Surf tribe in Kunsthal Rotterdam

In the exhibition Surf Tribe, Belgian photographer Stephan Vanfleteren exposes a culture which focuses mainly on a deep respect for the ocean. Vanfleteren looks beyond the traditional surf spots of California and Hawaii and goes around the world looking for people who live in places where oceans touch the land. He records an almost fluid community, with nature as its master. More than seventy black-and-white portraits show the persons behind the surfers, in all their strength and vulnerability. What connects them is the love for the water and the addiction to the waves. The sense of nothingness against the forces of nature, the won and lost battles – with others, but especially with themselves.


Surf Tribe shows young talent, surf icons and living legends – league surfers, freesurfers and surfing hippies – including Kelly Slater, Gerry Lopez, John John Florence, Laird Hamilton, Bethany Hamilton, Greg Noll, Stephanie Gilmore, Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Mickey Munoz, Filipe Toledo and Tom Carroll. No action photos on the azure waves but serene black-and-white portraits in Vanfleteren’s haunting style.

Stephan Vanfleteren Oct. 13 2018 – Jan. 13 2019

More information: