Leroy Bellet and the story behind his Michel Bourez-at-Teahupoo treasure…
For the past four years, a teenager from country Australia, Leroy Bellet, has been shooting some of the best POV shots in the world.
(Anthony Walsh ain’t bad, either.)
Bellet, who was eighteen when this shot was taken in 2017 (yeah, the wheels move slow), has been chasing the monkey-on-the-back angle ever since he saw the French ex-pro Laurent Pujol doin’ it back in 2013.
Pujol’s idea was this: Imagine a GoPro photo but captured with a high-end Nikon D3 riveted to the fine glass of a 16mm prime lens. But mounting big cameras on helmets and boards, while theoretically possible, is expensive and clunky.
So Laurent figured he’d try a more direct and primitive route. He’d step off into tubes behind the surfer and while they rode the tube, he’d do the same, only deeper, and holding a camera.
“I saw this photo Mark Healey took at Pipe with his GoPro in his mouth and he came in and showed me the picture,” Pujol told me back in 2013. ” And even though it was soft (out of focus) and it wasn’t, like, the perfect shot, you could see the colours, the surfer from behind and I just went, wow, that’s fucking crazy. That’s what I want to do. But I want to figure out how to catch a wave with a (Nikon) D3 in my hand not a GoPro.”
The results were pretty wild.
Pujol’s dream was to get a couple of frames of Bruce Irons or Nathan Florence at Teahupoo but, as he said at the time, “I’m not going to kill myself for nothing. I’m not going to do it for a double-page spread.”
Bellet, on the other hand…