Based in Monster, a seaside town in the Dutch province of South Holland in The Netherlands, Pekla uses his surroundings as inspiration for his work. “It’s not exactly a country known for its abundant sea life or epic surf, but every now and then, our North Sea knows exactly how to surprise me,” he says. Having lived in Western Australia with the Indian ocean on his doorstep, Pelka decided to combine his passions for surfing and the ocean with photography, buying his first proper underwater camera. “I jumped in the ocean and didn’t look back,” he says. “It quickly became an obsession to be in the water, capturing our interaction with it and to find the true essence of it, all in a single photograph.’
Through his images, Pelka demonstrates the timing and skill that is needed to surf the cold and windy waves of the North Sea, where there are sometimes violent storms and large swells. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the photographer often traveled to find big waves abroad, welcoming challenging conditions in countries like France, Portugal, and Spain to get the perfect shot.