Sam Hearn on landing Carve's front cover

The Cornish surfer Sam Hearn, one of Animal's surf ambassadors, scored not only pumping waves but the front cover of Carve magazine - one of Europe’s biggest surf publications. Below, he tells us how he got there and what's next.


Getting the perfect shot

The forecast was lining up perfectly for a good week of waves with different conditions for many spots, so I called up a good friend Luke Gartside, one of UK’s best photographers, and invited him to stay for a week to shoot the swell. Two days later, he was walking up an down the Portuguese beaches finding the best angles for photos. We surfed many different spots throughout the week and got everything we wanted in the first couple days, with the best day yet to come!

We woke up at 4:30am, got ready and drove to one of my favourite waves in the area. Everything in the forecast was perfect, and I was confident that it was gonna be a good day. We arrived and looked down over the big Portuguese cliffs to a perfectly clean barrelling left hander, so we quickly ran back to the car and started to get ready. Luke was just as excited as I was - not because of the waves, but the sunrise light that was shining through them.

I paddled out and Luke set up on the other side of the bay waiting for me to catch a few waves before the sun was too high to make the golden light. Within 40 minutes, I had many barrels and knew we could have some crazy shots. I got out the water, and Luke was so excited about the shots he got that he thought straight away there could be a cover shot, but needed to pull it up on the big screen to have a proper look.

Making front cover of Carve's 30th Anniversary Edition

Luke sent of a big selection of shots from the week to Steve, Editor at Carve, from lifestyle shots to skate an surf action captions. Steve liked the look of them and asked Luke to write up a story to go along with the images. A few weeks later,  Carve released their 30th Anniversary Edition, and I was blown away to have scored the front cover, which is so special to me, not only that but an eight-page article about myself and the path chosen after deciding to travel the world for quality waves with good people instead of following the competition route.

By age 18 and just finishing the junior age category, I was ready to have a break
from competition surfing, as I started to dislike the experience of the whole competitive environment. So travelling the world for big tubes was my goal, as well as to enjoy surfing more than ever whilst getting footage along the way. The article covers my yearly travel plans and favourite things to do, the area I live in and what it has to offer, also what I get up to throughout the year.

In this day getting a feature in a magazine isn’t the same as it was 20 years ago,  as social media is taking over and everyone wants to be featured on the main surfing accounts instead. However, a cover shot will be remembered forever as it’s so special me.

Photographing surfing is so difficult because it takes so many variables to to get the perfect shot, from the light and the back drop to the angle of the shot
and the surfer’s positioning on the wave. So when everything does line up, it’s a piece of art, and the photo that made it on the cover is one of my favourites.


What’s next?

I’m looking forward to this year ahead and keen to visit new places and get more footage to eventually create a small documentary style surf film. I’ve never had the chance to make a full film, so I’m super excited to see how it turns out. I would love to make a living out of surfing and, without competition, this is the road often followed by free surfers, creating surf content and films and passing it to brands to

A special thanks

I’m so lucky to have the help I get from my sponsors to be able to travel and do what I love, Animal is a core English surf brand and it’s special to represent
them and bring the products and brand outside of Europe into the big surf world. They’ve helped me for a few years now to go to places I had dreamed of going
to get footage and content for the brand. The process is so fun - travelling, meeting new people, surfing new places, and making good connections and
contacts along the way. From travelling for the past decade to surf destinations, I’ve made some amazing friends from all across the world. For me, that’s much more special than winning a competition and travelling to the next one to do it over again.

So cool how a five minute phone call turned into getting a front cover shot of Carve magazine. A massive thanks to Luke for getting the shots, and to Steve for seeing potential in the photos. I’ve had many features over the years in Carve but a cover is by far one of my biggest achievements. I am over the moon with it and
hopefully we can make it happen again!