Purveyor of RAD #0006 James Katsipis
James is a Photographer and Surfer from Montauk, New York. He is a SALTY dude, a RAD dude. His photographs literally draw you into the moments every surfer or adventurer imagines. Constant captures of beautiful landscapes and endless photos of barrels in some of the coldest conditions imaginable. His project #coldwatersurferseries truly captured the risk and reward of braving some extreme conditions in the lineup. We asked James a few question photographing a winter in Montauk.
Where are you from? Im from Montauk, New York.
Where did you get the inspiration for the #coldwatersurfseries?
My Inspiration came from a portrait I did of my friend Jesse Joeckel. He was having a cold, dark, solo session up by the point and after he was done I was walking with him back to his car and made him stop to take his photo and he was just shivering and shaking and could barely talk. I was just thinking about how much dedication and love for a sport you have to have to put yourself through this all winter. I posted the portrait of him on instagram and hashtaged it #coldwatersurfer
people loved the shot and tag so it just evolved from there.
What is the Coldest/Harshest conditions you have shot video or stills in?
Honestly, New York in the winter is colder then a lot of other places i've been. The water has been known to freeze on the edge of the shoreline. I have walked out on top of ice to paddle out before. With the windchill, it's way below zero some days. The water temp is about 36ish. This winter is just really harsh. My hands while swimming would feel like they are on fire from being so cold and no blood circulation. When you first dive under your eye balls sting. It would take me a whole day to get my core back up to regular temp. You just have this feeling of not being able to get warm all day. It's kinda bizarre actually.
If you could photograph one person, who would it be?
Peter Beard. He lives here in Montauk but I haven't seen him around in awhile. He is getting up there in age and I'm hoping to have a chance at shooting him before i'm too late. I've had the pleasure of having some drinks with him and talking shop a little. Its pretty cool who you can belly up with in Montauk.
Trip you've been on:
My favorite surf trip was definitely to Ireland. That place is beyond spectacular. The landscapes there are amazing. The light there is mental. The surf there is some of the best surf in the world. The surfers are as hardcore as it gets. That place is so heavy. Nothing is easy there. Don't expect to roll up to the break with your morning coffee and swell app. It's a mission to get anywhere. A lot of mud, rain, wind, steep cliffs and gnarly shoreline. A lot can go wrong if you don't have the right people guiding you. Be Prepared to hike.
Saying: Keep it simple stupid. Least favorite and overused "THATS EPIC!" i've been guilty of saying it though...
Trip you've been on:
Anytime I have to go to the DMV ha.
No but seriously I love to travel and all trips are great but there are situations that are my least favorite in some. Like take getting into a fake taxi in Peru and being drove around through the dessert for three hours and the car overheating every 20min. We got 2 flats with only one spare tire. My friend John and I literally had to lift the car for the driver to change the tire. But I can still look back on that and laugh.
Im liking this older song Lungs by Townes Van Zandt. great lyrics. Like a poem. I'm going to use it for a small edit I am working on. Feel like that was a really Hipster answer haha.
Type of transportation:
I have a 2011 F150 Crew Max. Love my truck.
My lady's' homemade Ice-tea. It's a lifesaver after a long session.
Where do you live now? I still live in Montauk New York. Im not going anywhere.
Is it RAD? Why / Why Not?
So rad. Its not like any other place on earth. It;s pristine and beautiful. Watching this place change with the seasons is just magic. Growing up out here was so great. It was like a giant playground. Everyone knew everyone and we all just got dropped off at the beach when we were younger. No crime. We dont even lock our doors. I don't own a key to my house! haha The only thing thats bad about Montauk now is the summers. Our private paradise has been discovered and all these "Hip" people are coming out here to try to make the scene. They're clueless about why Montauk is Rad. Montauk was rad because no-one knew about it and wanted anything todo with it. I couldn't pay people to come here 10 years ago. They're all "Montauk what? You live where?" We loved it, it was all T-shirts flip flops and board shorts day and night growing up out here. Now its all who's who, bottle service, fedoras, and skinny girl pants and celebrities. Over the summers here. And I speak for most the Locals too.
What are you looking forward to most in 2014? Honestly I just take life a day at a time. that's all we got. I look forward to waking up in the morning and just putting my best foot forward everyday. It doesn't always work out though. But you always have the option of starting your day over at anytime. Blessed.