Swimming In Surf During New England Winter by Cate Brown
People will message me asking questions like I’m an expert. What equipment do you use? How do you shoot from the water? How did you get started? I’ve been photographing for about as long as I could hold a camera, and professionally for 7 years now. But I didn’t start swimming with the camera in surf until about 8 months ago. I’m no expert.
My friends will tell you it took forever for me to even sit inside. I’m a cautious swimmer. Rhode Island summers are known for flat spells or waist high waves in summer, with the heavy stuffhitting during hurricane season in the fall or nor’easters in winter. I started swimming in June, and by October I had back to back trips to Ireland and Nova Scotia. Now, we’re well into a New England winter and I think I’ve found some confidence in the water.
I still know my limits, but if I’m motivated to suit up, I just have to do it. Just suit up and get in while it’s tempting. If I sit and think on the shore too long I might never go in, and it’s when I’m in the water that I’m happiest of all. You’ll find me somewhere in the lineup along the shores of Rhode Island, probably at one of the point breaks, flopping around like a happy seal. Because even if it’s -15°F windchill like last week, I’ll still have a smile on my face.