Employee of the Month: Blaise Booth of The Surf Ranch
One Instagram feed, in particular, captured our attention early last year. The BlaiseyShootz feed kept up our interest with fresh perspectives and action of Kelly’s Wave in Lemoore. Not an easy task. Images of Kelly’s Dream in Lemoore have become as perfunctory and comfortable as living room furniture. And digital pixels of a Felipe alley-pop during the CT comp is the equivalent of a nap on the sofa.
Blaise Booth works at the Surf Ranch. We reached out to do a story, heard back, then heard nothing – most likely lost in the DM abyss of a popular Instagrammer. For someone fastidious enough to craft super-clean digital imagery, Mr. Booth seemed aloof and scattered. Fortunately, after a couple of message bumps, he came through with the goods. So why did we persist when we have better things to do? Well, we see something in the dude’s work. Shooting a wave pool is easy. Finding a fresh riff on the world’s most famous wave pool takes talent.
What is your photography background?
So I got into photography when my dad had a camera laying around after I finished playing football. I just started taking it around when I was out with friends or going on trips etc. Then I realized “Shit, this is pretty damn cool.” I could look back on memories instantly, and who doesn’t like seeing photos of themselves. From there I thought this is something I could be getting paid to do. I started doing work for free to build my portfolio and now fast forward 6-7 years and here we are today. But it’s not so much stills now though, it’s mostly video.
Tell us a little about surfing at the Surf Ranch
Oh man, where do I even start. It’s literally a perfect wave for one minute that works 365 days out of the year. Where else would you find that? It’s honestly insane. But what people don’t see is the whole day experience you get there. On social media, you only see the wave. But there’s more to it. You get breaky, lunch, and dinner (which is outstanding), there’s a lake parallel to the pool where you can wake surf, wakeboard, etc. They have e-bikes so you can check out the wave from all around the pool. Coaches on-site going over video review with you. The list goes on and on
How did you start shooting photos at the Surf Ranch? Is it full-time?
I started working for John Decesare, legendary ski movie producer and WSL cinematographer. He happens to be the stepdad of one of my best friends from middle school. So after I hung up the cleats, I asked if I could intern for him. He always knew I had a knack for video and photos so he gave me a shot. So how it works with us is if the people renting out the pool want video services, we get hired as a production team.
What is the vibe like at the Surf Ranch – super serious or playful?
Strictly good, happy vibes. The amount of smiles I’ve seen when people see it for the first time is so awesome man. It’s like a kid in a candy shop. A surfer’s Disneyland as I call it. And what adds to that vibe is the staff. Surf coaches are always trying to help you out, be encouraging, and try to get you the best wave of your life. And the hospitality team as well, always checking on you if you need anything and whatnot. It’s just awesome how they run things there.
What is the best thing about the Surf Ranch
Best thing……. hard to say honestly. But it’d have to go with the environment of that place. Yes, obviously the wave’s mental, but if you had staff there that acted like they didn’t want to be there, it would suck. The energy is always pumping with positivity and encouragement and stoke.
What is the worst thing about the Surf Ranch?
The cow shit smell hahaha.
Share with us something most people don’t know about the Surf Ranch.
I’d say that most people don’t know there are a handful of wave types you can choose from. From an open-face one to a double-barrel to a Waikiki-style mushy wave – it’s all up to whoever has priority.