National Geographic News

Shane Dorian Surfing Jaws, Hawaii

Photograph by Fred Pompermayer

Getting the Shot

“I was so stoked to watch through my viewfinder" as big-wave surfer Shane Dorian was in position for this massive wave, recalls surf photographer Fred Pompermayer. "As soon as he made it through the huge drop, I could see that he was going to make the huge barrel.”

Pompermayer originally was going to skip photographing this early season session at Jaws, a Maui surf break known for its ferocious waves. He changed his plans the night before and arrived on the island the next morning. Two hours after landing, he was in the water capturing Shane Dorian’s winning ride for the Billabong XXL Tube Ride of the Year.

“With the swell picking up in the afternoon, the waves continued to grow,” Pompermayer says. “Just before dark a huge set came in and washed every surfer out. Shane was the only one that was able to make through the sets and was able to stay far out.

“It was an incredible moment. Then he disappeared into the spray of the barrel. It was one of those hold-your-breath kind of moments, to see if he would make it out. I kept shooting and was thrilled to see him reappear. Everyone who saw this ride knew Shane had just scored the ride of the year, no doubt,” Pompermayer says.

Pompermayer shot with a Canon EOS 1Dx and a Canon 70-200mm lens, along with his customized water housing.

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