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Up close and personal with Xav Neg

Valerio duck diving underwater
Surf, photography... find a man that can do both! Xav Neg chills and chats to BOMBA!

Woohoo another barbecue interview combo… this mag has its perks. This time I picked the brains of an old friend and prolific photographer Xav Neg, who is the main man responsible for making our local surfers look so good.

Xavi lives alone on a ranch in the middle of nowhere. It’s pretty surreal for a highly social individual but you would guess this exposure to nature and solitude fuels creativity.

As a creative, he ticks many stereotypes. He’s stylish, always busy and yes… Always late. Luckily though, he’s worth every hour delay as sharing a bottle of wine with him has always been fun and, no matter where we are, he’s always up for something cool and adventurous.

With him, he’ll always have one of his many cameras to capture raw moments. 

A little peak at sunset

Rock climbing, slacklining, surfing, free diving… Xavi does it all and excels at it too. He never says no and constantly pushes himself all the way. His attitude and approach to life is healthy and inspiring and, when he combines his thirst for adventure with artistic photography, the result is stunning.

His love for photography was conceived in Australia. “I bought a waterproof Panasonic digital camera, the newest thing. It could go 5m deep and I just felt an immediate connection. It was something brand new, new angles which not many people could do before.” 

“In the waves of Bondi beach I took videos of the barrels, the waves from underneath the surface… which was all raw and new to the world.”

Luckily for us, surfing is his favourite sport to shoot. “I like to capture the expressions on people’s faces when they are having fun.” Surfing offers Xav a lot more than photography. “I am in love with the ocean”

“It is beautiful to take a photo of a surfer smiling, with the sun shining, the beautiful lights and landscapes… it’s just beautiful”. 

“I love making videos too because artistically you take care of it all, from the sounds, the angles,fades, the cuts and everything else.”

He looks up to another local photographer, the sensational Kurt Arrigo who also specialises in ocean photography. 

Next time you’re out surfing you might see a crazy person right in the wave line with a surfer fast approaching. He’ll hopefully duck just before snapping one of his awesome shots, and you might even hear him with his secret weapon. His loud whistle alerts the surfers of his presence, and yes… most likely they’ll be extra smiley for Xav.

“I got up close and personal to get the angle that nobody else can get, so I bought special equipment and a helmet to help me get closer to the subject”. It would be far easier to mount a zoom lens and stay dry and safe on the sandy beach, but Xav goes the extra mile to avoid distortion and get that epic shot he became famous for.

“The community here is fantastic. We all look out for each other and the best thing is that it is growing… luckily they like my photos.”

Joe Camilleri longboard
Just Xav Neg things…

Xav uses a range of equipment to help him in his line of work, but when he’s not using his Mirrorless Sony A7R3 with a waterproof case called Liquid Eye he’ll gladly pick up his trusted drone. He’s all about getting those impossibly perfect angles and capturing Malta from high above, or way down low.

“My favourite lens is an 85mm because you can keep a comfortable and safer distance. It’s a good focal lens and it goes well with my light gear when I’m in the water.”

Xav is a happy creative but there is one thing that does cross his mind about the sport he loves. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this man up close as we’ve shared waves in Malta, Peru and Portugal and he’s a talented man… “Imagine how good I can be if I wasn’t shooting all the time.”

It is indeed a tough trade off… but lucky for the Maltese surfing community, he often picks his camera up before he does a board. Say cheese! 

Follow Xav Neg on insta here

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