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Aulta Advocate

Dave “Nelly” Nelson

OccupationPhotographer

HometownSanta Cruz, CA

Dave Nelson is a dedicated husband, father, world-renowned lifestyle photographer, and die-hard San Francisco Giants fan. Dave spent his childhood growing up in Santa Cruz surfing, skating, and taking photos. His love of surfing led him to begin shooting water photos, blending two of his favorite passions in life. After landing the cover of Surfer magazine, he was offered a staff position shooting for Surfing Magazine. Over the next decade and a half, Dave set out to perfect flash photography in the water. This became one of his signature looks, allowing him to travel the world for surf magazines, including sites in Papua New Guinea, Reunion Island, Hawaii, Australia, and Central America. Dave has landed 85 cover shots worldwide and continues to inspire surfers around the world with his mind-bending water imagery.

Dave still lives in Santa Cruz with his family, and continues to travel the world in search of his next favorite photo, often waking up hours before dawn to make sure he has time to get in the water before sunrise.

surfer whale skate boarder red water blue wave Nelson and rock in water Nelson portrait

All photography: Dave Nelson.