The Red Bull Illume is an international photography contest showcasing the best of adventure and action sports. We’ve curated some of our favourite surf photos from the finalists.

Congratulations to Ben Thouard, who was the overall winner (out of 59,551 submitted images) of the Red Bull Illume Image Quest with this underwater image of Ace Buchan at Teahupo’o, Tahiti:

Ace Buchan at Teahupo'o. Photo by Ben Thouard
Ace Buchan at Teahupo’o, Tahiti. Photo by Ben Thouard

“This photo was shot during a free surf session right before the WCT event in Teahupo‘o. This is Ace Buchan kicking out from the barrel through the wave, a technique to escape a close-out wave. Luckily I was right below, breathless with my water-housing waiting for this moment and I was able to capture the whole sequence of it; this frame from the beginning of the sequence is the most powerful one because of the water around his face and body.”

Ben Thouard
Italo Ferreira at Off The Wall, Oahu, Hawaii. Photo by Pierre Beurier
Italo Ferreira at Off The Wall, Oahu, Hawaii. Photo by Pierre Beurier
Ryan Gallina at Teahupo'o. Photo by Ben Thouard
Ryan Gallina at Teahupo’o, Tahiti. Photo by Ben Thouard
Krystle Wright underwater at Teahupo’o, by Ben Thouard
Unstad, Lofoten, Norway. Photo by Christoph Oberschneider
Unstad, Lofoten in Norway. Photo by Christoph Oberschneider
Tahurai Henry at Teahupo'o. Photo by Ben Thouard
Tahurai Henry at Teahupo’o, Tahiti. Photo by Ben Thouard
Roisin Carolan in Australia. Photo by Nick Green
Roisin Carolan in Australia. Photo by Nick Green
Mikey Brennan at Shipstern Bluff Tasmania. Photo by Stuart Gibson
Mikey Brennan at Shipstern Bluff Tasmania. Photo by Stuart Gibson
Hamish Renwick in Australia, by Stuart Gibson
Aerial shot of surfer at Log Cabins, Oahu, Hawaii. Photo by Morgan Maassen
Aerial shot of surfer at Log Cabins, Oahu, Hawaii. Photo by Morgan Maassen

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