Like many surfers before him, Shaun Smith started bringing a camera in the water to shoot his friends and document his own rides, as a way to relive the fun. He bought a GoPro to wear on a helmet while riding his bodyboard, but the waves are often small where he lives, down in Orange County, California. And he just wanted to do something different.
In the meantime, a real mini-waves movement was emerging on multiple continents, reaching a mainstream audience when Dom Bakarich created a viral photoshop of a mini-wave shaped like Teahupoo, which had people wondering if it was real or fake. Since then, Shaun’s Instagram account garnered over 65k followers, but each post got heavily scrutinised … “To be honest,” he said, “I just get burned out on social media. For the last couple years I’ve lost followers and get about half the interaction I used to. I think that bugged me for a long time, and that’s why I wanted to delete my account. Once I realized that it’s a silly app on my phone, and I personally think my content is getting better, then who cares!”