First of all, the tones are excellent. A great Black and White conversion. I personally have trouble creating a shot with nice contrast without blowing highlights out. James accomplishes it nicely, and consistently across this set of beach photos.
The composition is excellent… with the main subject right on the 2/3 vertical line.
Where I really start to have fun is looking at the areas of contrast. The main subject is split in half by the horizon line. Below the horizon line, you have dark shorts on light sand. Above it, you have a light shirt against a dark sky. In the distance, we’ve got a dark figure on light sand, again being segmented by the horizon line. The football in the air (crisp too) connects the figures in a way that’s secondary to the horizon. Your eye naturally flows from the foreground figure, to the ball, to the figure in the distance, and follows the horizon back to the foreground. It’s a very comfortable shot to look at, while remaining dynamic enough to keep your eyes active.
Finally, the great texture of the sand contrasts nicely against the perfectly smooth gradient of the sky.
Excellent shot James, I think we can all learn a few things from this photo.