Louis Wulff


For the last couple of decades Louis Wulff has owned East London and surrounds. His photographic work almost defines the region when it comes to surf.

Getting in the water with a housing in those ominous waters is as sketchy as it comes. There are some big critters lurking. Initially he worked off a bodyboard, but nowadays he uses a jetski to get into those enviable positions that define his pics and make them very much his own.

When did you start surfing? 

I started surfing in 1973 at Milnerton Lighthouse in Cape Town.

When did you start photography? 

I first bought a Kodak Ikelite housing for a Kodak Instamatic point-and-shoot in 1975.  Jeez the shots were bad. My Dad then bought me a Minolta SRT 100X with some weird pirate 500mm lens in 1976 so I have been shooting since 1976.

What equipment do you use? 

I love Canon. My favourite body is the EOS 5D Mark 3 for its full frame sensor, amazing auto-focus and versatility.  Other than that, I have a 70-200mm f 2.8L Canon lens; A 500 mm Canon f4L lens; a 15 mm fisheye lens; 10-22mm wide angle zoom and 3 more bodies – Canon 40D, 50D and 7D.  I shoot from the water with my 40D in a SPL water housing and my 50D in a home made housing.

Briefly on how you started out at BTalk?

I was getting frustrated with the lack of exposure for the Eastern Cape in Zigzag and connected with Sean who already ran BT in PE. We have expanded it to the Eastern and Southern Cape. Our main focus is on developing the surfing community in our area and we are getting so much support from local industry, surfing administartors like Johnny Bakker as well as the community. Its great to be able to run shots of ballies and kids who would not feature elsewhere.

I’ve also started a section called backstory and I’d dig to get a funny or scary story about your experiences?

About 3 years ago I started to get a really bad feeling about shooting the deep-water points here in East London off my bodyboard. I had been doing this since ’86 with no problem but for some reason this premonition was making me nervous. So I decided to buy a jetski to shoot off. On my third shoot off the ski, I was shooting cranking Nahoon Reef when I felt a huge jolt to the ski and saw a large great white cruise past me. Luckily I didnt fall off the ski (haha). Weird how that works hey? I find myself asking whether I truly had a premonition? Either way, that ws my first hectic encounter and I’m stoked that I was on my ski.  

We’re so stoked to have Louis contribute to KW™. Watch out for more of his great shots.