Published on July 17th, 2013 | by NSB Observer0
Patrick “TUPAT” Eichstaedt: Photographer, Cinematographer, Father
Q: Were you born and raised in New Smyrna?
A: “No. I was raised in New Smyrna but I was born in Miami. My Dad was a PGA tour golfer and my mom was a flight attendant. My aunt had lived here since 1966 and told my parents, before I was born, that this was a perfect place to raise children. This is when Bethune had 10 houses. So, my parents built their house on Blue Fish in 1975 and we moved here in 1976 and have been there ever since.”
Q: When did you get your first camera?
A: “I got my first camera when I was 12 years old. My dad got us a VHS camera and we would run an extension cord from my parents’ house in Bethune, across the street to the beach, to film ourselves surfing so we could see what we looked like out in the water. We weren’t trying to make surf videos, we just wanted to see what we looked like. My brother had been traveling to Kauai where he was surfing with the Irons brothers and he would come back and tell me how gnarly these guys were and how we needed to step up our surfing. We wanted to emulate these guys and used the camera to help show us how we looked.”
Q: Where is your favorite place to take photos in NSB?
A: “I like all facets of New Smyrna, but somewhere that is more diverse is down at the inlet. I like to go up on the boardwalk where so many different things are going on. Whether the sea oats are glistening with golden light in the evening or the surf’s going off and you get a good perspective so you don’t miss anything. Sometimes when you are low you will get a lot of white water in the foreground, so up high you can really see what is going on in the water. So, I would say New Smyrna Inlet, the whole beach and park.”
Q: Who’s your favorite surfer to photograph?
A: “That’s hard, there’s so many. But I have to say that it’s my brother, Hopper.”
Q: If someone wanted to hire you, what type of photography do you offer?
A: “Anything that is digitally incorporated with media, I can handle.”
Q: Do you shoot surf videos?
A: “Oh yeah. I started doing that a long time ago. I started off filming for …Lost Enterprises and back in 1997 I became good friends with legendary surfer Shane Beschen. He and Mike Reola gave me a lot of opportunities. I think we did four or five films together, where I would go out and film and he would do the editing.”
Q: I hear you are working with the county now. What’s your official job?
A: “I handle Photo and Video Production for the Southeast Volusia Advertising Authority. It’s a fun job and I am proud of it because I am able to create media and give back to a place that has given me so much.”
“I’m also the Demo Rep and Videographer for Wave Jet, which is a jet powered surfboard company out of San Diego. I use their boards and work with autistic kids in our community. I love that job and working with the children.”
Q: I always see you with a different camera. Which one is your favorite right now?
A: “I use a Canon 1D Mark II, Canon 7D, Canon 5D Mark II and both the GoPro HERO3 Black Edition and the GoPro HERO2. But right now, as I sit and tell you this, my favorite camera is the GoPro HERO3 Black Edition because of the versatility in being in the water.”
Q: What projects are you currently working on?
A: “Right now I am working on a mini documentary about a surfer out of Tennessee. Her name is Georgia Cook and she is probably the most inspiring young girl I have ever met. She is basically a humanitarian at 13 years old. She and her parents are building a school in Africa for girls called, Every Girl Counts. She is sponsored by Beautiful Feet and provides sandals to children who can’t afford them.”
“My daily routine in the afternoon is to edit photos I have been working on. I just did a recent destination wedding in Hilton Head, so I am working on those. I am also working on some Wave Jet shots and a video for the Shea Lopez surf camp.”
Q: How did you become a surf photographer?
A: “In 1995, I was working for …Lost doing video, and I started seeing that the opportunities with photography would be more lucrative and allow me to do more things. So, I hit up Matt Biolos, the surfboard shaper of …Lost, and asked what he thought about me taking pictures. They were sponsoring Aaron Cormican at the time and Aaron and I grew up together and we were already traveling together. It was really easy for me to go and spend five hours on the beach with some of the best surfers and take their photos.”
Q: Did you go to school for photography?
A: “Everything is self-taught. When I was in Hawaii filming with digital cameras back in the day, a lot of my friends still had film cameras, so they would take a break and I would fiddle around with their gear. Not in detail, just playing around. And I traveled so much. Being out on the road by yourself kind of forces you to learn. When no one is there to ask, you have to have the common sense to figure it out. Of course, nowadays I can just Google my questions.”
Q: How many kids do you have?
A: “Just one…right now.”
Q: How long have you been married?
A: “Going on 11 years. Next May will be 11 years, but we’ve been together for almost 13. We got married when she was 20 and I was 29. She’s from Venezuela. She’s really molded my perspective on life in my current days, because where she came from is such a different way of growing up than what I was used to growing up with. We’re just riding that wave of life. Sometimes it’s closing out and we have to duck dive and get back out, sometimes it’s a perfect ride. I try to stay on the perfect ride.”
Q: So, you want to have more kids?
Q: What’s your favorite spot on the beach?
A: “My favorite spot is in front of Blue Fish Avenue in Bethune Beach. It’s where I grew up.
Q: What’s your favorite place to shop in NSB?
A: “I like to go to Kembali. We love walking in there and looking at all the cool stuff. Dave’s a good friend of mine. I also like going over to Heath’s to get interesting little snacks or any remedies that we need.”
Q: What’s your favorite meal in town?
A: “What I call the ‘Rock Salad’ at SoNapa. It’s a filet mignon on the salad, but I have them do it different. I have them do the blue cheese and the goat cheese with the apple cider vinaigrette and the raspberry vinaigrette. I mix it and then it becomes this berry fusion sauce and then I get an extra piece of steak. I get the Rock Salad, ‘Tupat style’, and the tuna appetizer.”
Q: What do you do on your day off?
A: “I don’t think I have a day off. I guess my day off usually is a Sunday that my wife is off, we’ll either hang out and watch a movie, go to the beach, or go to the golf course.”
Q: What is your best memory living here so far?
A: “The birth of our son, Ethan, and the day I married my wife, Yoseline, on the beach.”
* Photos of TUPAT were taken by: Kelsey Arnold