Purveyor of RAD: Josh Gill "Above The Reef"

We first met Josh driving through the pearly gates at Jalama Beach in central California. I don't remember how long we talked or exactly which subjects we uncovered but I do remember hearing that he's a photographer, works for the State Park and has a similar addiction to salt water and waves as we do. He's just one of those humans you meet and you're thinking to yourself, "I'm pretty certain this guy is a legend." We surfed Jalama for a few days, dropped off the new bagtowels to the General Store and took off. I saw Josh's card flying around my car a few times and finally wrangled it in, sat at my computer and sent him an email to ask him a few questions about his life. Here's what he had to say. 

@above_the_reef

Where are you from Originally?

I was born in Cleveland Ohio, then our family moved to Lompoc Ca. when I was 2 years old.

Where did you draw your inspiration for photography?

Surfing and being in and around the ocean on the Central Coast since I was young has given me most of my inspiration. Also friends, family and complete strangers who support me and my work give me a ton of inspiration every day.  

Tell us about Above the Reef. Where did you come up with the name and concept?

I had really started getting more and more into photography around 2010, so I decided I wanted a website to share my work. I was trying to come up with a name for my site that described what I am about, and also something that wasn't just my name because I liked the idea of it being more of a brand. Some friends and I had thought of a bunch of names, and I liked Above the Reef the best. It basically means that everything we do above the reef, affects the reef. So I just try to express through my work, the beauty of what the ocean provides for us, and encourage people to keep our beaches clean.

 If you could take a trip anywhere in the world tomorrow where and who would you go with and why?

Haha, thats a tough question… I can't get Tahiti off my mind, so I think I would go there. I would bring my Mom and Dad because they deserve it the most. I would bring my girlfriend because she's going to read this… And I would want to experience that with her. Definitely bring my Brother, Sister and brother-in-law.  I'd bring 0484 Creative to hang and make a sick video. I'd see if Slater, Bruce Irons and John John wanted to cruise to shoot some photos/video of. Definitely bring Mason Jennings for live musical entertainment…. I could go on and on with this.

What do you do when the surf is flat?

Go crazy. 

What is the longest period you have gone without being in or around the ocean?

2 years! From the day I was born, till the day we moved out to Lompoc Ca. has been the longest I have gone without the ocean. Once we moved to Lompoc my family spent most of our free time out at Jalama and other local beaches. From then on I was hooked. But since being in Lompoc, I have had some injuries and surgeries that have put me out of the water for over a month or so.

What are you looking forward to most this year?
Looking forward to be doing some more traveling. We have been talking about Fiji, and the PNW has been on my mind for a long time, so hopefully make it up there.

 

Favorites

Places to take photos:

In the ocean. I also truly love shooting around the area where I live. The landscapes and seascapes are like none other, and having world class waves in our back yard is pretty nice too.

Type of Music:
Roots Reggae, hands down. Also "Buddha Bar" station on Pandora, check it out.
 
Saying:
"Know your roots"- don't know who started saying that, but I really like it.

Least Favorites 

Type of Food: 
Mushrooms, so gross!

Saying:

"Dude, bro!"

Means of Transportation:

Airplanes, or busses. Not stoked on small spaces with lots of people.

Where do you live now?

Lompoc Ca.

Is it RAD? Why or Why not?

Ya I think it's RAD for sure! There are so many good and creative people in the community. We have amazing winemakers that make even more amazing wine. We are plenty far enough away from any major freeways or skyscrapers. And like I said before, the land and sea that surrounds our little town is amazing, and I wouldn't want to call anywhere else home. 


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2 comments

  • I am related to Matt and J.P MacDonell and they have more products but don’t know if they should sell them they are really rad
    They mite start a redit account tell them if you want that to happen and ask about the products that are being made
    They might make some rad wallets and they are awesome
    I think is rad that the use recycled sales for the material

    • Justin
  • Nice Site.

    Jalama is one of my favorite spots on the Cali coast. Only bend there once but it was some of the most memorable body surf ever.

    Aloha!

    • Chris Calvert