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Creator Profile: Southwest France's Clément Philippon





Creator Profile

As soon as the young creative got his first set of film prints back from the developer, he was hooked

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 30 April, 2017 - Clément Philippon is a 35-year-old grom-at-heart from Bordeaux whose life revolves around the ocean. A while back Philippon discovered the best way to combine his passion for surfing and photography was to unite the two under the job title "surf photographer." The enthusiastic lenseman has done a good job of it as he can now call himself a full-time photographer.

Where are you from and what do you shoot with?

I am from Bordeaux and "Bassin d'Arcachon" - more precisely from Cap Ferret where I spent my childhood. I mainly shoot with Canon 7D and Liquid Eyes Water Housing and sometimes with a 5D Mark III when I'm on the tele-lens.


How did surf photography start for you?

I'm a fan of surfing and photography, so I asked my parents to offer me for my 12th birthday a waterproof film camera to be able to satisfy my two passions. As soon as my first prints were developed, I was hooked and now I never go to the beach without my caisson (water housing) ... and my surfboard of course! The best point is to be able to alternate between surf sessions and photo sessions!

As soon as the swell and conditions are good, I call and gather up some friends and we organize a nice photo session.



Share with us something that most people do not know about surf photography.

Surf photography requires a steep learning curve and a very good knowledge of a region and its quirks: bays, currents, tide, etc. I was a competitive swimmer for 10 years and "MNS" (lifeguard) in Lacanau for six seasons, I learned to know how the Girond area beaches work and then succeeded in taking beautiful pictures. You have to know the currents, the tides and know how to read the sandbanks to make good pictures. You have to be on the beach a lot to look after the changing surfing landscape and check conditions constantly.

And when all the conditions align, you must also have the most motivated mates who will join you to make the photo session a success. Trust and complicity with my friends is the magical recipe to create beautiful pictures.

Share with us your heaviest experience in the surf or while travelling.

One of my best experiences was to shoot at the Lacanau Pro 2010 for the "Cash for Trick Event" with Gabriel Medina and Joan Duru! Around twenty pro surfers in the ocean throwing tricks up and down the beach and everywhere and you didn't know in which direction to turn your camera! It was a great memory of my beginnings as an aquatic photographer and a huge motivation to pursue my dream !


Name one photographic image you saw that changed the way you approach photography.

No picture in particular has changed my approach to photography but it's more a single photographer! Maybe it's not original but as soon as I discovered the work of Clark Little in Hawaii's Shore Break, it really made me want to try to do the same. Today, I do some exhibitions, with my favorite theme "Wave of my Region".

I love to highlight the landscapes and nature of our beautiful Atlantic coast and the exhibitions are always the occasion to discuss photos and meet enthusiasts of the ocean.

What has been your proudest moment as a photographer?

As a photographer, my greatest pride were my publications for the Storm Rider France Guide. It is a guide that I particularly appreciate and always read during my travels. Then the day I received the France edition with a dozen of my pictures and my name written on the first pages, it was a great pleasure for me and a kind of consecration to the art of photography. I was glad to think that many foreign surfers coming to try our French waves, were going to trust some of my pictures to look for the best spots - just like me when I go to explore countries looking for surf!

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