Daniel Pankoke: Surf Photographer

Beyond The Frame

Welcome to another episode of Surf Bank's Beyond The Frame where we dive into the captivating world of surf and ocean photography, going beyond mesmerising captures exploring the backstory of many talented photographers. In this episode we will be hearing from Daniel Pankoke from Bielefeld, Germany now living in the beautiful Algarve. Beyond the frame aims to inspire and inform future surf photographers and ocean lovers being your backstage pass to detailed insights from the minds behind stunning surf shots.

Daniel Pankoke Gallery

What Did Your Childhood Look Like?

Hey, I'm Daniel, born and raised in Bielefeld, Germany in 1989. Bielefeld is located in the heart of Germany and not exactly suitable for surfing, which is why I spent a lot of time cycling during my youth. I've always had a great passion for sports. In 2013, I took my first surfing course in Costa Rica, and since then, I've been able to combine my two passions, surfing and photography through travels to France, the Netherlands, Panama, Portugal, and Spain.

What Came First, Surfing or Photography?

First photography, then surfing, and then surf photography!

How Did You Get Into Surf Photography?

I started with photography in 2013, I bought a Canon DSLR for a trip to Costa Rica to document the journey. While there, I mainly photographed animals and landscapes, but I also took my first surfing course. It became clear to me during the trip that photography was exactly what I wanted to do. At that time, my focus was more on wildlife photography and less on sports. The specialization in water sports came much later when I had to go to Portugal for a job in 2019 and already had much more experience as a surfer.

Where Do You Normally Shoot?

At the moment Fehmarn/ Germany around the Island, looking forward to go back to Portugal Algarve though!!

Photo By Daniel Pankoke

Where Do You Shoot? Water or Land?

I capture photographs everywhere, on land with a telephoto lens, in the water, and even in the air with a drone.

What Makes The Perfect Image?

That's simple: Light.

How Did You Become So Involved In The Surf Scene?

In early 2019, I received a commission to take photos for a new surf camp in Portugal. I flew there at short notice. The client was very impressed with the photos, which led to more assignments. By the end of May, I made the decision to relocate my life from Germany to the Algarve and fully dedicate myself to surf photography.

What's Your Biggest Challenge To Overcome When Shooting?

The biggest challenge is photographing in the water. No matter how many times you've been out there, something unexpected can always happen. The sea is unpredictable. But it is precisely this challenge that I love so much.

Photo By Daniel Pankoke

Daniel's Equipment List

Camera & Lenses

Daniel normally works with the Nikon Z system, using lenses ranging from 11mm to 500mm focal length.

Water Housing

When it comes to water housing, Daniel opts for his GDOME setup.


When Daniel is shooting from the sky he opts for the DJI Mavic Air drone.

Daniel's Favourite Shot Taken

Photo By Daniel Pankoke

Barrelled Surfer doing WSL Peniche Praia dos Supertubos.

Daniel's Future Plans

Way to much, 😀 better you follow my social media channels to stay up to date with me!

Follow @danielpankoke

You can keep up to date with Daniel's new projects and recent captures on his Instagram, as well his website here

Do You Want To Be Involved In Beyond The Frame?

Are you a surf photographer wanting your story told? You may be our next Beyond The Frame feature! Please get in touch with us over email so we can get a conversation going:

Photo By Daniel Pankoke

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