Why photographer Leroy Bellet is truly fearless

Can you spot the hero in this picture?

Words: Andreas Rottenschlager
Photography: Leroy Bellet/Red Bull Illume 

Leroy Bellet shoots pro surfers by shadowing them on his own board. Great idea — except for the danger.
Leroy Bellet
The man behind the camera:

Fearless 18-year-old wave rider Leroy Bellet.

Anyone hoping to showcase the savage beauty of surfing needs to get as close to the professionals as they can, while they’re on the waves,” says Australian photographer Leroy Bellet. But then he would say that: This 18-year-old snapper has a particularly risky method of capturing top surfers in action.

Instead of swimming into the water and waiting for the surfers, as many of his counterparts do, Bellet has a Jet Ski launch him into the same wave so that he can chase down his targets on his own board, Nikon D810 at the ready. “I’m surfing while I’m composing the picture,” he explains. “So there’s a high risk the shot will go wrong.”

It took Bellet four months to get this shot of surfer Scott Dennis, photographed off the coast of New South Wales. “I kept coming off the board,” he reveals. “I wrecked two of them, and I ended up in the hospital three times.”

So why does he keep at it? “Surfing beats getting stuck doing paperwork. I’m not a fan of office jobs.” 

😑😝 Interview/profile for @redbull_surfing 'behind the lens' just went live. Link in bio 👊🏾

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“Surfing beats getting stuck doing paperwork. I’m not a fan of office jobs.” 
Leroy Bellet, 18
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