In the world of surfing, words like ‘spectacular’, ‘awesome’ and ‘gnarly’ get thrown about like custard pies during panto season. But in this case, even the most enthusiastic language could not begin to cover the sheer majesty of what Chris Bryan has been able to capture on film. Shot off the coast of legendary surfing spot Teahupoo on the south-west coast of Tahiti (the famous island located somewhere in the South Pacific), the film allows us to witness the phenomenon of a truly incredible monster wave as it breaks.

On this particular day, Aug 27th 2011, Bryan was was working on some pre-event footage for the Billabong Pro Tahiti contest. The French navy had assigned the conditions out at sea double code red status, which meant entry to the water was prohibited and warranted arrest. Not that this bothered the pro surfers on the beach, most of whom were sensible enough to stay on dry land. A few did venture into the surf, however, and one or two were able to pull off the extraordinary rides we see here in forensic slow motion.

Veteran pro and eleven-time World Surf League champion Kelly Slater described experiencing “a draining feeling [of] being terrified for other people’s lives all day long”, adding “it’s life or death. Letting go of that rope one time can change your life and not many people will ever experience that”. Having watched the footage a few times over ourselves now, we know what he means.

All images where shot by Chris Bryan using the Phantom HD Gold camera. Check out to see more.


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