Maiko Mou makes Red Bull Illumine Close Up Finals Cut

French Polynesian photographer Maiko Mou has made it into the final cut of the Red Bull Illumine Close Up category, a Red Bull project that aims to bring together and celebrate the best action and adventure sports photographers all over the world. For more info visit:

About the shot:

I woke up early that morning to take shots of my favorite subject: empty waves. I took my time to check the conditions in different locations and finally found this wave breaking in the most perfect way. Teahupo’o is the ultimate reef break in Tahiti – it’s perfect and powerful.

I used waterhousing for my camera as always, but I think that day I took some of the most amazing pictures I’ve ever taken in the water. Nobody was around for two hours so I had total freedom to let go and just have fun.

In this photo, I just wanted to express the feeling and happiness of jumping out of a barrel wave. I tried to make the picture as dynamic as possible by pointing my fist to the sky and having that seemingly endless barrel wave in the background. The whole picture feels like a cocoon for me, it captures my state of mind at that very moment.


Photographer: Maiko Mou
Athlete: Maiko Mou
Location: Papenoo, Tahiti


Camera: Canon EOS 50D
Lens: 10-17 mm
ISO: 320
F-Stop: f9.0
Shutter speed: 1/500


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