago in December in Oregon. Ben Gravy took me with him out there to tackle his goal of surfing his first big wave. He nailed it and got a decent 20 f00ter with Will Skudin driving the ski and prepping him for this moment. This was right in front of the spot and the light was and atmospherics were insane. I shot and developed this myself on my Mamiya 645 SLR 120 film camera. It’s pretty far from an iPhone  but you can’t duplicate this look nor the challenge to get this look the old school way.

I took this drone shot on another trip with Ben during the strictest months of the Covid lockdown. You couldn’t travel by plane or go overseas so we decided to check out America in his van on an epic road trip. We drove 36 hours to surf this head high river wave in Montana which is the biggest wave in the US that’s not in an ocean or lake.

This was shot a few weeks ago in mid-December during our first real winter storm here in the Northeast. We got about a foot of snow in some areas and pumping waves. It actually snowed heavily way into the morning creating white-out conditions at moments and setting up some beautiful wavescapes like this to photograph along the Jersey Shore.

Tommy Ihnken in October, no wetsuit needed. They just opened the American Dream mall here in New Jersey out by the Meadowlands and Giants Stadium and it has its own wave pool inside. The air section is pretty mental and I wanted to light the wave up with some strobes for a shoot and this was the final result.

During the heat of the pandemic, the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds did a fly over the Jersey Shore to salute all the first-line workers. They flew low and fast and had people stopping in their tracks to look up and cheer both the gesture in the air and all the people on the ground putting their lives on the line in the ultimate sacrifice to help others.

This was the end of January before everything went batshit crazy in the world. During the moon cycle waxing gibbous it raised above the surf and was able to get a wave breaking and the moon, was pretty stoked on this one.

During mid-summer 2020, when everything started to slow a bit down, me friend Ava and I went to go shoot some mellow photos of her surfing and just take it easy. Having time to relax the mind and going in with no real preconceived plan leads to more creativity at moments like this.

During the midst of of the pandemic and it’s tight restrictions, I was doing a lot of drone flying to keep me busy. This is actually right in front of my house looking north towards Manasquan.

I snapped this huge boost during the 2020 hurricane season at our local beach break after bolting home from New York cause it sucked. ‘Squan local Pat Schmidt decided to hit these crazy inside death air sections and blasted this one.

Another from the times of unrest here in America, this was shot in Asbury Park, NJ. I’ve actually never seen so many people in one place in this area before and it was an unprecedented in the Shore’s history in my lifetime so far for sure.

This is just after dark in Point Pleasant Beach during the pandemic on Memorial Day weekend which is the unofficial start of the Jersey Shore’s summer. It was absolutely dead still and graveyard quiet. Normally the place is packed shoulder to shoulder with all the sights, smells and sounds ringing out and unique to the Shores boardwalks from Longbranch to Cape May. Hopefully we’ll never see it like this again in our lifetime.

This was one of the first times I left my house in April early in the pandemic and we all didn’t really fully know what was going on with the world and our collective fates. But, with a solid swell forecast on offer, the first of the lockdown sessions saw only a couple of core surfers daring to go out. It was an early sign of hope in such dark times that told us to hang tough and hold fast.

During the summer Ben Gravy got invited out to Palm Springs to surf the new wave pool out there. I tagged along and filmed the trip and was able to get some tight little water shots in the Caribbean tinted waters of the pool before the day was over.

Andrew Gesler, late February freezing rain and decent south swell here in Jersey. Everyone was surfing this sandbar and it’s reeling rights but it was really shallow and draining. Gesler ended up wiping out and that said was his board was out of control underwater and hit him in the nose. We helped him out of the water and to the car but he took it in stride guy was playing around with it letting me grab a few shots when he probably should have been half way to the Emergency Room at a hospital. After that he’s a legend.

This was back in February when Tosh Tudor came over to New Jersey for his first time during mid-winter. It was freezing with fun waves all week and grom fell in love with the place. Pretty sure I’ll be seeing him back here sooner rathre than later. Brilliant sunrise with some fishermen going full throttle out the Manasquan Inlet and into a beautiful 2020 sunrise over the western Atlantic Ocean.

As a parting bonus shot here is the inaugural edition of young Mr. Mack’s new print pub, Voiage with the beautiful first ever cover shot by Long Islands Matt Clarke. Ryan has about 500 hundred of his own images that would equally blow your mind and worthy of the front of the book but he magnanimously chose the one he thought worked best for it’s premier edition. No argument at all from us on the selection and, if you call yourself a northeast surfer, support all the photogs and Mack and buy this epic print pub. Look for a ESM Q&A with Ryan all about his noble endeavor as soon as we can get our salty little mitts on a copy. for more info click here https://voiagemag.com but they are going  fast ! – Mez –