From the moment Jimmy Wilson got his feet on a board as a ten-year-old in his hometown, St. Augustine, Florida, he knew he'd be in the water for the rest of his days.
"I knew as a kid, I could kind of surf, but had no future as a professional. I decided to start shooting photos of friends to see if I could still find a way to sneak onto those dream trips to places like Indo."
Jimmy's immediate knack for capturing blue barrels and faces long as a Hawaiian summer inspired his pursuit of traveling to the best breaks in the world, documenting feats of men and women who make wave-riding look like spreading jam on a piece of bread.
His official career began at Eastern Surf Magazine as a twenty-year-old photo editor then climbed further at Surfing Magazine from 2008 until 2017. His notoriety increased with every frame, earning him a two-time Red Bull Illume Finalist and wild highlights, including witnessing Owen Right's perfect heat in Fiji and Kelly Slater's ten-point air in New York.
Jimmy is currently the online content editor for Vans Surf and one of the tour's most respected eyes behind a lens. He resides in the beach community of Cardiff in Southern California.
Though Jimmy's dream of scoring waves for cash quickly faded under the scrutiny of being a realist, he's since hardly taken a day off from doing what he loves most.
He was recently carried off the beach a few weekends ago after winning The Wavestorm Classic at Beacons and given a C-note to cover the cost of celebrations. Old dreams die hard.
"I surf almost every day. But part of my dilemma is that when the waves are good I'm taking photos."
Acquiring the 5'2 JT Vegan Fish after watching Ivan Florence ripping on a Dark Arts board has been an equalizer for the paltry offerings of summer surf in Southern California.
"It's the shortest board I've ever owned, so I thought it might take some time to get used to, but within my first few waves, I knew I had something I loved for surf in Cardiff. If felt like it had a turbo boost through flat sections but still held on the rail. I find myself catching waves I would've normally never looked at. You can make something out of nothing on this thing."
He says he rarely musters up the energy to surf where it's packed and would take an average wave all day before jostling for position on a cracker.
It's just as well he found the Dark Arts Fish and that he's a nice guy because, with all that speed, he'd be catching everything anyway.
Surfer Level: Advanced
Current Board: JT Vegan Fish
Next Board: JT Ronson and Ronson
"I find myself catching waves I would’ve normally never looked at." - Jimmy Wilson
Photography : Monica Hoover