Interview – Will Adler

I’d first like to thank Vince Perry for introducing me to Will Adler.  This interview would not have happened if it weren’t for his help.

When I look at Will Adler’s photos it reminds me of the simple times and why we love surfing.  The simplicity of it all and just the moments that we might not remember, he captures it.  It could be his brother, Travers, gliding down the line or an old couple just hanging out at the beach, his pictures tell more stories just from one glance at it and captures that moment in time.  Sometimes we need to just keep it simple and remember those moments in life when we are enjoying ourselves at the beach doing what we love, don’t forget it’s just surfing!  Thanks Will and hope to see you in Taiwan in the future!


Who are you and where are you currently right now?

My names Will and I was in Panama when I first answered this, then I deleted it by mistake. Now I’m in Santa Barbara.

When did you start surfing?

I got my first surfboard on my 10th bday, it was a neon colored 6’2 Rusty.

What was it like growing up for you and surfing in Santa Barbara?

I’m still working on growing up. Surfing in Santa Barbara is great when there is surf. My friends and I would hang out at Hammonds all the time, we made friends with a pizza delivery guy who would bring us pizza down to the beach.  I don’t get pizza’ delivered to the beach anymore but I still hang out there all the time.

When did you start getting interested in taking photographs and specifically surfing photographs?

I got a camera shortly after I finished high school. I felt like my friends and I were doing things worth having pictures of. Surfing was one of these things. Although I have never been super into the action side of surfing- more the process.

What type of equipment are you using when you take photographs?

I have a lot of cameras that I rotate through. For work related things I use a canon digital camera mostly. For my personal projects it’s pretty mixed. I have a Contax point and shoot that I’ve been carrying around for years but mostly just for goofy friend photos.

Any advice for any Taiwanese who want to start taking photography?

If you find yourself having a passion for it, it’s totally worth following. Find a way of taking pictures that feels natural. I think this will show through in the photos.

Your take on surf photography is different than the typical surf photographers.  What makes influences you?

I don’t really follow much in the way of modern day surfing aside from what some of my friends are doing. Here’s a short list of things that inspire me:
Music, Books, Art, Films, Travel, Love

You and your brother, Travers, have been working together and making videos.  A couple of projects have been with Mollusk Surf Shop.  Can you explain how you started your relationship with them?

It started when my friend moved to SF and started working for them. I went in to visit him and they were all super nice and asked if I could make a video of my brother. I was stoked, I’d always really like what they did and all the people who do work for them are all people I look up to. So from there we just kept in touch.

What do you want to see more of in the surf world right now? And what do you want to see less of?

I’m pretty out of touch with most of the surf world. So what I do catch of it is pretty entertaining.  I guess I would like to see more documentary pieces on some of the more eccentric people who surf (I don’t really mean the ones who are already in the spotlight).

Can you give us a typical day in your life?

Sleep, fun, work, stress, procrastinate, eat, sleep. I only really stress when I have the pressure of a deadline looming over my head.

Film or digital? Which is your preference and why?

Well I use both often. For work digital makes more sense and is really what almost all clients want. It also saves a lot of time. For me I prefer the look of film and the feel of my film cameras over my digital. One thing I love about digital is having a video option with you.

Many of your works are in black and white, what’s special about black and white photos for you?

Well when I started I would only shoot black and white film and make all my prints in a darkroom. I don’t print in a darkroom much anymore (which I really miss). I love the look of black and white. Also a lot of times it makes things much easier only having to think about light and dark opposed to all the color that is out there.

Have you heard anything about Taiwan and the surf scene here? If so, what have you heard about it?

I have actually. I use to work in a surf shop in Santa Barbara with my friend Vince Perry who at that time was traveling back and forth between Taiwan a lot. One day I hope to visit.

What meaning does surfing hold for you and how has it changed your life?

Surfing has been a major part of my life ever since I started 20 years ago. It has been one of the major reasons I seek out travel.

It has been hugely helpful as far as giving my photography some direction. Most importantly I have met some of my best friends doing it. I honestly can’t imagine how different my life would be without it.

What is your current surfboard quiver and which board have you been riding the most recently?

I have lots of boards in varying states of decay. The one board that has been living in my van since I got it about a year and a half ago is a 5’3” Deepest Reaches fish –funniest board I’ve ever had.

What can we expect to see more from you in the future?

Well more short films, not all of which have to do with surfing.  Film projects are inspiring me a lot lately.

Any words of advice and wisdom to the Taiwanese people?

Find what inspires you and follow it. Keep an open mind and take the time to look at things.



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