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April 3rd, 2012

Nathan Fletcher’s amazing XXL ride at Teahupo’o

National Geographic named photographer Brian Bielmann‘s photo of Nathan Fletcher surfing Teahupo’o, Tahiti as their Extreme Photo of the Week! Look at this thing, wow!

"This was the heaviest day anyone had ever surfed or photographed," recalls Bielmann. Fletcher’s incredible ride and Bielmann’s photo are nominated for the Monster Tube Award in the 2012 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards.

Click photos below to enlarge…

Text from National Geographic

"We had the most fearless boat driver in Tahiti and that’s the reason I got the shot," says Bielmann. The other boats in the area were already at the top of the wave looking down or on the other side of the wave, but Bielmann’s boat remained. "Nathan caught this wave and was below sea level from my angle. Then we watched him ride the biggest tube ever ridden, all the way through, before finally being taken over by the wave," an amazed Bielmann recalls.

Unusually large swells often create unusual situations. "The waves were so big this day, they were rushing up the shore and slamming into people’s homes, dragging all kinds of things back into the ocean. At one point, I saw a refrigerator floating through the lineup. When I got home, we realized it was our fridge that I had photographed," says Bielmann.

After the wave closed, I looked at my viewfinder and saw this shot, but it’s hard to tell if things are sharp on the water," Bielmann recalls.

When I finally saw the photo, I knew it was the best shot I had ever taken in my life.