A creative designer and cold water surf photographer, Cat Yde, is inspiring. Her talents, determination and outlook on life is something that captivated us. Overcoming her ocean fears to pursue her passion for surf photography is a true credit to her character. If youre a budding photographer or anyone who enjoyed a cold water surf shot, then check out our interview with Cat and be sure to give her a follow on Instagram!

Name: Cathrine Yde
Location: Klitmøller, Denmark
Occupation: Creative designer and photographer.
Insta: @cat_yde
Website: catyde.com

My friend, Mai Knudsen, local surfer girl from Klitmøller. 26 December 2020

How do you become a cold water surf photographer?
For many years my dream was to become a leading female adventure photographer. The combination with my passion for different watersport made me get into cold water surf photography. 

Was it something you’d wanted to do as a child, or did your passion come later in life?
I always wanted to be a photographer. It’s actually the only thing I clearly remember as a child that I wanted to become a photographer. When I grew up, I was super scared to go into the deep dark ocean; at that time, I would have never thought that my passion would be cold water surf photography. The ocean has always had magical power and a deep impact on me; I could never imagine living away from the coast, even that I was scared to go in. Then one day, I decided to overcome one of my biggest fears and got into surfing and swimming around in the ocean – from then, it all started. 

Did you come across any challenges along the way? 
In the beginning, I had to deal with my fear. Nowadays, I start my mornings with a dip in the ocean. 

Talk to us about your kit, not just the camera kit, but what you wear to keep you warm in the water? 
2020 I finally managed to save up money for a Waterhouse. I’m using an AquaTech water Housing combined with my Sony camera.
I am always aware of the days when the weather forecast promises minus degrees; nothing beats those glory mornings. I put on my thickest wetsuit 6,5mm, but it’s not always enough. Even I don’t want to, I sometimes have to swim back to the beach because of the cold temperature. It can hurt a lot, but I always get over it. I put on 7 mm boots, gloves, hoodies, helmet, impact vest and swim feet.  

@Gypseatoes – Sanna, Hanstholm Feb 2021

How does your camera cope with the cold temperatures? 
I am surprised at how good it works with water housing. Unfortunately, I’m not able to use the pistol handle when it’s freezing cold. My fingers need more power when it’s cold.   

Do you prefer to shoot on land or in the water? 
I always wanted to jump into the ocean and capture the moment closest to the people out there. I started photographing from the beach, and knew from the beginning that I would make it out there. So I did. The water housing is my big passion. Even if it is cold, I prefer to shoot in the water. I want to be close to the action and be part of the crowd and share the stokness. It’s a totally different world when you are in the water. It satisfies me a lot more when I have to fight my way out into the waves. The surfers are struggling with the cold and getting out; I want the same feeling.  

Cat Yde. Shooting at sunrise, minus 5 degress. November 2020. Taken by Morten Yde.

Sunrise surf with Yvonne Hanstholm

Is there a big women’s surf community where you live? 
The community of female surfers in my town is so cool. The number of female surfers is growing, and it is such a great place to live and meet other creative female surfers. 

Has your photography allowed you to travel? 
My last trip was a spontaneous trip to Ireland. I was called about this epic forecast, and a few hours later, I was on the plane with the mission to shoot windsurf the next days. 

Were you affected by the pandemic at all, and if so, in what way? 
Like most people, my life was affected by the pandemic, no travels for the last year – but the pandemic didn’t stop us from going in the water and seeing friends in the lineup. I feel lucky because I can’t really complain about my life during the pandemic. I have learned that I don’t have to be on the other side of the globe; I have all I need just in front of me with the ocean as my playground. Surfing and photographing really saved my winter at home; it has given me so much joy; the whole situation has forced me to slow down and enjoy what’s in my backyard. 

One of my oldest surf friends, Pernille Isaksen. Local surfer girl from Klitmøller. Klitmøller, December 26 2020. 

Sunrise shooting. November 2020.

Surf photography may seem a little intimidating to those starting, but what advice and words of wisdom do you have for anyone wanting to get into it? 
Shoot, shoot and shoot and trust yourself. Don’t be intimidated, and don’t worry about it being perfect. Create your own style and be true to yourself. You are often left to your own as a surf photographer; find a community, and share your passion.  

What are your plans for the rest of the year?
I will spend more hours in the water as the water temperature starts to increase. Enjoy the summer at home, go on daily mini-adventures in our campervan. Maybe a road trip up to Norway, if it is possible. I hope I will be able to go somewhere, share my passion with other cool surf photographers.