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Soul Surfer

Seth Willingham


Behind the Shot

Dana Point is named after American author Richard Henry Dana Jr., who, in his 1840 memoir Two Years Before the Mast, wrote about the region, describing it as the most beautiful spot in all of California. With high bluffs and sheltered coves, the shores of Dana Point have attracted surfers since the early 1900s.

Getting to the best spots on the beach in Dana Point can be a challenge, though. Those same high bluffs and sheltered coves Dana wrote about make visiting the beach challenging to many visitors. The Strands in Dana Point, for example, are directly accessible only from a steep path or a flight of 174 stairs.

Those stairs didn’t prevent Seth from capturing this amazing image. “I knew that the sunset was going to be amazing on this particular evening. It was a pure moment. I was running down to the beach to catch the sunset. But just after sunset the sky really went off. About 20 minutes after sunset, the sky just blew up for about a minute. The waves were still so good, and this guy was going back out to enjoy the time to himself. I love this time of day for surfing with nothing but your thoughts and the waves.”