Tom Dugan’s 10 Favorite Photo’s of 2019 Presented By WRV

December 13, 2019 • Photo Portfolio, Photos

The First In A Series From Top Right Coast shooters and please follow us on Instagram @easternsurfmag:

Never in  over his head behind a camera, Eastern Surf Magazine and co-founder, Tom Dugan, who was inducted into East Coast Surfing Hall Of Fame along side other Right Coast legends Freida Zamba, Matt Kechele and Pat Mulhern as part of the Class of 2006, has long be one of the top surf image makers in the world and shares below his favorite snaps from the past 12 months for your viewing pleasure. PHOTO: DUGAN

What I like about this shot is that I finally got this capture. In the early 80’s my friend and fellow photographer, Kevin Welsh got an action shot similar to this at Sebastian Inlet with the beach in the foreground, an angle you rarely saw back in the day when 600mm lenses and “tight and bright” super close-up’s were the gold standard. I LOVED IT, soon as I saw it but could never get quite the right shot until now. Another reason for my pick here is it happens to be one of another very close friend and, without a doubt, the person I have taken the most pictures of surfing the Inlet over the years, Matt Kechele. Patience pays off. PHOTO : DUGAN

Young William Hedleston rips. He is one of my favorite surfers to photograph right now due to his “go for broke” surfing and easily one of our best in his age bracket if not the best. That’s why I like this photo, he’s flat out charging the lip and oncoming section. To me it shows his aggression and commitment to radical surfing. Right now he’s nursing a back injury and we wish him a speedy recovery. This day was a good day with lots of good surfers out, but as soon as he paddled out, the bar was raised quite a few notches. PHOTO : DUGAN

We recently did an ESM Who The Guy this year on William and it was up to me to get a few portraits. This is not a set up shot , it’s actually the only place in the house that can hold all his trophies. To say he’s a winner is an understatement as young Hedleston has “champion” written all over his still very young resume. I picked this single shot from about 50 I took this day because of his smile and the fill flash made all the colors just pop taking out all the shadows and it’s hard to argue against that pile of hardware behind him that the kid has a bright future ahead of him. PHOTO : DUGAN



In August I was in New York and I called my friend since the 60’s, Tony Caramanico, who is getting inducted to the East Coast Surfing Hall Of Fame this January at Orlando Surf Expo, to find out if he was available for a quick photo shoot. We headed to his house back in the hills of Montauk and went back to his shed which holds his current quiver and is a part time capsule as evidenced by this beautifully preserved, Rick Rasmussen hand shape. I picked this photo for the simple look of Tony, the throw back board and the sun ray’s poking thru the trees behind him giving it that country soul vibe look. Also, I had no clue at the time that Tony was “getting the call” to the Hall so for the serendipity factor alone I had to include this one of my soon-to-be fellow HOF’er. PHOTO : DUGAN

I picked this for the graphic look and simple muted colors. More gems found in Montauk, New York. A small collection of Wave Set fins. These were the shit in the early 70’s and you can see they have been filed and shaped into totally different fins. This is what fin design looked like in years gone by and not unusual to experiment and “hone your own”. Property of Tony Caramanico collection. PHOTO : DUGAN

Justin Quintal has been surfing in – and continually winning – the longboard pro division at the now 55 year old, legendary Cocoa Beach based Easter Fest for the past several years. And now  Justin is the 2019 WSL World Longboard Champion. While he did not compete in the event this year he did come down from his home in Jacksonville to be a part of the paddle out for East Coast legend, Gary Propper for whom this years event was dedicated to. This was my favorite pick from the whole event because of the clean wave and Justin honoring Gary with clean, styling five over nose ride, a GP trademark move if ever there was one. PHOTO : DUGAN

As a photographer I always like a good air shot. They are the surfing money shots and nobody gets tired of seeing them performed. I chose this one because it has all the elements in it – aggression, amplitude, altitude, fins way up pointing up to the sky, great form and style by the surfer and it’s my best above the lip move I captured in 2019. And “Rasta Rob” makes these way more than not and is another favorite surfer to photograph due to the fact he can do HUGE airs at the drop of a dime. Unfortunately he lives way up in Flagler Beach, Florida so I only get to see him a few times a year. We recently ran a twenty shot “Sick – quence” of him taken during warm-up’s for the Tommy Tant Contest this past November. This was the same day but a different wave. Love air guys. PHOTO : DUGAN

When the Hurricanes hit every year there is always some destruction like this twisted, broken up beach access stairway in Satellite Beach, Florida, one of my go-to spots when it’s big and firing. This year Hurricane Dorian was as bad as it gets for the nearby Bahamas but actually spared Central Florida from a direct by about 100-125 miles. I like this photo because to me it tells a story of how nature can slap Man at any time. A broken boardwalk is just a small reminder as Tommy Coleman walks up the beach to the north end of the break known as RC’s during high thankful Dorian turned away less than 24 hours before making a possible landfall at this very spot. PHOTO : DUGAN

This one catches my eye not because it’s just a cool photo of a textbook Phillip Watters floater. I’m digging on his high line track across the lip, the detail in the slashing gouge scarring the wave face indicating just how much speed he’s gathered on his backhand along with the amazing water color and the beautiful November, autumnal lighting. It’s hard to beat a good, early season, winter type cold North front swell at RC’s and this image is highly illustrative of why I love this place. PHOTO : DUGAN

I pulled this one because of the frothy latte look of the wave face and all the cool detail along the entire lip line especially. You always see all these incredible, ‘not-a-drop-of-water-out-of-place’ line-up’s that get published but sometimes and I have my share but I also like shooting waves that have some character and grit to them, just like East Coast surfing itself. It’s not always perfect around here, especially in my home state of Florida, but nobody can say we don’t make the most of what we have or take anything for granted. PHOTO: DUGAN

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