Ocean Artwork

22 11 2014

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken


My name is Dan Howard and OceanArtwork Photography  is my passion.

Its a project I started many years ago. Originally the idea was to simply set up an online gallery to display and sell my own photos and artwork.

Maybe I should start at the beginning….. Heres a brief history;

My passion for photography started at an early age when I won a plastic camera at a school fete. it took me a while to convince my parents to invest in film for it, but when they did, I think we were all surprised with the results and even more surprised that a toy camera actually worked.

In 1970 at ten years of age my family moved to Cronulla, and the path my life was to take, changed forever when I discovered surfing.

Cronulla was a great place to grow up in the ’70s. Especially if you were a surfer…. In those days you could still get a few waves to yourself if you were onto the conditions. Which was pretty cool for me as from the front verandah of my house I could see most of the Cronulla / Bate bay area…..and if I stood on the railing I could even see the infamous ‘Shark island’ over the top of neighbouring houses


I owned a few different cameras over time and then purchased my first SLR camera in ’76.Not long after that I purchased a cheap telephoto lens and started taking surf shots. Unfortunately most of these shots have been lost or misplaced over the years.

Surfing magazines of the time were full of articles and beautifully composed photos of nomadic surfers travelling to exotic locations. In my teenage years I devoured every surf magazine published from cover to cover. The world of the travelling surfer was new and exciting and I couldn’t wait to be a part of it.


I ventured to Bali in 1980 and was amazed with the waves, the culture, the beauty of the Balinese landscape and the warm and friendly people.

This was the start of a wandering lifestyle that was to last over a decade for me.

I started submitting my photos to magazines with limited success. Then I had my first article published in TRACKS titled ‘A Great Escape’. It was about living and surfing on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Over the years I had quite a few articles and photos published in various surfing magazines such as TRACKS, WAVES, DEEP, SURFERS JOURNAL and others.

I was also lucky enough to live, surf and photograph some of the worlds most beautiful and remote surfing locations.

Of course all this travel was done on a very limited budget…at times so limited Im amazed I survived.

I realise now my experiences were all the more richer because of this.


In the ’90s my life changed dramatically when I went from being someone who could carry almost everything I owned on my back to having a mortgage and 3 beautiful children.

I photographed weddings on the weekend, worked nights and studied Information Technology during the week.

After 3 years of study, computers took over my life. I already had the idea for Ocean Artwork and was trying to learn the web design skills I needed to get the site going.


But instead of working on the site I was sidetracked and ended up working full time teaching computer courses, fixing computers and constructing other peoples web sites. In fact I did pretty much every other thing in I.T. except what I had started out to do …OceanArtwork.com…I had to pay the bills of course.

This is as I said a short history. I will be adding more photos and stories from my travels past present and future.



Hope you like it



Dan Howard

Living as long as you can.

31 03 2009

Ive been a bit sick lately…

Actually its really been almost 2 months since the onset of this mystery virus..

For some reason I have aching bones and limbs and headaches all the time….
Its been a nightmare trying to work, study and just deal with everyday life.  If it wasnt for Ibuprofen I probably would have stayed in bed the whole time.
The doctors have turned me into some sort of  test case and experimental pin cushion with all the blood tests.

After I told them about my extensive travels through third world countries many years ago, they got  kind of excited and I think they thought they were going to discover a brand new disease!!…
Yay ….I wonder if they will name  it after me?

Anyway after all this Im finally getting better, with no answers as yet.
But, I did find out that I have Barmah Forest virus and probably have had it for over a decade….but apparently that is not making me sick at the moment…geee thats reassuring!!
Ive also got Emphysema, Which the doctors seem to think is nothing to worry about, because anyone who has smoked for any period of time apparently has the beginnings of the disease.
The fact that I gave up smoking at the beginning of the year is just a coincidence

Im in my late 40’s and in the last 5 years have been to several friends funerals.
So along with that and my recent sickness I of course have been thinking of what I can do to get as healthy as I possibly can..
because I just want to live as long as I can…….

A very good friend of mine runs a very successful Dive Charter business in Indonesia that caters to the very wealthy.
Many years ago he took Mick Jagger, Jerry Hall and friends on a charter around Indo..

One night they were all below decks partying pretty hard while my friend was relaxing up on the top deck watching the stars.
When Mick Jagger came wandering up to him. And to my friends surprise , he was completely sober!!!
They sat and chatted for a while when he asked Mr Jagger ” Why he wasnt downstairs partying with the rest of them?”
His reply ;
“Ive done all that stuff years ago…Now……. Im just trying to live as long as I can!!”

I also remember reading about Bruce Raymond, a Pro surfer from the late 70’s-80’s, when he had a heart operation in the 80’s.
12 months after that.. I saw him on television training with Rob Rowland Smith and several other prominent surfers of the time.
they were running up and down a huge sand dune somwhere on the northern beaches….going pretty hard!!
The camera went around to each person training and asked them “Why are you putting yourself through this?”
The only answer I remember was Bruce Raymonds, bent over and puffing heavily he said….
“So I can live longer”

So I guess you can see where Im going with this.
Ive always been reasonably fit and I guess I  have ‘surfing’ to thank for that….

Call it what you will …. “a wake up call , ” a mid life crisis “…

I dont really care . Like Mick Jagger and Bruce Raymond

Billy Crystal’s view on developmental psychology from the movie City Slickers (1991)

17 03 2009

Value this time in your life, kids. ‘Cause this is the time in your life when you still have your choices.
It goes by so fast.
When you’re a teenager, you think you can do anything and you do.
Your twenties are a blur….
Thirties. You raise your family. You make a little money. And you think to yourself, “What happened to my twenties?”
Forties. You grow a little pot belly. You grow another chin. The music starts to get too loud.
One of your old girlfriends from high school becomes a grandmother.
Fifties. You have a minor surgery. You call it a “procedure.” But it’s a surgery.
Sixties. You’ll have a major surgery. The music is still loud, but it doesn’t matter, because you can’t hear it anyway.
Seventies. You and the wife retire to Fort Lauderdale.
Start eating dinner at two o’clock in the afternoon. Get lunch around ten.
Breakfast, the night before. Spend most of your time wandering around malls looking for the ultimate soft yogurt and muttering, “How come the
kids don’t call? How come the kids don’t call?”
The eighties. You’ll have a major stroke. You end up babbling to some Jamaican nurse who your wife can’t stand but you call “Mama.”
Any questions?
yes I have a question Billy how do I avoid this process????? ha ha I think Ive managed to so far… although I did have a procedure earlier this year …or was it surgery??

Kelly Slater and his 10th World Title

13 03 2009

In early 2007 I was down at Snapper Rocks watching the Quiky Pro, when Mick Fanning came running past in one of his early heats.

He looked so fit and  focused , I turned to my friend and said
“You know , Mick will win this comp and go on to take out the world title.
A big call I know for the first round of the first contest of the year.
Of course my prediction was  laughed at and ridiculed by my friend……….that is until a week later when Mick won!!

Sure its easy to claim this 2 years later with no proof.
And there in lays the reason behind this story.
If Im right this time I will have it on record. And if Im wrong …..who cares??

So here they are my  predictions for the ASP World Tour in 2009.

Kelly Slater will not win his 10th world title this year in 2009…. but in 2010 he will be succesful and then retire.

Parko will win the title this year sewing it up before they get to Hawaii.

And how do I come to these conclusions you might ask?.
Well even if you dont ask Im going to tell you.
And I might add that I have absolutely no qualifications to make these obervations. Other than Ive been a surfer for 40 years. And an avid observer of the Pro Tour since its inception.

First of all Kelly and the 10th world title;
Pro Surfing is big business  these days and the biggest drawcard is none other than our Kelly.

What can you say about the legendary Mr Slater that hasnt already been said.
He is without a doubt, the most recognizable surfer of all time. And of course the greatest surfer of all time!
People who dont surf or have never even been near the ocean know who Kelly Slater  is!!
Ask them about any other name on tour and you will get a blank stare …

The crowd on the beach will almost always triple or double when Kelly’s heats are on.

img_5074Whenever Kelly leaves the water a crowd gathers

You could also assume  that once Kelly reaches double digits (world titles) he will retire.
Now of course this is just speculation.
But do you think  the ASP wants to lose its biggest drawcard and cash cow?? ….I dont think so.
And if Kelly was to win the world title in simliar style to last year???
Well …how boring would that be????

So ideally a race for the title with Kelly narrowly losing in 2009 and coming back to win 2010 would be the fairytale ending to an amazing career not to mention a dream ride for his sponsors and the ASP………….right??

A conspiracy theory I hear you saying?
Well why not? Maybe Kelly’s even in on it……
Why else would he change his game plan so radically from his winning formula last year??
I am of course referring to his choice of equipment in the Quiky Pro.
Theres been a lot said about the board, a lot of people blaming it for his loss against Julian Wilson.
I watched that heat……Truth is Kelly fell too many times …..simple as that
I watched Kelly rip on that stubby round nosed board, while he was in town.
And he surfs just as good as ever on it. He’s throwing just as much spray as usual.
But consider this , with an extra 8 inches on the nose of his board , wouldnt that mean that the tip of the nose is drawing much bigger arcs when he turns and thus make the manouvre look more spectacular??
Am I the only one who can see this?

I have watched Kelly surf in heats on numerous occasions and have seen many close calls go his way.
Sometimes it even looks as though he gets an extra point just for being Kelly!!!
So this year, the close calls wont go his way because, the ‘powers that be’ dont want him to win.
They want their cash cow to hang around for  another few years….

And what about Parko winning the title this year?

First of all, in the last 4  years , the winner of the Quiky Pro has gone on to take out the title.
When Mick won the world title , I know Joel was happy for his buddy.
But these guys have been competing against each other all their lives.
And Parko will never rest until, his name is on that cup alongside Mick’s.
He is in red hot form and the fittest he has ever been… he even has muscles now !!.. LOL
In his own words.
” Im actually training for the first time ever, before all I did was go surfing”.
He has a very strong support crew behind him and is a sentimental favourite…everyone is of the opinion its Joels time!!

So thats it…..
And who am I to make these bold and brash claims ……..

But Im interested to hear what others think  of my ideas.



The best TV show theme song ever!!

12 03 2009

One of my Facebook friends posted this video of Johnny Rivers, singing the song ‘Secret Agent Man’.
Its an absolute classic song.
I was 6 years old in 1966 and I dont think Ive ever seen the TV show…
But this song has stuck in my head from way back then.
Its sounds a little like a Dick Dale surf guitar tune.

I love it

When I went to Youtube to get the embed code for ‘Secret Agent Man’ I came a cross another classic from 66 .
Nancy Sinatra and ‘These boots are made for walking’

The biggest shark Ive ever seen

5 03 2009

Ive travelled the world and had some very close encounters with the “men in the grey suits’
but this morning I  saw the biggest mother of a shark Ive ever seen.
This morning I went for a surf at Cabarita beach , south of the Gold Coast.

The water was a bit cooler than the last few weeks . Summer is over I guess??

I’d had a few good waves and been out for about 30 minutes when a Brazilian surfer alerted me that he had just seen a shark.
I didnt wait to discuss it and took off for the shore.
The Brazilian guy’s look of shock was enough to confirm that it wasnt just some little reef shark.

A few people stayed out in the surf.
Back up on the headland people were pointing and yelling to loved ones in the water  ‘to get the hell out of there”

I watched as about 200 mtres from shore a school of bait fish was being attacked by something huge.
People were arguing about what it was that was actually out there?
For a moment I thought it was dolphins …but they werent coming up for air.
Then a man with binoculars standing near me said
“It’s just a really big Manta Ray”

Then, it happened.
As the animal was thrashing around after the bait fish, it’s huge tail broke out of the water for all to see.

People were gasping in surprise. Suddenly all yelling to people in the water became more frantic.

Unbelievably a few surfers stayed in the water.  I wouldnt know how to estimate how big it was but I have no doubt it was big enough to swallow me whole!!


Run away jet Ski at the Roxy Pro.

3 03 2009

I designed a website using WordPress for a client with a new business doing Surf Charters by boat, North and south of the Gold Coast.


We went out on his boat of friday and I got a few great shots of  the Roxy Pro.

Tyler Wright
This is a pretty cool shot of Tyler Wright during the Roxy Pro Trials.. You can see her doing the same turn live on the screen behind her on the beach

On Sunday he was involved in a rescue you can read more about it here