Behind the Lens with Shannon Hayes

Published on 29/07/2022

Shannon is a 21-year-old photographer and videographer who calls Gold Coast home. At a young age, Shannon naturally found a love for the ocean and surfing which eventually transitioned into a passion for photography. With the lack of female surf photographers/videographers, Shannon quickly noticed there was a need for more female representation in the industry.

Shannon began filming her friends as a hobby in her spare time while still working and studying. In 2020 when Covid hit, Shannon (like everyone else) found herself with plenty more time to spend at the beach and shoot surfing. Eventually, Shannon was inspired to make photography/videography more than a hobby and pursue it as a career by launching her own creative business. Shannon has quickly found her niche as a female surf videographer.

Although still young and fresh on the scene, Shannon has already made a name for herself and has worked with high-profile surfers and brands. Shannon Hayes will certainly be a name to watch for years to come and we’re excited to watch her grow into a prominent name in the industry.

Shannon talks us through some of her favourite videos/photos and most memorable moments from her career to date.

3 filmers. One crazy air. The battle of the viral clip.

Reef Heazelwood stomps a crazy air reverse.

Sunshine Coast surfer, Reef Heazlewood, was surfing at Kingscliff the day I was shooting a couple of local boys. I could tell he was filming with someone to my right of the beach and behind me in the dunes was another filmer (names will be kept out for privacy reasons).

The conditions were super fun and perfect for airs. Reef popped this insane air and stuck it right in front of me.

All three of us filmers captured the same wave. Reef was clearly shooting with his videographer but the other videographer on the beach shared it hours later on social media. This blew up on socials, was reshared by Stab, and got thousands of views.

Reef’s original videographer was frustrated as according to him, the clip was meant to be ‘kept on ice’ for a movie they were working on. Stab ended up taking the clip down, reuploading it, and crediting Reef’s original filmer.

It’s all cleared now and I’m able to share it online too.

Was definitely a learning curve for me.

 Blood Moon – Lunar Eclipse

The last night of a 2-week stint around New Zealand with my friends. They surfed until dark in these 3-4ft right-handers, while I swam shooting from the water in a 4/3 shivering and thinking about sharks. Behind us was this incredible glow behind the infamous Mt Taranaki. It looked like a huge UFO in the sky. This was the Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse in May 2021.

Ben Spence, also known as ‘Loonie’ in the movie Breath by Tim Winton

A crystal clear summers morning, the reef, just south of the QLD/NSW border, close to perfection.

The swim was spontaneous and my first time out there. 

A friend, Ben Spence from Margaret River WA, just moved to the Gold Coast. Ben has grown up surfing reefs all the time back home but had never heard of this break or surfed any reef on the east coast prior. He paddled alongside me while I swam out to the reef which was about 300 metres from the beach. 

Out the back was a strong sweep pulling me back into the reef. There were two other water cameramen to my luck and I had some good chats sitting with them while they filmed Ben Howard, Noah Deane and David Rastavich. We stayed out for 3 hours constantly kicking against the sweep and pushing onto the reef.

Greenmount. Unique Perspective

Shooting a typical cyclone swell at Kirra where the whole Coolangatta coastline becomes a crazed circus. I just love this unique perspective with bustling crowds in the foreground.


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