Surfing photographer Bellet chases the ultimate shot

Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team

Aussie snapper reveals how he captured his stunning surfing images in Tahiti.

Leroy Bellet is not your ordinary 20-year-old and is changing the face of surfing photography with his iconic images.

The first-year university student stunned the photography world with his pictures featuring a double tow-in into steep, heavy waves in Tahiti, all captured in Tyge Landa’s 22-minute documentary Chasing the Shot. Here is all you need to know:

– Bellet first got into surfing photography as a 12-year-old in a bid to explain to his parents his obsession with the barrel, and the photography has since surpassed his surfing passion.

– He was inspired by French photographer Laurent Pujol’s double tow-in efforts in Hossegor.

– The film begins with him filming in Australia with the likes of Scott ‘Whip’ Dennis and Red Bull Cape Fear champion Russell Bierke, using a $100,000 phantom camera, which breaks during a nasty wipeout in the waves.

– Bellet, who was 18 at the time of the shoot, then travels to Teahupo’o in Tahiti with some of the biggest swells from the Antarctic Ocean. As Bellet puts it: ‘In terms of perfection, it’s the Everest of intensity and challenge’.

– Working with surfers Raimana Van Bastolaer, Michel Bourez, Craig Anderson and Matahi Drollet, the trailing photographer seals a series of stunning images with the one of Bourez approaching sunset gracing the cover of World Surfing magazines picture special edition.

– Effectively, he is dragged into the big waves by a jet ski with a surfer in front of him and captures the images knowing in his position that he will eventually get hit by the wave, the hope being not to get hurt on the reef below. He said: “The wipeout is really intense and fierce. You’re just hoping you’re not going to hit the sharp reef. You can feel it slice.”

– Of his burgeoning surfing passion, he said: “I was an OK surfer and even tried competitions but they weren’t my thing. I just really wanted to document tubes. I always thought the big POV wide-angel barrel shot was the ultimate. I’ve definitely got to a point where I don’t think about the surfing side of things anymore.”

Watch Chasing the Shot HERE. 

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