• UO Interviews: Amber Mozo

    Living on the islands of Hawaii her whole life, photographer Amber Mozo has grown up around the ocean - she lives and breathes the sea. Inheriting a love of surfing and photography from her late father, Jon Mozo, a surf photographer himself, she's made it her mission to travel the world, taking photos of every adventure along the way.

    While on a break from her hectic travel schedule, we sat down with Amber to chat about her love of Hawaii, where she gets her inspiration from, and what it was like growing up on one of the most picturesque places on earth. We think it's safe to say we're now dying to get out and catch the next wave.

    Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
    I'm a 20 year old surf rat from the island of Oahu. I love the ocean... that is my first love, then comes photography!

    Being from Hawaii, can you tell us a little bit about what it was like growing up there?
    Growing up in Hawaii I went to bed salty, sandy, sunburnt, and so tired. I was homeschooled and had a lot of freedom so I was just free and crazy. I would ride my bike around, shoot the surfers, surf with my friends. It was the dream life... it is the dream life. I still wake up and check the waves, surf with my friends, and take photos of it all. It makes me so happy. I love living on a tiny island in the middle of the ocean. I'm literally surrounded by the sea - how amazing is that!

    How did you first get into photography?
    My dad was a photographer and died taking photos of the waves when I was 9. That was hard on me. But love can kill you and I know that if he knew he was going to die that morning in the ocean doing what he loved he'd jump in even faster. He had passion. He loved the ocean and life and photographing it all. After he died I picked up his camera and used it for years, and that's when I really knew that I loved photography the same way he did.

    What inspires you now?
    My biggest inspirations are my friends here from Hawaii that I grew up with and that helped me grow. Casey Liu, Brooke Dombroski, Haa Keaulana, and Makoa Ho - they all keep me going and help me remember why photography is so fun. I love looking at photos they take of home and of them on their adventures around the world.

    Any favorite shoot days?
    Some of my favorite days of shooting have been on the boat in Fiji. I love shooting the surf from the boat. There's some thing about being on the sea and being able to just sit back and watch the ocean change and people play and surf and document it. It's all good energy out there. That is my favorite. No bad days out at sea.

    What is it you love about surfing?
    My dad taught me how to surf and I used to surf on the same board as him when I was a kid. Now I get to surf with my siblings and do the same thing with them that I did with my dad. It brings me lots of peace. I always try to put surfing in my daily routine.

    How long did it take you to learn how?
    My first time surfing I was 2 years old and I learned at Waikiki Beach and ever since then I always surfed!

    What's one thing people may not know about surfing?
    If you don't surf you are missing out big time!

    Any tips for first-timers?
    Surf however you want. Don't compare yourself to other people out in the water. Remember why you're out there and focus on enjoying ocean time.

    Where are your favorite places to surf and shoot?
    North Shore. I take 80% of my photos on the North Shore. It never gets old, it just gets more and more beautiful every time. Another one of my favorite spots to shoot is the west side of Oahu. It's so untouched and raw.

    Where can we find you when you're not working?
    If I'm not working or surfing I'm either at the Thai food truck or bumming it on someone's couch stealing their food with a broken cell phone in a different country. All jokes aside, I'm constantly moving and onto the next place.

    You just got back from traveling. Can you tell us a bit about where you went?
    In the last year I haven't been home for more than a month at a time. I spent 5 months in California then went over to Tahiti, Mexico, and Fiji. Then back home to Hawaii, back to Fiji, then Australia. It's been crazy. But the good kind of crazy. I spent so much time learning about people and taking photos. Every place I went I was by the ocean, and I'm getting ready to go and do it all again!

    Any trips coming up that you're excited for?
    I have no trips planned at the moment but the best things are always crazy and unplanned, right?

    Follow Amber Mozo on Instagram and Tumblr
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