Video Shows Two Photographers Thrown Airborne by a Giant Wave

Photography News

Cameramen Ted Grambeau and Chris Bryan are at the center of a wild video that shows their boat flipped vertically by a gigantic wave that threw them both clear of the vessel.

The wild footage — spotted by Beachgrit — was captured in Teahupoo in Tahiti, French Polynesia which is a known spot for huge surf breaks where the waves can reach a terrifying seven meters in height (about 23 feet).

Grambeau, a respected ocean photographer, and Bryan, a Hollywood surf cinematographer, were both thrown off their boat along with a baguette, just seconds after they captured a surfer in a massive wave.

The pair were in a taxi boat that navigated the first barrel the surfer was in, but mere moments later a second wave arrived and sent the craft vertically upwards, unseating both Grambeau and Bryan.

The footage is slowed down at the end of the video and the two men are seen flying into the air before hitting the side of the boat on their way into the ocean. Both men were unharmed and pulled aboard shortly after. However, Grambeau confirmed that the incident caused the loss of some of his camera equipment.

“Last few days have seen some perfect waves, near-death experiences with a boat capsizing, injuring the driver, loss of very expensive camera gear and dozens of boards broken will some perfect barrels,” he writes on Instagram.

However, Bryan appears to have had better luck, writing: “Somehow I managed to throw my camera and have it land in the boat before getting thrown overboard like a rag doll.”

Clearly, both men were extremely lucky to escape without injury, and there has been criticism for the number of boats and people out to see the swell, which was very large and therefore attracted a multitude of visitors and spectators.

Pro surf photographer Tim McKenna who was in the boat when it happened, explains the situation via his Instagram.

“At Teahupoo, the present situation is this. Camera boats with professional photographers, cameramen, and pro surfers who have been shooting the wave for years are getting gradually pushed towards the wave by an ever-increasing number of taxi boats, jet skis, tourists, and locals wanting to get close to the action for a selfie or story,” says Mckenna.

He went on to praise the captain of the boat who he says handled the situation excellently, given the massive amount of oceanic traffic around him.

The waves at Teahupoo are renowned for being some of the most dangerous surf in the world and the location is part of the international circuit for professional surf competitions. The waves there have a unique combination of size, power, and speed made more dangerous because they break over a sharp coral reef lying only meters below the surface. Add to that the presence of sharks and it takes a certain level of bravery to enter these waters.

Image credits: Header image by SFRL Tahiti.

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