Back before the internet, before digital photography And Go Pro cameras. And the hundreds of Surf media outlets. You had to be a very good wave rider to get any attention. You needed to be a proven talent , to get the Surf Photographers film and developing were not cheap. So the Photo guys were picky. Picky with wave quality lighting and location. In the 70s Pipeline was known as Kodak reef. Of course there were those that buttered up the Photographers. Hoping to get a shot in the magazine. Others were just had massive talent that when they paddled into a wave lots of cameras were focused on them.
Today is a different story. The cost of photo equipment has gone up while the cost of processing has gone down Digital Photography and video, have made a Hugh difference in a lot of sports. With all the new outlets they need quality content to capture eyeball that translate to $$$. Every those surfers that don’t seek out fame. If they have skills the talent they will get noticed. Someone will take their Photo or shot some video of them. You don’t need to be a “Pro Surfer” entering contest winning prize money having big name Sponsors or seeking the spotlight. Those of exceptional ability will be noticed. Even if they don’t seek to make a living out of Surfing.