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San Francisco

Interviews, Surf, Surf Interviews

Sea Glide: Greg Swanson

October 15, 2012

Greg is a Costa Mesa born surfer, currently living in San Francisco, Ca. I interviewed Greg’s older brother Alex a few weeks ago. Like Alex, Greg shares a passion for photography, the water… and a variety of surf craft. Greg also joins Mike Black and Doug Mitchel, in our group of surfer/educators.

How long have you been surfing?
My older brother, sister, and I have been going to the beach as kids since I can remember. Eventually we got a surfboard to share (I think I was around 8) and since then we have been surfing, bodysurfing, swimming, and anything else you can do in the ocean.

What is your most memorable moment out in the water?
This is a tough question because it is constantly changing and being replaced by another awesome time in the ocean. The last one I can think of was this past summer when Alex, Natasha, and I went on a rock adventure in Laguna Beach. We jumped, swam, and hiked through rock tunnels, caves, and formations.

What are you riding these days?
All summer I almost solely rode a John Wesley Cali 66’. It is the most responsive single fin log that I have ever ridden. When it gets a little bit bigger and faster I take out my 6’6” Spacepin. After riding my brother’s Spacepin I knew I had to get one for myself so I asked John to make me a mid-length that fits me. That’s all I am surfing now up here in SF for the semester until I head back south in December. I am very much missing my Vampire Hull Ryan Lovelace made me (I can’t wait to surf Santa Barbara points on it again).

What are some of your other interests?
I really love teaching and working with kids. I am currently working on my Education major so I can eventually start working at a school. This summer my brother, Alex, and I started to dive around the coves and reefs in Laguna Beach. I find so much peace out in the water and this just added another element to this. I also love reading older fiction books and short stories while listening to Duke Ellington on my record player. Lastly, God as well as my family bring me so much joy and support in my life, these are fundamental to the person I am.

When did you first become interested in photography?
Looking up to my older brother, Alex, I got interested in photography through him. He had been taking photos of the things we were doing and this idea of documenting the adventures we had was so interesting to me. After meeting up with some dude on craigslist and getting a $90 film minolta I started in my brother’s footsteps. I took photos of what my friends and siblings were doing and eventually it became more surf oriented.

When I was cruising through your albums, the photo below caught my eye. What can you tell us about it.
This came from the first and only true black and white film roll that I have used. My friends and I were just skating around and I wanted to try out this film form Ilford. We went down to Blackies and I found this spot of light that just seemed so cool to me. I still go back to my older film photos and get inspired on this idea of having one shot and making it count.

How’s San Francisco treating you?
San Francisco is pretty dang cool. It is totally different from anywhere that I have lived before (dense, diverse, and weird) but I am really enjoying it. I am so thankful to be able to spend this semester learning about urban life and its effects. I am currently interning at an elementary school that has a majority students that are at risk. While I have only been here for about a month, it has been really eye opening for me. I have also still been able to get my fair share of surfing in. Some really cool people (Beamer and Miles) have been able to keep me updated on the swells, take me surfing, and let me take photos of them surfing.

From your answers so far, I can tell you are quite intelligent. Can you please put this internet meme to rest… How many squares do you see? ;)
Haha I could be totally off but I think 36. It seems like a nice round number.

What’s on the menu for this coming year?
School (for the most part), surfing, adventures, reading, listening to music, taking photos, and spending time with family and friends. My family just got a yellow lab puppy, Adho, that I still have yet to meet so that might be the biggest thing I am looking forward to.

Greg’s Tumblr – Sea Glide