The urge to ride a wave, the search for the next perfect swell, is an enduring preoccupation that draws people to coastlines around the world. In recent decades, surfing has grown into a multimillion-dollar industry with over three million surfers in the United States alone and an international competitive circuit that draws top surfers to legendary beaches in Hawaii, California, and Australia. But away from the crowds and the hype, dedicated surfers catch waves in places like the Texas Gulf Coast for the pure pleasure of being in harmony with life, their sport, and the ocean. Kenny Braun knows that primal pleasure, as both a longtime Texas surfer and a fine art photographer who has devoted years to capturing the surf culture on Texas beaches. In Surf Texas, he presents an eloquent photo essay that portrays the enduring fascination of surfing, as well as the singular and sometimes unexpected beauty of the coast.
Texas is one of the top six surfing states in America, and Braun uses evocative black-and-white photography to reveal the essence of the surfers’ world from Galveston to South Padre. His images catch the drama of shooting the waves, those moments of skill and daring as riders rip across the breaking face, as well as the downtime of bobbing on swells like seabirds and hanging out on the beach with friends. Braun also photographs the place—beaches and dunes, skies and storms, surf shops, motels, and parking lots—with a native’s knowing eye for defining details. Elegant and timeless, this vision of the Texas Coast is redolent of sea breezes and salt air and the memories and dreams they evoke. Surfer or not, everyone who feels the primeval attraction of wind and waves will enjoy Surf Texas.
Braun is best known for his environmental portraiture, landscape, and editorial photography. His work has appeared in Texas Monthly, Texas Highways, Southern Living, Wired, Spirit, and Women’s Health, as well as The Salt Lick Cookbook.
“In Surf Texas you’ll find a number of images from almost every type of camera you can imagine, both digital and film. From Holgas and disposable waterproof 35mm cameras to digital point-and-shoots and DSLRs, if it snapped a photo, Braun probably used it.”
"Braun's decades of familiarity with the Texas surf culture are on display in "Surf Texas," published by the University of Texas Press this spring. In it, he captures the euphoric highs of carving the waves - in one shot, a trio of surfers are joined by a dolphin - as well as the quieter moments of hanging out on the beach, all presented in a nostalgic black and white."
"Surf Texas is a book so good that you’ll be desperate to keep it where it can be seen by anyone who might be passing idly through your living room."
—It's Nice That
"Surf Texas is a cool and stark new photo essay that looks at what it’s like to be a surfer in Texas."
"Texas isn’t generally considered a great place to surf, but there are good waves to be found if you know when and where to look. Photographer Kenny Braun is one of those people."
"This book is more than just a coffee table book. It is a nod to the Texas surfing community, evoking an emotional response that only comes from turning the pages."
—Julie Leiendecker, The Examiner