SHUT­TER BUG

Carve - - FOAM - INTERVIEW BY STEVE ENG­LAND PHOTO PHOTOBOSSBALI

YOU MAY HAVE SEEN A FEW SHOTS AP­PEAR­ING THE MAG CRED­ITED: PHOTOBOSSBALI. YOU PROB­A­BLY THOUGHT THEY WERE FROM A TAL­ENTED YOUNG BALINESE LO­CAL, BUT IN FACT THEY ARE FROM A WEST WALES EX-PAT BY THE NAME OF LUKE CROMWELL. LUKE HAS MADE HIS HOME IN INDO MAK­ING A LIV­ING FROM SKIPPERING SURF CHAR­TERS AND SPENDS HIS FREE TIME GET­TING STUN­NING SHOTS WHILE ON LAND.

ow old are you now? And how long have you been out there now?

I am 33-years old and I have been liv­ing in Bali for six years.

HSo how did a Welsh lad end up be­ing a pho­tog­ra­pher in Bali?

So the story be­gan back in Tenby, a small fish­ing town in west Wales, I grew up surf­ing Fresh West but also spent a lot of time in the Llantwit area.

I worked along­side my broth­ers on the crab and lob­ster boats. We would fish as much as we could in the sum­mer months then surf our brains out through the win­ter. Not a bad way to make a liv­ing but af­ter eight years I wanted a change and booked a one-way ticket to In­done­sia.

Dur­ing my first few weeks in Bali I de­cided to do a boat trip to the Mentawai. I was lucky enough to meet some great guys who helped me out and within two months I man­aged to score a job just help­ing out on the boats. In 2013 I was em­ployed by Phil Kiem, owner of Ten­girri surf char­ters, start­ing as deck­hand and work­ing my way up to skip­per and surf guide - "the dream job". While I still froth ev­ery day I some­times get sick of the com­ment “You're liv­ing the dream", as it's not all rain­bows and but­ter­flies. Life at sea in such a re­mote area with un­pre­dictable weather can be very chal­leng­ing at times.

I have been lucky enough to work along­side guys like Tony ‘Doris' Elther­ing­ton (leg­endary Mentawai ex­plorer) and last year spent six months aboard the In­dies Trader 4 (Ratu Motu) ex­plor­ing the east­ern Pacific side of In­done­sia. Get­ting to ex­plore those is­lands with Cap­tain John Shawcross and owner Alan Green (founder of Quiksilver) was a real dream come true.

While life on the char­ters is great my real pas­sion and stoke comes dur­ing my time off the boat. The pho­tog­ra­phy is more of a hobby but I'm al­ways stoked to get a good bar­rel shot, es­pe­cially if it's one of the boys get­ting the wave of his life. I work on a one month on / one month off ba­sis so get a fair bit of time to go chase waves around Bali and In­done­sia al­ways search­ing for that next spot just around the cor­ner.

What are you shoot­ing with?

I pur­chased my first cam­era at the start of 2017, a Canon 5DIII, with an Aquat­ech hous­ing. Since then I have mostly been work­ing with the lo­cal boys but the plan is to try catch up with trav­el­ling surfers from the UK. I set up with the alias ‘Photo Boss Bali' don't ask me why just thought it was a funny name!

So a gaff in Bali and cam­era. You must be re­ally, re­ally pop­u­lar with your mates? Usu­ally I’ve got a full house. I live close to Green­bowl beach on the tip of Bali and there is al­ways a bed avail­able for any bar­rel frothers that come and visit. We still get un­crowded waves and I'm still surf­ing new spots ev­ery year. I have been lucky enough to travel through most of In­done­sia.

What do you have planned for the fu­ture? My goals for the fu­ture are to hope­fully get a few cover shots of Bri­tish charg­ers in In­done­sian bar­rels and if one day I can make a liv­ing chas­ing big bar­rels and doc­u­ment­ing my trav­els I will be one happy chappy. My next mis­sion is to Su­per Suck in Sum­bawa for this next swell which looks like our first proper swell for 2018. Yeeeeoooooowww!

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