Most people don’t think of Texas as a surf destination, but the gulf coast of Texas is home to a fiercely dedicated community of wave riders. Pentagram’s Austin office, led by partner DJ Stout and lead designer Barrett Fry, designed one of the first serious visual explorations of the Texas gulf coast surf scene. Surf Texas, published by the University of Texas Press with a foreword by Stephen Harrigan, showcases the lovingly crafted black-and-white images of Austin photographer Kenny Braun. Braun grew up surfing the gulf coast and has been documenting the landscape and culture of Texas beaches for over a decade. His photographs are not the typical, high-octane color shots that populate most surfer magazines. Though the book includes plenty of action shots, Braun’s images of the landscape and the people who make up its rag-tag surfing culture are quieter and decidedly more contemplative.
The designers added other features to make Surf Texas as atypical as the surf spot itself. “Because Kenny has been photographing the Texas surf scene on and off now for so long,” says Stout, “and because he has a record of when he shot each picture, it gave us the idea to include a small tide chart with each photograph in the book.” The team accessed tide data from an international surf report called magicseaweed, which was happy to help out. “It’s interesting to see the relative surf activity that corresponds with the day an image was taken,” Stout says. “It’s a unique device that graphically represents a die-hard surfer’s obsession with waves.”