I woke up to a classic Fijian day, postcard perfection conditions – overhead fun waves and blue sky. But it’s the dead glassy water that has me so excited! Underwater surf photography is my passion, I’ve shot so much it can be hard to get yourself and camera into a unique position.
For this shot I wanted to shoot as close as possible to the surfer but directly underneath with a 16mm fisheye lens. To get this angle on reef breaks, you have to totally breathe out – if you have air in your lungs you just rise back up and the wave or surfer hits you. Then you have to dive to the bottom and lie on the reef for 10 or 15 seconds. You have to kick down really early so you don’t mess up the surface of the water and ruin your silky smooth glassy conditions on top.
There isn’t much room for error out at Wilkes Passage, it’s really shallow and the wave breaks in different spots every set, so you don’t really know if you’re in the right place or you’re about to get a serious back scratch, Fiji style!
Everything lined up perfectly for this shot and Beau screamed straight over me. When a surfer passes directly over you they are moving so much faster then usual, you just see them coming in the corner of your eye then do your best to compose the image and hold on tight. I always know when I’ve shot something great because it feels good straight after and we both knew we had something special. I like that feeling!