In The Plight of the Torpedo People, photographer Chris Burkard worked with Keith Malloy to explore the purest form of wave riding there is, body surfing. Burkard accompanied Malloy in this bodysurf endeavor to capture some amazing photographs, which he combined with frame grabs, personal accounts, and essays to create the book.
It’s a visual journey through the lenses of Burkard and Malloy, a reminder that it is not only the sport of surfing we love, but the act of riding waves in the ocean itself that we hold onto so dearly. “Rarely have I had the opportunity to photograph something as pure as body surfing,” explains Burkard. “It’s the most stripped down form of wave riding.” The photography displays the natural form of body surfers, reefs and beautiful scenery; shots from inside, underneath, and behind the wave, an insight to an underwater realm we don’t often see. Dave Parmenter writes,
We as body surfers might be physically addicted not just to the simple joy of conforming our bare bodies into a curling wave, but more so to the safe, drug-free calmative granted us by evolution when we dive into the sea.
And there wouldn’t be the film or the book without the talent. The cast of body surfers includes, Mike Stewart, Dan and Keith Malloy, Don King, Chris Kalima, and body surfing legend Mark Cunningham traveling through New Zealand, Oahu, Mexico, The Wedge, California, and Tahiti with nothing but a pair of fins and a bathing suit. Malloy and Burkard successfully illustrate the non-necessity of a board in generating the feeling and experience that comes with riding a wave.
Check out our exclusive Torpedo People x Wetsand store where you can buy the book, the film and other good bodysurf garb: Wetsandsurfshop.com
Photos by Chris Burkhard