Capturing Giants with Big Wave Surf Photographer Sachi Cunningham

Sachi Cunningham is a trailblazer in the field of big wave photography. As one of the only photographers to swim out to the break, she braves frigid waters, massive waves and sharks to capture stunning images unlike anybody else’s. Cunningham started shooting photos of women on waves because she never saw photos of women surfing. She believes that seeing images of women surfing can change people’s perceptions and inspire more women to get into the sport.

Sachi’s work as a documentary filmmaker includes Chasing the Swell, which documents some of the world’s top big wave surfers, and SheChange , which follows a crew of female big wave surfers and depicts the challenges these women face in a male-dominated sport. Sachi’s work has helped to increase the visibility of women in big wave surfing and has helped to change the landscape of the sport.

Sachi Cunningham is a pioneer water photographer at San Francisco’s notoriously treacherous break, Ocean Beach. An award-winning filmmaker and photojournalist with degrees from Brown University and UC Berkeley, she is a rare female voice in the field of surf storytellers. Her work has taken her from the deserts of Iraq to the shores of the Amazon for outlets including PBS Frontline, the NYTimes, LA Times, and top surf magazines. She mentors young filmmakers as a professor of journalism at San Francisco State University. A cancer survivor and mother, Cunningham has been included in both Surfline’s list of top filmmakers and Surfer Magazine’s list of top water photographers.

This program was organized by Phoebe Piper.