Behind the lens: Aussie photographer Leroy Bellet's ultimate surf shot

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Red Bull TV have launched a new TV series, Chasing the Shot, which pairs cutting-edge photographers with world-class athletes to produce amazing imagery.

Season One’s episode goes behind the lens with up-and-coming Australian surf photographer Leroy Bellet on his quest to 'capture the shot of a lifetime.'

Bellet's specialty is the double-tow, which involves getting towed into waves by a jet-ski, surfing behind another surfer and shooting photos at the same time. 
"For a couple of years, I’d been drawing these images I had in my mind from behind a surfer in the barrel, but I didn’t know how to make them a reality," Bellet explains in an interview with Red Bull.
It’s a position you can’t be in while swimming. When I saw Laurent Pujol tow-surfing with his camera behind other surfers on the beach breaks of France, I realised it was possible.

I basically just took Laurent’s technique into the reef breaks of Australia’s East Coast. When the images started to turn out and I felt more comfortable tow-surfing, I thought it would be cool to try it at night and at sunrise with a flash. So maybe the reef double-tow and the flash double-tow are my specialties."

The shooting style means he's in a much more precarious position than the surfer—as fellow photographer Steve Wall explains in the video, “for him to get a good shot, he has to wipe out, he has to suffer.” But this means Bellet is also able to capture a unique viewpoint that few others can.

In the 22-minute video above, Bellet explains how he got started in photography, before taking a $100,000 Phantom ultra-slow motion camera out in the surf near his place on the South Coast, NSW (with some interesting results), before heading to Tahiti to photograph world tour surfer Michel Bourez for a shot he describes as the 'everest of intensity and challenge'.

Speaking to AP about the shot, Bellet says the image was a Nikon D5 with a 16mm fisheye lens and an Aquatech Delphin housing.

"A custom trigger system allows me to hold the camera upside down and ride the wave with balance," he explains.

"This technique allows me to capture the feeling and motion of riding the wave from an inside perspective while keeping the camera stable and free of water droplets.”

The shot, showing Michel Bourez and some beautiful green light, was descibed by Kelly Slater as 'one of the best ever', and was selected to be on the cover of Surfing World magazine.

The final image

You can see more of Leroy's incredible surf imagery on his website and instagram. Images and content courtesy of RedBull. 

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