Take it yourself
Be prepared, because shooting watersport is all about capturing the optimum moment.
DLSR Use a fast (f/2.8 if possible) telephoto lens such as a 70-200mm, and add a 2X converter to get a bit more zoom. Or use a longer lens like a 100-400mm, or up to 600mm. You’ll need a monopod or tripod with these heavy lenses for extra stability and to save your arms. COMPACT Use one of the new superzoom cameras on the sports setting, combined with a lightweight tripod.
Shooting with a fast shutter speed is a must, both to avoid camera shake from your telephoto lens and to freeze the action. Start from anything above 1/500 sec but upward of around 1/1200 sec for faster action. Aperture can be wide open to allow as much light in as possible for close-up shots, but if you are pulling back you will need a higher aperture (around f/8) to get more of the scene in focus. Try and keep your ISO as low as possible for best results, but if you find the exposure is still a bit dark, bring up the ISO. If there is still movement in the water or your subject, increase the shutter speed and push the ISO up to compensate for the loss of light. Set your auto focus to AI Servo – the camera will constantly refocus as you move with your subject (turn the page for more info about auto focus). Combine it with a high-speed continuous (multi-shutter/motor-drive) setting, which will give you the best possible chance of capturing the shot.
Plan your trip to the beach by checking local weather reports for swell predictions, and calendars for events like kitesurfing competitions or sailing regattas.
Shoot surf shots during a large swell in the early morning or late afternoon.
Backlit waves are stunning to photograph with a strong focal point like a surfer or bodyboarder. Capture dynamic shots when your subject is doing something like an aerial manoeuvre or a jump. Anticipate the action and press the shutter a split second before the move initiates and hold it down until it is fully complete. Your motor drive will do the rest.