Stunning Photos of the South Shore’s Winter Surf

Braintree-based photographer Paul Girello captures stunning ocean images even after the snow starts flying.

By Rick Bach | Photography by Paul Girello

“I’ve been attracted to the ocean my entire life,” says photographer Paul Girello, who grew up in Florida and moved to the South Shore 12 years ago. An architect by trade, Girello is an avid surf photographer who captures images of wintery beach landscapes and the New England surfer lifestyle for a number of magazines.

Ever since high school, Girello has carried a camera and surfboard in his car at all times. A longtime fan of film photography, he went so far as to build a darkroom in the bathroom of one of his first apartments. “The venting wasn’t too good, so you could only stay in there so long,” says Girello. He now shoots primarily in digital, but still enjoys using 35 mm film from time to time.

“In the winter, the beaches are beautiful,” says Girello, who continues to surf and snap pictures, no matter what the temperature is outside. He has been known to venture to the beach when it is 15 degrees out (when the air is colder than the water) to capture images of “sea smoke” rising mysteriously off the surface of the water.

Perfect conditions for winter surf photography on the South Shore might only occur twice a month, so Girello doesn’t like to waste any opportunities.

Thankfully, he has enough friends in the local surfing community that he can usually organize photo shoots when the surfing and lighting conditions are just right. Girello’s favorite time to head to the beach is immediately following a blizzard. “As soon as the cars are cleared out,” he says, “we’re there.”

Follow Paul Girello on Instagram @paulgirello.


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