Erik Aeder is one of the top windsurfing photographers in the world, making his mark at Ho'okipa shooting the stars of the sport. He was born in Seatte and grew up in La Jolla. Erik began surfing there in '69, and would shoot photos of the local surfers, developing the B&W photos, selling them to surfers for a quarter. After university in Guam he became hooked on tropical waters, dropping out to travel the world and shoot surfing after his first photos were published in '72. These travels came to a brief halt when he reached Maui. Shooting surfing by day and working as a waiter at night, he first shot some Super 8 movies of windsurfers off Kaanapali beach.
We'll let him tell the rest of the story: "I would swim out to the wind line and film them blasting by and I thought this sport was kinda cool and I wonder if they are doing it in the waves? Then I heard that a few guys (I had not met Mike or Matt yet) were sailing at Hookipa when it was too windy for the surfers and there was going to be a contest so I took my first wave shots of windsurfing at the 1980 contest there. I thought it was close enough to surfing and if I could make some money from it I would shoot it up and try to make a living. Surfer magazine sent me to South America in 1982 and I swam and shot some windsurfing on Rio de la Plata in Argentina and in the desert of northern Chile and also on a side trip we did out to Easter Island. At this point I could see the sport was taking off around the world so when I got back to Maui I began shooting it as much as possible. I loved the different dynamics from surfing and shooting water shots it didn’t take long to realize I needed a helmet if just to feel better about getting cracked in the head. By 1985 I was swimming and shooting with my colleagues and friends, Jonathan Weston, Darrell Wong, Peter Sterling and getting advise from seasoned pros and good friends from shooting surfing- Steve Wilkings and Art Brewer. I stated learning to windsurf with my west side buddy Brent, Bboy, Schlea who began shaping some nice boards for Matt. I learned out of Kapalua bay which was probably the most difficult place to at due to the extended reefs at the entrance to the bay. My favorite moment in shooting windsurfing was the first days at Jaws when it was an undiscovered spot and the guys charged off the rocks and risked it all to have a little fun and some thrills. My favorite moment sailing was when I finally made a jibe at Mama’s reef. I loved the helicopter rides when I could lie on the floor and stick my camera out the door and be looking straight down at the water in a banking turn. I loved swimming at Hookipa and would listen for the wind in the trees outside my window in the morning to guess if it was going to be a shooting day. I put a camera housing on a ten foot aluminum pole that I would hoist up with a grunt and get a low flying helicopter looking shot. If I could be remembered for anything it was the variety of angles I tried to produce and the length of my shooting career (I’m so fortunate to still be swimming and shooting it today….)" Erik Aeder, 12-13-2021
All you can say is, "Wow. Just Wow!" Jason Polakow catching a rare La Perouse winner. Photo Aeder
Erik and Kirk Aeder, sharing their passion for surf photography.
Erik getting ready to swim out or in. Si Crowther photo.
Erik carved out three pukas with his tripod at Jaws.
And of course, there's the commercial side. A guy's gotta make a living.
And the editorial. Pays for film. What's that?
Cool mounts with Mickey Eskimo always paid the rent. Photo Aeder
Erik's pole mount. Hey Big Al! Up here!
Kalama, Angulo, ?, Boyd, Naish, Pat O'neill. Photo Aeder