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Erin Ashley

Interviews, Surf, Surf Interviews

Ten Piggies Over: Alex Swanson

September 26, 2012

Alex Swanson is a Newport Beach native, talented photographer, and slave to the wave. If you spend anytime reading online surf porn, than you most likely frequent his blog; Ten Piggies Over. Even if you haven’t been to TPO, you’ve probably still seen his photography. His subjects include John Wesley, Ryan Lovelace, Erin Ashley…and many other talented individuals ingrained in California’s surf community. When Alex isn’t behind the lens, he’s in front of it…and most likely in the water.

How long have you been surfing?
I started surfing when I was 12 years old, with my Dad taking us all down to San O, Bolsa Chica, and Newport Point. We used to pile in his ‘86 Saab hatchback and we would ride these big old, tri-fins; Russell and Line Up boards.

What sparked your interest in photography?
I found a Canon Élan 7e hiding in one of our closets, borrowed (permanently) two of my Dad’s lenses, and just started shooting my friends a ton. I was initially drawn to the side of surfing that wasn’t published in magazines and seen in well-known surf movies.

What are you shooting with?
I currently shoot with a Canon t2i, GoPro Hero2, a Fujifilm Polaroid, and my girlfriend’s old Pentax, and occasionally the Élan 7e. I only own three lenses that I switch intermittently… a 50 mm f 1.8, 28-135 mm, and a 75- 300 mm.

You often post photos of shaper John Wesley…How did you guys come to know each other?
We met in the water at Churches a few years ago, and ran into each other on and off. Right before last summer, when John was starting on his own shapes, we just started shooting a ton and getting all weird together… and it’s been happily ever after since then.

What’s your favorite watercraft these days?
A 6’2” Fish… Single concave, double concave, single bottom, triple concave, stinger channels, to a displacement hull, to a deep vee at the tail. And a 7’5” JW Spacepin  that has pretty much been my primary board for the past year.

Via your blog, I’ve admired your travel over the last year. What’s your next destination?
Yeah, Erica and I decided get out of the country (for the first time) right after graduation, and settled on backpacking trip through the Mediterranean coast of Spain, France, and Italy. We’re hoping our next trip is more of a surf-oriented one, maybe a tropical destination. But for this year, it’ll probably be more local/camping surf trips along the beautiful California coast.

Spent any time surfing in the Pacific Northwest?
I’ve really been limited to the amount of places I surfed to just Southern California, from San Diego up to Santa Barbara, but would really like to get up to some colder water in the near future. I’m really inspired by looking at the Patagonia surf trips up North.

Between Greg, Worm, Wesley and Lovelace…who would you pick to join the X-men, and what power would they have?
I would pick Worm, because she has the appropriate wetsuit… And her power would be to be able to believe that it’s not butter.

What’s on the menu for 2012?
Besides spending the majority of my time with the new love of my life, a yellow lab named Adho… Short for “adho mukha svanasana”. This is a big transition year for me, and everything is up in the air. But I’ll be pursuing a couple of my career goals and hopefully still have the time to shoot and surf!

I’m hoping to get Alex’s brother Greg, up on the site within the next few weeks. He shares similar passions, along with with the Swanson Smile.

Ten Piggies Over
All She Wants is Diamonds – John Wesley’s blog

1. ?
2. Alex Swanson
3. Greg Swanson
4. Erica Burtrum
5. Alex Swanson

Interviews, Surf, Surf Interviews

Erin Ashley: Badass

August 8, 2012

My introduction to Erin, was actually through the image above. Somewhere along the Facebook timeline I become friends with Alex Swanson. He posted the photo, and I shared it on the Stoke Harvester Facebook page. I was pleased to discover that the surfer in the photo was Erin ‘Worm’ Ashley; surfer, musician, marathon runner, & all around badass.

Is there one session out in the water, that stands out from the others?
It was one of those evening summer sessions where I went surfing Sano with my friend Jeffrey Jones. I was riding a ’68 G&S Stretch (which is one of my favorite old logs to ride). The waves were total rubbish but we were having fun and goofing off. He had just taken a wave so I was sitting on the inside and I took off rode the nose a bit and was doing some silly foot trick when the board spun out right at Jeffrey…splitting his lip open. We spent the next 4 hours at the hospital. He still has a small scar on his mouth… my bad.

How did you get connected with Dano Surfboards?
I don’t remember exactly how, or why I started riding his boards (perhaps that’s a better question for him.) I met him surfing Blackies on these old logs & pigs, and Dano was riding newer versions of those. I really liked what he was into and I suppose he dug what I was doing on the older boards, so we would talk whenever in the water…maybe it just evolved from there.

What are you riding these days?
I usually ride a 9’3 Dano Los Creeper. It’s a double step-deck, hips in back and a 17 1/2″ nose that’s a bit pulled in. I don’t think you could find a more responsive board on the nose or tail. The board completely compliments the way I naturally surf. Besides that …either my hand-plane w/vipers (recently lost to France) or a space pin; which is perfect for ledgy dredgy waves.

Can you tell us a bit about GOGO13?
We’re a band that is an amalgamation of madness, the Aquabats and the B52’s…or so I’ve been told. I play sax and taskmaster. Everyone in the band is incredibly creative and talented outside of the band. Our guitar player is an amazing photographer, and our singer is the art director for the kids show Yo Gabba Gabba. We play for fun and really try to dig deep into the punk ethos,  keeping our live shows raw and spontaneous…sometimes to a fault.

Outside of music & surfing, what are your other passions?
I have a fellow that I’m head over heels for….I have two of the cutest & funniest dogs on earth, and read loads of books. In my real life I make desserts (specifically gelato/sorbetto) at a restaurant in L.A. called Mozza. I’m just trying to soak as much of this thing we call life in.

How many Swansons does it take to screw in a light bulb?
I’d imagine two; one to screw it in and the other to take a photo and blog it. (I kid, I kid)

I gotta ask…how did you come to be known as “Worm?”
The nickname comes from the movie Friday w/Ice cube and Chris Tucker. There’s a drug dealer played by Faizon Love called ‘Big Worm.’ He keeps his hair in curler’s and they call him Big Worm, Big Perm. I have this mop of hair that is curly like ringlets at times so one of my sister’s friend’s starting calling me Worm because of that. People thought it was clever and that was that. I’ve always been a nickname sort of person though…maybe I don’t look enough like an Erin.

What’s on the menu for you, in 2012?
I just got back from France for the Roxy pro. Kassia Meador did a longboard invitational and was kind enough to invite me. It was incredibly rad and I got to meet and hang out with some truly amazing & talented people. We even carried Stephanie Gilmore up the sand when she won her 5th world title. How rad is that? I am just hoping to get some really fun waves this summer, go down to Scorpion Bay, run a marathon in October, and hang out with friends.