Since the post in which I ran a photo I took of a snow wave on the beach near my house, my life has taken a crazy turn. How crazy? We’re talking Dane Reynolds man-hack crazy (for non-surfing readers, let’s say a mayor smoking crack and being allowed to stay in office crazy). I know, cray cray, huh?
It all started because my dogs had been cooped up inside for two days due to the snow. I walked them to the beach to poop and…bam, there they were – perfect little snow barrels all over the sand. While the dogs stood shivering and fought off frostbite on their paws, I whipped out my phone and got the shot.
People loved that photo so much that I went back out the next day and took a bunch more snow wave images. I started a website to sell prints online, and business went gangbusters almost overnight.
Since then, I’ve had orders from all over the world. Kim Jong Un, or whatever his name is, ordered a huge print for his firing squad waiting room. Justin Bieber wrote in an email, “That shat is dope!!! I want one fo my crib. Got some stuff to take care of down in Miami but I be gettin back witchoo soon.”
It doesn’t end there. The New York Times ran a profile on my burgeoning new career, which I’ve exerpted here:
There are giants in their respective fields, mavericks who stand head and shoulders above the rest, but Jason Borte, a former author who wrote the Kelly Slater bio Pipe Dreams as well as an instructional manual, The Kook’s Guide to Surfing, is more than that. He IS the field. Without him there is no such thing as snow wave photography.
“I wonder what someone would say if they saw me at work,” said Borte from his studio in the poshest section of Virginia Beach. “I’m wandering around a snowy beach like some lost puppy. If I saw me I’d say, ‘Look at that dumbass, he probably lost his keys in the snow.'”
What people don’t understand, and cannot possibly appreciate, is what goes in to getting the shot. After years of searching for the perfect wave to ride, he still spends his days looking for the perfect wave. Only now it’s on the beach, and it’s made of snow, and he can’t ride it.
“It hasn’t snowed this much in decades,” Jason said of Winter Storm Leon, the system that delievered nearly a foot of the white stuff across the Mid-Atlantic. “Then when it does snow like this, the winds have to be just right. And it’s not just point and shoot like that stupid Ashton Kutcher commercial. I’m squatting down, and this is snow so it’s cold. And it isn’t like these waves are big. I can’t just wade into the shorepound like Clark Little and swim inside these things, or hang out underwater like Brian Bielmann. These waves are six inches tall. I’ve got to reach down with my iphone and stick it in the tube. Those other guys can’t pull this off. I mean, they live in Hawaii. There’s no snow.”
Borte continues to direct his efforts into pioneering the field of snow wave photography. All he has to do is wait for the next snow day, a day that may not come for another year, or longer. “This isn’t easy. There’s no manual for photographing snow waves. The way my business has taken off, I don’t have the time or I’d write one. Maybe I should hire a ghost writer. I wonder if Kelly Slater is busy.”