Surfer’s new enterprise set to make waves

Adam with a framed image he took of Footdee.
Adam with a framed image he took of Footdee.

Taking photos of Scotland’s coastline after swimming up to a mile out at sea has helped Adam El-Naggar amass unique images of the North East.

Now, with help from Business Gateway Aberdeen City & Shire, the 25-year-old has launched North Sea Surf Shots to sell his striking images.

Adam, who is one of just a handful of professional surfing photographers in the UK, is also offering a unique service to Aberdeenshire’s burgeoning surfing population – the chance to have him take images of them catching waves from out at sea.

The Aberdeen-based entrepreneur, who originally hails from Dufftown, is now looking for stockists to carry his work which includes canvas and framed prints, acrylic blocks, t-shirts and tote bags.

Adam said: “I’ve always loved surfing and photography and spotted a gap in the market earlier this year to turn my two hobbies into a commercial enterprise, as no one else was documenting Scotland’s coastline from the sea. There are some amazing surf photographers across the world, taking beautiful photos from the water in places like Australia, Hawaii and Indonesia and I didn’t see why I couldn’t do it in Scotland. We’ve got a beautiful coastline as well as some world class waves to be captured, if you’re in the right place at the right time. My photos were also generating a lot of interest on Facebook and Instagram and selling them just seemed the natural step to take.

“I’d been on a local business forum and found out about Business Gateway from there. My adviser’s help sign posting the legal side of getting started was invaluable, as I’d buried my head in the sand about that! She also highlighted networking opportunities which will help connect me with potential customers and commercial enterprises who might like my work to hang in their offices.”

Kirstie McLaughlin, adviser, Business Gateway said: “Like many people, Adam saw an opportunity to turn his hobbies into a business that appeals to both the area’s surfing community and to people who live and work in the area who love our coastline. We were able to help Adam build the knowledge and expertise he needed to get to grips with the legal side of launching a business. We also provided him with local knowledge he didn’t have which will hopefully open doors to new customers.”

Donning a thick wetsuit, to keep out the cold of the North Sea, fins, his camera and a water housing to protect his equipment, Adam swims out to the perfect location to take shots, with sunrise and sunset the prime time to catch the best light. He then edits the shots and uses a local printer to produce the final image which can be bought from as little as £25 up to £400.

He said: “Although I want to get my name known to local surfers looking to capture their skills out at sea, my main customers are people who, like me, have grown up by the sea – I used to love surfing off the Banffshire coast when I was young. What I love most about what I do is the fact I can go at 100 miles an hour trying to network, get new customers, and work on the technical side of the business then go out with my camera to enjoy the peace, quiet and solitude of the sea and still call it work!”

For more information on North Sea Surf Shots, which donates 5 per cent of each sale directly to Surfer’s Against Sewage, visit www.northseasurfshots.co.uk/.