Catching all the action, with awesome images - Interview with Phil Schreyer

Windsurfing, Cold Hawaii and photography are very closely linked. And no less so than in Klitmøller during the PWA World Cup week, where the surrounding raw nature, the colour from the North Sea, and the action from the sailors, come together offering an exceptional opportunity for taking photographs. Behind every good photo is a good photographer. This year's official Cold Hawaii photographer is Phil Schreyer. I took some time out, with the man behind job of bringing you the events images, to find out more about him.... Hi Phil. Could you tell us a little about yourself, please....

I live in Kiel, near Hamburg. My photo-hype started at the age of 9, when my family and I moved from a small south German town to America. One day I went to an electronics store to buy a Playstation, and I walked out of the store, not with a playstation... but with my first camera! I learnt to windsurf before learning to swim! When we moved back to Germany, the only time I got to see the ocean, was when we were on holiday, in Italy, once a year, for 3 weeks.. that is not a lot for someone who needs water more than anything!!!! I am now lucky enough to have an apartment only 5 minutes away from the water, and 12 minutes from the next beach! When I was younger, I was still dreaming of becoming a professional windsurfer. But as time passed, I caught myself going “off the water” more and more, just to take pictures. I studied geography for 2 years..and stopped when I noticed that I was spending more time at photo-shoots and sport events, than at university. All this hard work was rewarded with more and more photo-shoots and photo jobs, and my photography started to concentrate itself on windsurfing and other extreme sports! I was hired for the windsurf competition "German Freestyle Battle" this year, which made me and my photography quite famous, in North Germany. I started to work closely with Valentin Böckler (Professional Freestyle Windsurfer), which helped my photography get out to the world of windsurfers! Shortly after, I was hired as a photographer for the 'Kieler Woche', which is one of the biggest watersport events in the World. My focus during this event was on the 'Ocean Jump'. An extreme battle between windsurfers and bikers, jumping from a big ramp, into the ocean! Sometimes it is hard to pack all my many passions (photography, filming, windsurfing, SUP'ing, music/radio and more) into one week. I wish I had a 10 Day week!

This is your first year, as official Cold Hawaii photographer, at the KIA Cold Hawaii PWA World Cup. This is quite an honour ;) What are your expectations?

Yes, this is quite an honour! Thanks for having me! I'm expecting an action packed, hopefully very windy, exciting, fun... but also very busy, week! It is my first PWA World Cup that I will officially be taking pictures at, so I am quite nervous to be honest! I am really looking forward to working closely with the pro's, visitors and the Cold Hawaii team. For me this is a big chance to get my pictures out to World, and to get to know a lot of people, who which I would like to work with!

Why is photographing windsurfing so special to you

Windsurf, and generally water sports photography, is a difficult type of photography. There is always new challenges you have to deal with! Sometimes you have a water shot planned, and then... no wind, no waves. But you only have this one day for the shoot! What do you do? How do you make it look extreme?! It really makes you get creative and produce very special images! Through my passion for windsurf photography, and windsurfing itself, I have had the chance to travel all over the world! Maui, Jericoacoara, Sao Miguel (Brazil), Italy, Fuerteventura, Greece, Turkey, USA, Mexico and many more! This is probably the main reason, for why I will never stop watersport photography.

You seem to have a real passion for water, I can hear. Can you tell us more about that?...

My passion goes further than windsurfing ... I love to be on rivers with a SUP, in the middle of nowhere! Enjoying the pureness of nature and life... just me, my board and the water that it’s floating on! I love swimming in the waves, riding the waves with my surfboard or just sitting in the harbour with a beer or a glass of wine. I think the presence of water has a special effect on people. It makes you feel free and alive!

And what about a favourite photographer and/or image?

My favorite Photographer is definitely the water sports photographer, Franck Berthout from Maui, Hawaii His pictures and creativity is just amazing! If you have not heard of him, go and visit his website and check out his amazing pictures.

This year, HRH Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, is patron of the KIA Cold Hawaii PWA World Cup. He'll be officially visiting the event on Sunday 15th... and you'll be clicking and snapping his every move. What's that going to be like, for you, photographing a member of the Royal Family? Ever done something like that before?

This is, as well, quite an honour for me! Prince Frederik of Denmark is an inspiring and powerful man! This is going to be a totally new experience for me! I really cannot imagine what it will be like. I have had the chance to take pictures of the local Mayor of Kiel, but he is not a member of the Royal Family! But I do think that I will feel very comfortable being around him, since I can connect to people very well. And from what I have heard, Prince Frederik is a very kind and open hearted man! I am looking forward to this experience...and you never know what these kinds of meetings might lead to! :)

Cool! Thanks, Phil. See you around, at the event, next week...

Phil Schreyer - facebook