I received an email from the fellas at The Surfer’s Journal as I was waiting in an airport. They wanted me to create images of Peter “PT” Townend to supplement a feature story. They sent specific instructions to give it a “Jack series” treatment. I remember thinking “this is so rad!” I’m a huge fan of the magazine, so this was a killer opportunity.
They allowed me the creative freedom to try something different. But before I got started, I needed to do some research on PT. First, I found out that he has this thing about the color pink. He’s a bit quirky about it – pink surfboards, shoes, blazers even his watch is pink. This love of pink came from his mom back in the 70s. She told PT to wear pink out in the water so judges can easily see him during contests.
I also found out that he never received a trophy, when he became the first world champion of surfing. During Kelly Slater’s recent world champion (of surfing) acceptance speech, he called PT up and gave him a trophy. A lovely gesture, yet long over due.
Last and I think the most important; PT has been a constant supporter of professional surfing throughout the years. His latest project is seeding pro surfing into China. He has been working on this for the past three years.
For the project, I created this character of PT being “Mr. Surfing” and it was about time Mr. Surfing got an intern. What better intern to have, than a hot babe? When further developing this narrative, I wondered how Mr. Surfing got his intern to wear the things she wore to work. Was this her idea to impress him? Was it his requirement, kind of like a uniform? Did she live there, traipsing around in next-to-nothing?
The character of The Babe had to tolerate him, but needed to be visibly annoyed with his antics. This was something I talked with Megan (the model) about during the shoot.
One final note: In a cool coincidental twist, Megan is the girlfriend of pro surfer Tim Reyes. PT has known Tim since he was a little kid. So there was this cool flow to the shoot. Everyone got along and was open to ideas.
You can see the mood board inspiring the project here