FYI – since I first posted this vlog back in February 2018, I think the trend has really started catching on. Other surf websites followed suit talking about surf vloggers and many other notable surfers have started vlogging. Below is the start of the original article and I keep updating it below with new surfer vlogs!
I’ve noticed that it is weird that so many professional surfers have Instagram’s but no YouTube channels, as what they essentially do and are well known for is action packed surfing! The reason they don’t have their own YouTube channels is because their sponsors always tend to keep their sponsored surfers’ video content on their brand channels.
Even many “free surfers” out there who are sponsored don’t have their own YouTube/Vimeo channels, as again, they provide that footage to their sponsors, so it’s really hard to find great surf & surf lifestyle videos out there from cool surfers!
Most professional surfers’ videos are also just that, surf videos, without a focus on the full journey of surfing, as surfing is about so much more than just riding the wave. It’s about the training/learning that goes into it, the paddle out, going over the falls, the wipeouts, the adventure and discovery of traveling to a new place, and how surfing is entwined into our daily lives.
That’s where the surf vlogger comes in, they open the eyes of the world to what surfing is like for most of us and give us something we can really relate to and informs, entertains, and inspires us in the process!
Fortunately, my passion for surfing (the waves) and surfing (the net) to find great waves and develop my da Surf Engine app and website, has allowed me to discover the few great surf vloggers that are out there which I have to share! Finding these surfing vlogs made me realize there is such an opportunity for us passionate surfers to find some place out there in the surf world to stand out and showcase our passion for surfing to the world, and maybe even make a bit of side/spending money or get sponsored in the process!!
Below is a list of some of my favorite surf vloggers as well as new up & comers that are hopping on the trend. Also, if you’re thinking of doing some surf vlogging, I put together some tips from what I’ve seen from some of the best surf vloggers out there! This isn’t in any particular order, but since originally posting this blog, I think many surfers have catched on – since January of 2019 the North Shore vloggers have risen up (and I’ll keep adding to this list as I find more). We still need more surfer chicks representing in key places like the North Shore & Australia though, let’s get to it!
Best Surf Vlogs
Ben Gravy or Ben Gravvy
I think I initially discovered his videos via his Nub Nation YouTube channel where he had put together a video full of his favorite novelty waves. I found it really entertaining to watch all these unique waves and the stoke someone has to surf anything even when conditions aren’t the best.
Then I realized he had his own YouTube channel and I started watching it! This guy has got to be one of the most stoked surfer’s alive! His energy is contagious and he’s always smiling and happy, well most times, he does show an array of emotions and isn’t one dimensional, but if you have to describe him, you would definitely say stoked and happy!
Oh, and if you watch this vlog of his below, he gives my da Surf Engine app a shout out, how rad 😉
His viewers are so engaged and loyal that they all went to bat for Ben and launched a campaign to Kelly Slater to get him an invite to the Kelly Slater pool, which was successful, as he got the invite! I think Ben Gravy’s recent success with his vlog has even inspired other surfers out there to start theirs, such as
Jamie O’Brien aka Who is Job!
Jamie is one of the very first surfers I consistently watched surfing/surfing lifestyle type videos of, as he would pull off super crazy surf stunts all the time in dangerous places like Pipeline that were very entertaining, but they were all a part of Red Bull’s channel in the Who is Job series.
However, it looks like he’s gone out on his own now and started doing some of his own surf vlog type videos on his own on YouTube channel starting last October.
It also looks like he’s taken my how to be an epic surf vlogger advice that I give below in this article, by creating his own catch phrase “psyche”. Don’t say stoked when you’re around Jamie, gotta say psyched, ha!
Cohen Sisters – Surfing Sisters
Added on 10/13/20
Tina Cohen has regularly been seen as of late in Jamie O’Brien’s surf vlogs as she is his girlfriend that often is around when Jamie is filming his entertaining surfing adventures. Since Poopies wasn’t around much anymore, he needed to have a new sidekick for his gig, ha.
However, she and her sister, Sally Cohen, #9 currenly ranked WSL surfer on the Longboard tour, have started up their own vlog of thier own, and it is soooo fun!
I love the surfing sisters dynamic and they just seem to have so much fun hanging in the surf and cooking adventures after! I really want to try making a mango cheesecake now after their first vlog! True north shore surfer chick living indeed!
Added on 2/19/20
She’s local SoCal pro-surfer, soon to be world champ, that has also recently started vlogging, ever since 5/25/19 with her first one – about a little over 15 months since I originally posted this article. It’s cool to get a glimpse into the daily routine of a pro surfer chicks life, especially since she is fortunate to get to spend a lot of her time in Australia land too!
She was also featured as the surfer in The Wheeland Brother’s Surfer Girl song. I actually asked her about it when I met her once at the Founders Cup of Surfing event at the Kelly Slater Surf Ranch! She had never met or heard of the band before but just gave them rights to user her image in their promo of the song which was cool.
As a pro surfer she needs to really stay in shape and eat healthy and overall just loves eating healthy but does allow herself a cheat day for eating once a week (with healthy pizza at that – and pizza doesn’t even seem that bad to me as it has most all food groups -ha). I thought I was doing good by just having one cheat meal per day, ha. If I am to progress in my surfing I think I should take more of her cheat day approach, if it’s at all possible, as I just love carbs too much, ha!
What’s coolest about her vlogs lately is that she’s been answering her viewers questions in her vlogs! I love that interactivity component. She actually answered one question I had after this Tahiti vlog I watched, which I was amazed by, as that is such a treacherous wave! It’s at the 10:58 mark in the 2nd video vlog below! I can’t wait to see the women surf Chopes this season!
Here’s an additional one I just added to this post on 1/5/19 – as Koa Rothman has started up surf vlogging as well and it’s definitely an interesting series to check out of another perspective on surf life at the North Shore of Hawaii!
We really need to get some girl surfers regularly vlogging out there – that’s what I want to see next!!!
Added on 2/19/20
What I love about his surf vlog is that he shows surfing from every angle!! He doesn’t just focus on the money shots or the glory but all the work it takes to even paddle out and duck dive through the ominous waves of Hawaii’s North Shore.
He mixes it up too with a good mix of lifestyle content, from local chickens and cats interacting in his backyard, which was too legit and funny! This is shown on the first vlog that I’ve highlighted below.
The 2nd vlog below was when I first became truly in awe of his YouTube channel as he must have some help from a videographer team, as the footage was beyond epic as well as a great mix of tunes to create the perfect mood for the waves he was surfing.
This is the first surf vlog I really started following regularly. I initially discovered them when I was searching for surfing tips on YouTube as it tends to be easier to watch people give you tips than read about them. After watching some of their older episodes with surf coaching tips (they have a whole surf coaching series as well here at surfcoaches.com), I realized they continued with their YouTube videos but they became more surf lifestyle focused vs. surfing lesson focused.
I really enjoyed the mix of both on their channel. They recently stopped vlogging as regularly but they still post videos from time to time!
This guy is a total waterman, he not only surfs, he surfs the big monster waves, he hydrofoils, windsurfs, kitesurfs, you name it, he does it on the water. I think he’s the new Laird Hamilton of this new generation! He recently started his own vlogs on YouTube early this January and I think he was inspired by Ben Gravy, as I’ve seen him like some of Ben Gravy’s Instagram posts, etc – this is just a hunch I have.
Another surfer who recently started vlogging on his own YouTube channel but is not at all new to the concept is…..
So, after having watched my share of surf vloggers, below are some definite tips to help you make your surf vlog successful and entertaining with lots of subscribers and engaged viewers!
Tips for Successful Surf Vlogs!
Showing all sides of surfing such as fear, frustration, and other emotions is key, however it’s the stoke you show for surfing that gets others excited about it and want to keep watching. Watching you being stoked, fuels their stoke!
Have some key catch phrases
Ben Gravy uses several and they really become endearing terms that kind of connect you to the vlogger and make you feel like you know them. He uses “for the dream”, “for the win”, and ‘heavy” mostly. Other surf vloggers such as the surf family iSurftribe ended their vlog’s with Pura Vida and Aloha as the dad was from Hawaii but they lived in Costa Rica.
iSurftribe initially hooked me to their channel with informative videos that gave me tips to help improve my surfing. As I started to watch more and more of their videos I began to feel a sense of community with their YouTube channel and just started watching to see their life in Costa Rica and what it’s like to live there.
Have guest stars and/or frequent co-stars.
It is your vlog and people come to see you but sometimes people might feel more comfortable watching a variety of people in the vlog instead of feeling like kind of a stalker by getting sucked into watching a vlog always featuring just one person – ha!
That’s why I was originally drawn to iSurfTribe – I related to their Dad as he was closer to my age but thought it was super cool he was raising two surfer kids that were stoked on surfing. Ben Gravy’s video’s are also cool but I really enjoyed it when he brought his girlfriend on his videos and showed her first time surfing and their first time tandem surfing, I just felt like a friend of theirs hanging out with them for a surf!
Interact with your viewers/fans/subscribers
YouTube and other video platforms like Vimeo provide a great platform for community as well as just posting videos. It’s rare that people will actually leave a comment on your video, so unless you have like 1 million fans/subscribers and it will literally take more than 4-5 hours a day responding to comments on your video, you need to interact with all of your fans.
That’s what I’ve noticed Ben Gravy does, he literally responds to most every comment on his YouTube videos. I can be a bit of a skeptic and thought well maybe he has a bot or has someone else do that for him, but as I’ve kept seeing all the replies he’s made to various fan’s comments – I know there’s a real human and the real Ben behind them!!!!
Dedicate yourself to surfing
Whether you dedicate yourself to being filmed with an instructor or show your progress in surfing every day while getting better or just dedicate every day for a couple years to just consistently filming and editing (as Ben Gravyy did for 2016, 2017, and planning again to in 2018 with a detour while he was sick), it takes time and commitment and isn’t easy!! As the character in Veronica Mars, Logan, said – “No one writes songs about the ones that come easy!
Surfing isn’t just about the money clips and riding the waves – there’s plenty of pure straight up surf clips out there. Surfing is about the adventure and the journey you take to get to get out and surf, whether traveling to different places, improving your skills, or fun times along the way – make sure that’s covered, as that’s a key component of it!
Have simple but catchy headlines
Let people know what they’re going to see in the surf vlog, perhaps the key highlight of your vlog, to get them curious to click on it and watch it!
Add great music
Music provides the energy & feel for the video when you’re not talking to the audience. If you aim to monetize your vlog, you’ll need to use music that allows for it. YouTube has a great library of songs but there are other resources out there as well – Ben Gravy always lists the music he uses in his videos.
However monetization on YouTube will be getting harder now, as you’ll need 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours viewed in the last 12 months before your videos will even qualify for monetization. So perhaps in the beginning when you’re building up your subscriber base, use some of the top known songs out there that really fit the vibe for your video and get users to subscribe!
Have a consistent volume to your clips
A lot of times for the surf vlogs you will be clipping different videos together to make a longer vlog and create a story, however try to keep the volume at the same mix/level so users don’t have to continually adjust the volume as the scenes change.
There are lots of great surfing videos/edits out there but surf vloggers bring a story to it (like Bruce Brown invented with his Endless Summer films) and make it more personal and that’s why I love finding them!
So get out their and do some surf vlogging and show the world how surfing fuels your stoke and inspire other surfers! Especially you surfer chicks – we need more surfer girl vloggers representing out there 🙂