The Red Bull Illume is an international photography competition. In 2016, a record-breaking 34,624 images were submitted by 5,646 photographers from 120 countries! Below are some of our favourite surf photos from the finalists.

Mick Fanning at Pipeline, Oahu, Hawaii. Photo by Corey Wilson

“This was the final day of the Pipeline Masters on the North Shore of Oahu. Mick [Fanning] was in first place in the rankings and was going for the world title. Early that morning, Mick got the terrible news that his brother had passed away. After a very sad morning, he still wanted to surf the rest of the event and go for the world title. That is what his brother would have wanted. This photo was in his first heat of the morning against Kelly Slater and John John Florence, the two hardest opponents to surf against at Pipeline. Mick ended up winning the heat with this wave. He came out of the barrel and looked in the sky to his brother. When I got out of the water and looked at my images I had tears in my eyes after seeing this photo.”

Corey Wilson
Ken MacDonald in Choum, Mauritania. Photo by Jody MacDonald

“When I was asked to dream up and photograph a trip in harsh conditions, a 700 kilometer journey through the Sahara desert in Mauritania came to mind. Our risky rail journey started from the iron-mining center of Zouérat in the Sahara, and snaked through the barren desert toward the port of Nouadhibou on the Atlantic. We wanted to get to the coast to try to find some unexplored surf breaks and capture the spirit of adventure and exploration through this incredible landscape.”

Jody MacDonald
Beau Pilgrim at Namotu Island, Fiji. Photo by Stuart Gibson
Richard Gasperotti at Klášterec nad Ohří, Czech Republic. Photo by Luke Shadbolt
Eric Geiselman at Teahupo’o, Tahiti. Photo by Russ Hennings
Landon McNamara at Teahupo’o, Tahiti. Photo by Ben Thouard
Koa Rothman at Waimea Bay, Hawaii. Photo by Kenny Martinez
Scott Dennis at NSW, Australia. Photo by Leroy Bellet
Lofoten Islands, Norway. Photo by Sophie Zander
Blake Speir at Sebastian Inlet, Florida. Photo by Nathaniel Harrington
Shinpei Horiguchi at Pipeline, Oahu, Hawaii. Photo by Zak Noyle
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