A forty-eight-hour surf photography auction to raise money for disaster relief efforts in the Philippines.

A forty-eight-hour surf photography auction to raise money for disaster relief efforts in the Philippines.

Surfers have a strong history of mobilising in a crisis. They were on the frontline, last year, for example, when Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey’s vulnerable shores. And there are logical reasons why. Just ask former pro surfer and founder of Waves For Water Jon Rose. “As surfers, we learn early on about weather and the constant changes made by nature because it affects our sport so much – tide, wind, swell, etc. So we become comfortable with something that is always changing,” he told us in our story on Hurrican Sandy earlier this year. “The other key factor is travelling. Surfers travel. They’ve likely had more exposure to foreign environments and situations than most people – which teaches them how to think on their feet and ultimately, problem solve. And effective disaster relief boils down to just that – quick and efficient problem-solving.”

So it was no surprise to hear that the UK surf community were rallying up to try and raise money for the disaster relief efforts in the Philippines. Surf Photos For The Philippines is a project headed up by the former editor of Wavelength Magazine Greg Martin, who has been shooting the British surf scene for eight years. Distraught by the tragedy unfolding in South East Asia and inspired by the UK surf community’s generosity and resourcefulness, the Cornwall-based wave rat is rallying around top surf photographers – including established names like Lucia Griggi, Mickey Smith and Tim Nunn – to donate their amazing images in a forty-eight-hour flash sale (starting at 6pm tonight, November 29, 2013) to the cause. We caught up with Greg to find out more.

What exactly is Surf Photos for Philippines?
Surf Photos for Philippines is a one-off opportunity for people to get copies of stunning surf shots from ten of the best British surf photographers by donating money over a forty-eight hour period to help the disaster relief efforts in the Philippines.

Why did you decide to do it?
I had been putting together an archive of my own surf photography on my Facebook page and thought that a really easy way to raise some money for the Philippines would be to have a weekend when all my friends could donate money and I would email them a copy of whichever photo they wanted. About a week ago I had a eureka moment and realised that if I could convince the top British surf photographers to do the same, there was potential to raise a lot more money.

How do you hope it will have an impact?
One hundred percent of the money donated will go to the charity Shelter for Humanity. I went and met up with them the other day and they were one of the first disaster relief organisations on the ground in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan. Their Emergency Response Team are still out there now and will be for the foreseeable future, giving much needed help by a process they call ‘Shelter to Settlement’ – basically helping people through the process of rehabilitating themselves and their communities by providing them with the equipment and means to improve their lives after the disaster. Check them out at shelterfor.org

Were the British surf community keen to support?
The British surf community are flippin’ marvellous. They are beautifully un-glamourous; sporting twat-caps through the winter and poo-head tans in the summer. They are incredibly diverse. They don’t take themselves too seriously. And they still get stoked when it’s two foot, onshore and brown. I think generally, surfers are some of the luckiest people in the world. Thankfully, they are also some of the most generous.

Who was involved in Surf Photos for Philippines and what does everyone do?
Well, I’m lucky enough to know all the best British surf photographers, so I contacted them and they all got behind the idea 100%. So it’s me and them involved. If this was Live Aid, I’d be Bob Geldof with the Boomtown Rats that no-one had heard of, and they’d be Mick Jagger, David Bowie and Freddie Mercury. They are the real stars. In terms of logistics it’s just me sat at my laptop at home, with my very patient and understanding wife, Daisy, who is eight-and-a-half months pregnant and has gone without heating and hot water for the last few days because I’ve been too busy with this to fix our plumbing.

How can people get involved/show support?
Simple. All people need to do is check out the Surf Photos For Philippines Facebook page. On there people can browse the galleries from amazing photographers like Mickey Smith, Tim Nunn, Roger Sharp and Lucia Griggi. This Friday November 29 at 6pm we’ll put up a link to a JustGiving website, where people can make a donation (we’re suggesting a minimum £10 per photo) and note the image that they want and their email address. I’ll then email them the high-res version of the photo, which they can get printed up for their walls or to give as a lush Christmas present. We’ll keep it going for forty-eight hours, until 6pm on Sunday December 1.

What have been the challenges in bringing Surf Photos for Philippines to life?
All the photographers have been super keen to help, but I guess the biggest challenge has been taking the leap of faith about all of them giving out high-resolution, watermark-free images to people they don’t know. We just have to trust that people will not take advantage of this and only use the photos for personal prints and not put them online or use them for any commercial purposes.

What have been the major inspirations behind the project?
In all honesty the major inspiration has come from being broke. I was made redundant a few months ago and right now I have more time to give than cash. I know they say that every donation helps, no matter how small, but I just thought I could get creative, put my time to good use and raise a lot more money than I could ever personally give. It can be a scary thing, so I don’t want to trivialise it in any way, but sometimes being broke makes you more creative.

Are you planning anymore fundraising activity?
For now, I’ve just got to focus on the forty-eight hours starting today at 6pm. That, and fixing our hot-water pipes.

You can check out all the photos and make a donation at the Surf Photos For Philippines Facebook page.