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Behind the cover

issue 217

Some waves in the world are legendary, they don’t need a title you can tell it is that wave simply by the way it is breaking. Teahupoo in Tahiti is one of those waves, it is as beautiful as it is powerful, a left breaking wave that is perfection. The swell rolls in from uninterrupted water and then hits a coral reef that has been chiselled by a local freshwater river, the wave then peels like no other creating the most perfect of tubes.

There are a number of surfers who have huge reputations here at Teahupoo. But possibly the most famous and without doubt the most successful is Michel Bourez, on the world tour they call him the spartan because of psychic and the way he charges every wave that is sent his way. Michel is a modest guy and is like a soccer superstar in the islands of Tahiti.

The cover was shot by Australian Leroy Bellet for a redbull special project. Leroy has become famous for these types of POV shorts inside nasty waves. In this shot he is surfing about 3 feet behind Michael shooting with a fisheye lens in a water housie specifically made for this wave. – 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, with the hope of being not to get hurt on the reef below. – Bellet, who was 18 at the time of the shoot said ‘In terms of perfection, it’s the Everest of intensity and challenge’

Behind the scenes asphotographer Leroy Bellet is seen paddling in Tahiti, French Polynesia during filming of Chasing the Shot on June 17, 2017

LEROY BELLET

“Chops is so sharp and shallow. When I was surfing on the days leading up to the swell, I was like, ‘This could end up bad.’ I thought I might only have one wave and I’d get sliced up and that would be it. Luckily we got four chances.”

 

images courtesy RedBull content pool

 

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