Sad news that stings. The loss of Joel will impact so many for so long.

Yet another friend of mine decided to check out of this world this week, a fantastic person and talented surfer, Joel was always a cool guy with plenty of respect for all around him.

It’s a shitty thing. I know this is not the first, or sadly the last time I get the news that someone I know or a friend or even family member has taken this path. I don’t condone it, to be perfectly honest, I hate it. There’s few things in this world I think could ever justify it and from some of my earliest memories it’s been a shit and messy fabric of modern life in this world that leaves irreparable wounds and shatters lives.

Although I’d hesitate to call Joel one of my ‘mates’ – as in, our friendship was really just and handful of scattered encounters throughout the years and based around surfing and shooting surf photos – I did know him and the times I shot him surfing were always fun and he always looked like he put his everything into his surfing and his paddling – and he was very good at this.

So very shocked and saddened as I was to hear that Joel took his own life, nothing I feel or say about it compares to what his family and close friends must be going through, especially his dad Greg.

I really enjoyed Joel’s surfing and our brief conversations. He was and always will be a very cool cat in my memories.


Despite my disdain for the notion of it and self focus that ending ones own life seems to be drenched in, nobody can profess to truly understand an individual’s circumstance, depression or mindset – we are all so unique. One thing I do know is … the sun comes up every day as a new day, and with it rising it washes away all those days before it – every day from the beginning to now is erased and what happens next is in front of you, never behind you.

We all have so much to offer this world and ourselves, from our first breath to our last eve, and there’s always so many more people who care than any of us truly know.

Reset, wipe your slate clean from time to time, only sweat the big stuff and remember that new sun is just a day away. Tell your mates they are legends and look after them too.

I hope Joel found his peace and my thoughts and heart goes out to his dad and close friends and family. The world is a poorer place without him.

Joel Tilley
Snapper Rocks backwash landing.
Kingscliff for the Australian Longboard Surfing Open
Howling all afternoon offshores and a solid groundswell marches into the Gold Coast Spit. Joel told me half way through this shoot that he couldn’t feel his hands any more due to the cold, but he kept paddling back out again and again until we got the images we needed. This pic was a double page in LiQUiFY Magazine.
Taking on the gnarly left sand ledge behind Snapper Rocks at Froggys.
Swooping bottom turn into the blue.
Cruising over the crystal blue waters across Rainbow Bay for the Malfunction event.


Stepping onto the nose to take the drop.
Main Beach wrapping turn.
Point Danger slide.