Contest Rules

Each image must be original and should accurately reflect the subject matter and the scene as it appeared. Photos that have been digitally altered beyond standard optimization (cropping, spotting for dust, reasonable adjustments to exposure, color and contrast, etc.) will be disqualified. Entries may originate in any format—including but not limited to digital files, digital prints, color transparencies, color prints, or black and white prints—so long as they are submitted electronically in a .JPEG .jpg, or.png format. HDR images are acceptable.


Finalists will be announced by the Follow The Light Foundation on November 12, 2022, and will be published on WWW.USBRC.ORG. Finalists must be present at the awards ceremony to win.


Questions and inquiries about contest rules can be emailed to

Entrants must provide the following information for each image upon upload:

- Title of each photo

- Caption


Required image naming convention: Last Name_First Name_Photo Number (1-15)

Previously published material for which non-exclusive rights were granted may be entered as long as you still maintain the right to grant us a license (see “Your Rights” below). You must be able to disclose when and where the photo appeared previously to USBRC upon request. If you choose to include people in your submission, you are responsible for obtaining the necessary releases from the individuals depicted and must be able to provide copies of those releases to FTL upon request.

Questions and inquiries about contest rules can be emailed to

Entrants must provide the following information for each image upon upload:

- Title of each photo

- Caption


Submissions may be watermarked if desired, but the watermark should be inconspicuous enough to not interfere with the judging of the photo. A watermarked photo might not be honored by the competition (at the judges’ sole discretion) if the photographer is unable or unavailable to provide a pristine, watermark-free version of the image when asked. FTL shall determine entry eligibility in its sole and absolute discretion.


All images must be submitted though our photo submission process. The entry form contains required fields for information about the photo, and contact information for the entrant, including an email address.

You may enter a maximum of 15 photographs.

You may not use an agency or automated system to enter.

FTL reserves the right to reject any additional entries or entries that do not comply with these Official Rules. By entering, you indicate your unconditional agreement to, and acceptance of, these Official Rules and Sponsor’s decisions, which are final and binding. You cannot win a prize unless you comply with all requirements in these Official Rules.

Entrants may be asked to supplement their submission with more explanation about the photo or to provide a higher resolution version of the photo anytime during the contest period.


Judging will be conducted by a selection panel chosen by the Follow the Light committee (the “Panel”).

Images will be judged on originality, technical excellence, composition, overall impact, artistic merit and subject matter relevance.

After an initial screening the selection panel will look over the applications and score the work as follows:

- Photography – awarded a score up to 10

- Words – awarded a score up to 10

- X-factor – awarded a score up to 10 (this category is decided on by each individual judge on the basis of their overall reaction to each application as a whole)

The Panel will evaluate all valid entries and make selections into a group of “Finalists.” From this group of images, awards will be given in the following categories:

- Grand Prize Winner

- People’s Choice will be determined the night of the event by a popular vote

The following submissions are ineligible:

-Photos that violate or infringe upon another person’s rights, including but not limited to copyright and photographs of persons without the necessary consent required by law in your jurisdiction. FTL reserves the right to require entrants to submit evidence of the subject’s legal consent to be photographed for the submitted photograph, which may include a signed waiver from the subject. NOTE: Waiver requirements vary by jurisdiction, and the entrant is responsible for obtaining a legally enforceable waiver from any photographed subject.

-Photos that contain sexually explicit, nude, obscene, violent or other objectionable or inappropriate content.

-Images that involve damage to the environment by the photographer.


In the event that the operation, security, or administration of the Photo Contest is impaired in any way, Sponsor may, in its sole discretion, either: (a) suspend the Photo Contest to address the impairment and then resume the Photo Contest; or (b) award the prize(s) from among the eligible entries received up to the time of the impairment. Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify and seek damages from any individual who tampers with the operation of the Photo Contest, violates these Official Rules, or acts in a disruptive or unsportsmanlike manner. Sponsor’s failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision. Proof of sending any communication to Sponsor by mail shall not be deemed proof of receipt of that communication by Sponsor. In the event of a dispute as to the owner of an online entry, the authorized account holder of the e-mail address used to enter will be deemed to be the owner. The Photo Contest is subject to federal, state, and local laws and regulations and is void where prohibited.

By submitting an entry to the Photo Contest, entrants certify that their participation in this Photo Contest is not illegal or in violation of any law, regulation, treaty or administrative act, and that the laws of their governing jurisdiction of residence at the time of entry do not prohibit or restrict the receipt of any Prize under this Photo Contest.

The Follow The Light Foundation reserves the right to reject any entry if, in FTL’s sole discretion, the laws of an applicable jurisdiction, including but not limited to the entrant’s jurisdiction of residence at the time of entry, would prohibit or limit FTL from proceeding with the Contest as intended or the consideration or awarding of any Prize would impose additional administrative, tax, operational, or legal burdens on FTL.

Furthermore, individuals residing in any “Excluded Jurisdiction” are ineligible to enter the Photo Contest. Excluded Jurisdiction means any country listed on the US Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Active Sanctions Programs list available here:


By entering, you agree to release and hold harmless Sponsor, their respective parent, subsidiaries, affiliates, and each of their respective officers, directors, employees, and agents (the “Released Parties”) from and against any claim or cause of action arising out of participation in the Photo Contest or receipt or use of any prize, including, but not limited to: (a) unauthorized human intervention in the Photo Contest; (b) technical errors; (c) printing errors; (d) late or undelivered mail; (e) errors in the administration of the Photo Contest; or (f) injury or damage to persons or property. You waive the right to claim any attorneys’ fees and any damages whatsoever, including, but not limited to, punitive, consequential, direct, or indirect damages.


Except where prohibited, a potential finalist may be required to complete and return an affidavit of eligibility, including proof of age, and liability/publicity release within 10 calendar days. If a potential finalist fails to return these documents on time, an alternate potential finalist may be selected in his/her place.

To the maximum extent permissible by law, all winners are responsible for paying any taxes and any and all other costs and expenses associated with claiming the awards, including but not limited to customs fees, taxes, and any other administrative costs, if applicable. If the prize value equals or exceeds $600, prior to the award of any prize the winner will need to complete, sign and return an IRS W-9 form and/or any applicable tax forms for awarding the prize in the winner’s jurisdiction. Any prize details not specified above will be determined by Sponsor, in its sole discretion. A prize may not be transferred and must be accepted as awarded. A winner may not request cash or a substitute prize; however, Sponsor reserves the right to substitute a prize with another prize of equal or greater value if the prize is not available for any reason, as determined by Sponsor, in its sole discretion.Prize winner must be present at the Awards Ceremony to receive their prize.


FTL and all parties related to this Photo Contest respect your moral rights as an artist. You will retain all rights to any photograph you submit—including ownership if applicable.

If you submit photographs to the Photo Contest, you grant FTL and its related entities such as affiliates and subsidiaries a royalty-free, fully paid-up non-exclusive right in perpetuity to:

- Display the photographs on the Photo Contest submission websites

- Allow third parties to share the photographs on social media.

- Use the photographs on the Internet and on Social Media in support of our mission.

- Use the photographs in FTL’s and its related entities’ internal and external communications materials including but not limited to web sites and web publications, fact sheets, fundraising publications, advertising, multimedia, presentation and membership services, annual reports and other FTL publications.

- Provide your photograph to other individuals and organizations for use related to the FTL and its related entities in news stories, social media, newsletters, reports, slide shows, displays, web pages, videos, membership premiums, and the like.

- Use, in connection with the Photo Contest, your name, city, state and country of residence in promotions and other publications.

- Retain a digital copy of your photograph that will be archived in the FTL photo library and accessible to FTL and its related entities’ staff via FTL’s internal online photo archive.

- FTL and its related entities will endeavor to credit all photographs with the credit “Person’s Name” when the full name is available. PRIVACY AND PUBLICITY

Any information you submit as part of the Photo Contest will be used in accordance with Sponsor’s Privacy Policy. The information you provide when you enter is provided to Sponsor. Except where prohibited, you consent to Sponsor’s use of your name in any list of winners (if applicable) and/or for promotional purposes in any media without further payment or consideration.


You agree that any and all disputes, claims, and causes of action arising out of, or connected with, the Photo Contest or any prize awarded shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, and exclusively by the appropriate court located in California. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation, and enforceability of these Official Rules, your rights, and obligations, or the rights and obligations of Sponsor in connection with the Photo Contest, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of California, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules (whether of California or any other jurisdiction), which would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than California.


Submit Your Portfolio

Find all the steps, along with the CONTEST rules and regulations, to enter follow the light’s 2022 photo contest.

Nick Green / @nickgrreen
2019 Follow The Light Winner
The Follow the Light Surf Photography Grant (“Photo Contest”) is open to photographers between the ages of 16 and 26 as of November 12, 2022. Applicants must apply as individuals.

Collaborations and business entities are not permitted. Applicants may not be employed as professional surf photographers by any surf media company or surf industry brand. The Photo Contest begins at 12:00am on June 20, 2022, and ends at 6:00 PM on July 29, 2022, Eastern Daylight Time (the “Entry Period”). Entries submitted before or after the Entry Period will not be eligible. The selection period will run from August 16, 2022, through September 30, 2022. Finalists will be informed no later than October 1, 2022, and the awards ceremony will take place on November 12, 2022, at the Coast Film Festival in Laguna Beach, California. Finalists must be present at the awards ceremony to win.
Steps to Enter
Click on the “Submit Your Porfolio” button. It will direct you to pay the $25 administrative fee.
Once you’ve submitted payment, you will be redirected to upload your portfolio to FTL’s photo archive
Once your submission is received you will receive an email notification
FTL will not be responsible for loss of submissions. As submissions will not be returned, applicants are urged to keep duplicates for their records. No submissions will be accepted in person or by mail. Make sure that every file uploaded conforms to the FTL naming convention found in the rules and regulations.