orn and raised in Port Elizabeth on South Africa’s southeastern coast, Surfer Magazine Photo Editor Grant Ellis has been in the water his whole life. He has ridden swells in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. He has narrowly escaped getting battered by a rogue 15-foot wave at Dungeons near Cape Town while shooting from a Zodiac boat. Grant has followed the world’s Top 44 surfers around the globe as a journalist for the Association of Surfing Professionals.
But much as he loves his home continent’s world-class breaks-Jeffreys Bay is a particular favorite-it was a trip to Hawaii in 1998, to shoot portraits of the Sticky Bumps surf team, that tipped the scales from surfing as a passion to a career. “After seeing the North Shore and what was going on over there, I decided there and then this was where I wanted to be. I knew photography would help me get there, and it did.”
A three-year degree in commercial photography had already provided Ellis with firm grounding in the darkroom, and after a few years of shooting surf both at home and in California, he was hired at Surfer in August 2003 to run their photo department.