Neither water nor land, the jetski camera angle is as unique as it is dangerous.
In surf photography, the game is usually shot from water or land. The water guy is wide-angle, mostly, meaning his money shot is the ultra close-up of a turn or tube, while the land angle usually involves taking in a little foreground to create interest and perspective.

Lately, with big waves suddenly back in the picture, it isn't water or land that's taking the most compelling images but those shot from the back of a jet ski.

Chris Bryan, a 37-year-old cameraman from Australia, who most recently was hired to film the jet ski angle for the upcoming remake of Point Break in Tahiti, says, “It’s the difference between looking at a skyscraper from a plane or standing on the ground looking up. This angle puts the wave in its proper perspective.”

GoPros, he says, make the tube look too small; the boat angle lacks drama.

Along with Chris, the following spread includes the work of luminaries Daniel Russo, from Hawaii, Domenic Mosqueira, from French Polynesia, and Andrew Shield, from Australia.

Josh Kerr – Pipeline, Hawaii

The World Surf League surfer Josh Kerr, known, mainly, for his airs is also a surprising standout at Pipe. The jet-ski angle, here, lets us into the otherworldly experience of the Pipe take-off: so photogenic, so sculptural, but so riddled with danger.
© Daniel Russo

Ramon Navarro – Chile

Four hours north of the Chilean capital, Santiago, we find the Chilean big-wave charger Ramon Navarro taking, head on, one of the biggest swells to hit the region in memory. "It was beautiful," said Ramon.
© Daniel Russo

Matahi Drollet – Teahupoo, French Polynesia

Matahi is a 17-year-old Tahitian whose barrel, here, stole the show during filming for the remake of Point Break last year. "We're coming down this vertical face, me filming, and I was thinking, 'We're going to flip!' But as we pulled out of the drive I saw this huge blow out and Matahi flew out."
© Chris Bryan

The Pipeline pack

The follow cam, here, gives the viewer an insider's view of the pack that crowds Pipe every time it breaks. As for the photographer, he says: "I know what I need for a photo to happen. I know where I have to be. I'm always thinking two to three feet away. I know where to position myself…"
© Daniel Russo

Josh Kerr – Two am sesh, Australia

Strictly speaking, this ain't follow cam but… follow flash! Here we see the World Surf League surfer Josh Kerr, at two am, Snapper Rocks. "Josh has stepped off the ski driven by Asher Pacey and Ash is holding a remote flash that I am triggering with my camera from the beach," says the photographer.
© Andrew Shield

Nathan Florence – Outer reef, Hawaii

Nathan Florence, the middle brother to John John and Ivan, skipping down the face of a wave big enough to engage him in a "a constant little stress-case mind battle, thinking 'I could die, I could die, I could die.'"
© Daniel Russo

Nathan Florence – Tahiti

The follow-cam works, mostly, in bigger waves but it also works as a lightly elevated and tweaked angle on airs. "This was at a reef pass not too far from Teahupoo," says the photographer, adding. "You have to keep a good eye on your subject for framing as the ski continually bounces you."
© Domenic Mosqueira

Nathan Florence – Outer reef take-off, Hawaii

Yeah, sure, this is a Nathan Florence heavy gallery. But that's the pro surf photo game. Surf in front of the best shooters in the biz and you'll nail significant, even iconic, photos. This was taken at Outside Monster Mush, near Sunset, on a big… big… north-north-west swell.