Aquabumps in Wanaka

Eugene Tan the man behind the lens of leading surf photography site Aquabumps is also a huge fan of the New Zealand mountains and Wanaka is always a favourite stop whenever he crosses the ditch.   

Who are you and what do you do?

I am Eugene Tan – people mostly just call me Uge (yooj). I’m a mad keen surfer and fine art photographer focussed on shooting all things beach (and occasionally snow). I love adventure. 

Can you explain what Aquabumps is?

Aquabumps is a melting pot of all my passions – photography, surfing, travel, design. Aquabumps consists of a daily photo email, a blog, and a fine art gallery in Bondi Beach. In a nutshell, in 1999 I started to take a photo of the day from the beach – yes, daily. I sent it to mates. It caught on as this was a new idea and digital photography was just emerging (and we didn’t have smart phones with good cameras). Lots of people started to follow my daily email (pre social media and google). Eventually I sold prints from those daily photos and started to collaborate with big companies and sold ad space on my channels. 

When photographing landscape and adventure, what would be your best advice?

When photographing landscapes and adventure stay positive and curious. Eyes wide open, always. It can be the little things that catch your eye. A spark of warm morning light or an interesting reflection on a shop window. Talk to locals if travelling…I find the best spots are always found out in a bar over a beer or around a dinner table. Ask lots of questions. Oh…and travel light. 1-2 lenses only if moving around a lot.

What is something you have discovered on this trip in Wanaka?

On this trip I discovered how beautiful heli skiing is…the mountains out back, off piste, non-resort stuff is AMAZING. I would go up to just take photos and not ski (I’m a kook of a skier anyway). It was breathtaking. 

What’s your favourite spot in Wanaka and why?

My favourite spot in Wanaka is a cliff edge/rock overhang (no name yet I don’t think) that we shot with the lake in the back ground. We took a heli up (5 mins) but you could hike it. I would guess a 1.5hr hike. The view blew me away. I will never forget it. It was just too perfect to be true.