Stephan Vanfleteren: Surf Tribe


In Surf Tribe, photographer Stephan Vanfleteren shows that surfing culture encompasses much more than just competitive sport. Surfing is also and above all about a deep respect for the ocean, about the sense of nullity towards the forces of nature, about won and lost battles with others and with themselves.

Vanfleteren looks past the traditional surf spots of California and Hawaii and goes around the world looking for people who live in places where the ocean hits the country. He captures a liquid community that nature is the sole leader.

He portrays both young talent and living icons and ancient legends, both competition surfers and freesurfers. In this book you won’t find action photos on azure waves but serene black and white portraits in Vanfleteren’s familiar, haunting style. He shows the real people behind the surfers, in all their strength and vulnerability. This series of images permeates the true core of surfing culture: the love of water, the addiction to the wave, the passion for the surf.

With more than 300 portraits of Kelly Slater, Gerry Lopez, John John Florence, Laird Hamilton, Bethany Hamilton, Greg Noll, Stephanie Gilmore, Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Mickey Munoz, Filipe Toledo and Tom Carroll.

With a foreword by surf legend Gerry Lopez.

Book at the exhibition of the same name in CC Scharpoord, Knokke-Heist (from 24 March to 28 May 2018).

Available on backorder

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“Surfing is about winning and lost battles, about connectedness to a mysterious and unvatable natural power, about meditation that is as deep as that of the most dedicated zen monks. See stephan Vanfleteren’s beautiful collection of portraits: in each of the faces you can see the warrior, the priest, the philosopher. Imagine their experiences, their thoughts, their feelings. Look deep into their eyes and you see the unfathomable world that Stephan has managed to capture flawlessly there.

Surfing is about surfers, although surfers invariably say it’s about the waves first of all, and then about their surfboard. That’s why this collection of photos is so challenging. Getting surfers to give a coherent explanation of what drives them is unstarted work. Surf Tribe asks the reader to fill in the gaps themselves. Look intense and enjoy!”

— Gerry Lopez

Additional information


Surf Tribe


Stephan Vanfleteren


Stephan Vanfleteren
preface Gerry Lopez


Tim Bishop, Stephan Vanfleteren






22 x 28.5 x 4.3 cm




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