Christa Funk Photo: Heff

Lens Women- Christa Funk

Why does Christa Funk shoot from the water at Pipeline, Sunset and Jaws during heavy winter season swells on the North Shore? “I try and stay uncomfortable,” the 26-year- old says. “And use different lenses and techniques.” This consistent uncomfort has paid dividends, placing Christa front and center of headlining swells and the most prominent competitors. A product of the Maritime Academy, Christa also works for the Coast Guard in Honolulu when she isn’t shooting. Self taught, self motivated and self propelled, Christa’s overarching goal is “to shoot pictures that people remember. If my photos can have impact in some way, even if the photo takes one person somewhere else than where they are, that’s a success.”

“I don’t know if I have a definitive style. Anytime I’m shooting, especially at Pipe, there’s a pecking order I try to respect that especially if I have an idea of who someone is, staff photographers for a magazine I get behind them or try and position myself so I’m not in their shots. As far as being a female, I don’t notice it too much because of my background. I went to the Coast Guard academy, the majority of the work I’m doing in the Coast Guard is guy’s work. The majority of people I work with are men in that arena, even surfing before that, most of the people in the lineup were guys – it wasn’t new. ”

“The first winter I shot at Pipeline, it was a kind of a shifty double-triple-overhead day, it was big, solid 9 feet and no other photographer had gone out yet. I had got some solid shots and was excited. I didn’t get under one, I remember getting ripped back, housing ripped out of my hand. It seems like when you get ripped back you come up and you’re in the perfect place to take the rest of the set on your head. I hit the bottom, dragged…but I figured it was going to happen. It was inevitable.”


“One of my favorite compliments when I give a photo to someone or do a shoot is that they love what they have, they’re very excited about it. That’s what’s rewarding about surf photography — when you give a surfer an image they say “this is awesome, thank you so much”, they genuinely like it, they’re saying it because it’s a good photo. That’s something I love about it.”


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