Michael Dyrland is a photographer based out of Washington. On a trip to Los Angeles for a shoot, Michael was hoping to score some classic California days and get into the ocean for some epic surf. The conditions Michael encountered were not exactly what he had hoped for, following and evening of heavy rainfall, he was confined to the beach for several days because the ocean was contaminated with ten billion gallons of run off. As Michael puts it, the contamination was composed of “sewage, garbage, oil, and shit (literally, human fecal matter).” Michael made the decision not to paddle out to avoid being vulnerable to staph infections, respiratory illness, MRSA and Hepatitis C.
While Michael may not have made it into the water these days, he was inspired. The trip gave root to what would become HAZMAT Surfing, a photographic series shot by Michael Dyrland and Mike Marshall, which imagines what life might be like in twenty or twenty-five years, when our waters have become so polluted that they could only be entered wearing full biohazard gear.
Dyrland teamed up with the Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit which is devoted to protecting our beaches and oceans. He chose Venice beach as a location for the shoot because of its world-wide relevance to surfing and the surf community. Dyrland, needed not only permission from the authorities to stage and shoot but also participation from the lifeguards to arrange the shoot. He also reminds us that “There are many spots in the ocean that are worse off than Los Angeles,” and hopes to expand the the HAZMAT surfing project to beaches around the globe.
Dyrland has appreciated our relationship with the sea throughout his life and enjoys seafood and swimming. “The truth is, it’s only getting worse,” says Dyrland and finds himself returning to the plant and animal life which call the ocean home and the people who are ingesting the contaminated sea life. So far, Dyrland has funded the project on his own and says that it is his passion for conservation that drives the project forward. “We just need to address the current issues and work together toward improving ocean pollution,”.
Growing up near the ocean, I personally owe so much of my experience in photography to the sea. While I haven’t seen contamination as bad as it is in LA, I agree with Dyrland’s concern and truly believe that the issues need to be addressed. Being an avid surfer and surf photographer, I enjoy these photographs but love the message behind them. Big thanks to Dyrland and everyone involved in his HAZMAT Surfing project for their efforts to spread awareness about the contamination of our oceans. If you are interested in finding out more about HAZMAT Surfing you can check out Dyrland Productions or view his work on Facebook.
via Feature Shoot