Like gold dust coming through your Insta feed

During a WavePoolMag trip to Surf Lakes, we were fortunate enough to meet Rambo Estrada. The photographer was on site to document the experience for assembled investors, contractors, and celebs. Rambo captured the entire three-day event from both land and water. Some images were used for promotional purposes by Surf Lakes, while most simply filled the Instagram accounts of the visitors.

However, the overflow was simply amazing. We felt bad that so much digital gold should evaporate into the ether. To compensate, we’ve gathered a fistful of Rambo’s work that we think illustrates his keen eye for the more sublime side of surfing in a wave pool. We also reached out to learn more about his story and photography.

What is your photography background?

I’m a self-taught freelance photographer from New Zealand, but I’m a bit of a geek. I actually love the technical side of photography and get amped on all the numbers involved in creating a photo. I’ve been shooting full time for 10 years. 

Tell us a little about shooting at Surf Lakes

Surf Lakes is my favorite place to shoot ever. I spend months on the road searching for waves like that and to be able to just dial them up on demand is just amazing. 

How did you start shooting photos at Surf Lakes? Is it full-time?

I don’t actually shoot specifically for Surf Lakes. I was just in Australia and it was on my bucket list to visit so I hit them a DM. We ended up spending 2 weekends there. 

What is the best thing about shooting Surf Lakes?

Because the lake is round, and you can shoot from land, water and air, the compositions are infinite. The natural backdrop is beautiful and the crazy looking Mad Max style machinery looks so cool in photos. 

What is the worst thing about shooting Surf Lakes?

The waves are so perfect and so frequent that it’s near impossible to just chill. Every time I hear the little alarm spark up indicating that a sets incoming I just gotta drop everything and shoot. 

Share with us something most people don’t know about Surf Lakes.

I think it’s the most efficient wave pool model as there’s four different two-way peaks and the commercial version will have six wave sets. So within 90 seconds or so you can have 48 people all surfing peeling waves. Each peak is a different intensity of wave too, so it caters to all levels of surfing at the same time. 

“Nothing I’ve ever experienced in photography comes close to the exhilaration of shooting from the water in heavy waves. I love going on surf trips and translating the good times into great images.”

– Rambo Estrada