Biography of Philip 'Burg' Thurston

View "Finding Your Purpose" The Burg Thurston Biography

Growing Up

My love for the ocean began at the age of 10, my two older brothers, Bryce and Glen began playing around in the waves and really enjoying the ocean so naturally I followed suit. We all grew up in Narooma bodyboarding and surfing the local beaches and reefs all throughout our upbringing and our passion and commitment to spending time in the sea became our way of life. The three of us were best friends, surfing and schooling together and we each shared the same passion for riding waves, we would awake early in the morning and squeeze in as much time as possible in the ocean before school taking turns filming each other surf, in a collective effort to put together a short surfing clip and resume to approach potential sponsors with.

In 2003 I started my HSC and also booked my first ticket to an overseas destination. It was my time to leave the shores of Australia and head to the proving ground of the North Shore in Hawaii with my 2 brothers. During the 4 weeks staying there I had some experiences that changed my life forever, and it was also where i purchased my first digital camera, a little Sony 5MP Cybershot. Back then 5 megapixels was practically unheard of and I ended up spending more time wandering around taking photos of stuff than I spent in the water surfing, which was muchly due to my passive personality making it nearly impossible to catch a wave amongst the crowded and confrontational hawaiian line up.

On arrival home my love for taking photos began to rival my passion to ride waves but I still had to finish my homework before doing either one! My school years were valuable to me but what I learnt never altered my dream of becoming a professional bodyboarder which I continued to pursue well after my graduation. Once my HSC was finished my focus shifted onto my first real creative project; building a water casing for my Sony 5MP cybershot camera, and thats exactly what I set out to do. I researched and scoured the net (that was limited back then) for information on building a camera housing and my studies eventually led me to purchasing a pile of clear Perspex sheet and a bunch of glues and sealants that I somehow constructed into a waterproof box that had the ability to press the shutter button down through this crazy little button mechanism I made. It was innovation in it's purest form and I still remember as clear as day the first time I took it out in the ocean and photographed my bros at surf beach, Narooma, God only knows where those shots are stored, probably on a floppy disk deep in my Mums garage somewhere.. Anyway I had made a waterproof camera and in the process got myself addicted to surf photography at the age of 17. My little acrylic box only survived a few months and soon the slow leaks and corrosion got the better of it and she died. So I invested into a whopping 8MP Sony Powershot that had a lens on it thicker than my arm! (at the time) And once again in similar fashion I stepped up my game and entered the world of fibreglass and moulding to construct the MK2 of my surf photography weaponry.

Over the next couple of years my passion for riding waves turned into a passion for documenting and filming the waves and for every video camera we purchased I would make an underwater housing for it so my brother and I could film in the water.. Eventually this led me into starting a small business building video camera housing systems for a living..


In early 2005 I studied Small business management and I started PTHP (Philip Thurston Camera Housings) and throughout the 5 years of operation I built over 150 underwater Housing systems for national and international surf videographers. Things were going seemingly well on the outside but internally I felt like I was on a dead end road. I had other dreams and visions in my heart and I couldn't settle in my circumstance. In the summer of 2009 after becoming quite sick I came to the realisation that my time in the ocean had been replaced with long days in a toxic and fume irrigated workshop and I came to a crossroad where I decided to lay down the tools I had accumulated and trust God to open a new pathway for me. Two weeks later my older brother Glen handed me a part time Job at the Innes Boatshed cleaning and cutting up fish so he could further pursue his flourishing career in professional bodyboarding. I humbly and enthusiastically took up the hospitality position and began what was to become the infamous Morning Shift. For the full story and Short Film on the Morning Shift visit


In July 2013 I approached my long time boss and great mentor, Steve Innes and told him that my time at the Boatshed was up. I had been pursuing photography in my spare time now for over 10 years and it was time to devote myself and my mornings fully to my long time passion and dream of being a professional photographer. I'm so excited with the release of this website and where I currently am at in life and I look forward to sharing the way I see the ocean and world around me to inspire people to "See Life from a New Perspective".

Feel free to browse this site, like a few and share a few of the pages and help support the Thurston Photo vision.

Much Love,

- Burg

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