7 Sharp Questions with Ben Thouard: The Master of Teahupoo

Magicseaweed

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Updated 28d ago

Iconic images in surfing are hard to come by. That's not necessairly a bad thing, the art of the trade is being pushed to new, mind racing mediums – but it takes a lot more now for people to scoop their jaw from the floor when intense imagery is revealed. However, few photographers do more than Ben Thouard to truly live up to iconic status.

After growing up in the south of France, then studying photography in Paris, Thouard’s passion for shooting deadly and blindingly blue waves brought him to Tahiti. And one wave in particular – Teahupoo.

“John John Florence on a lifetime wave…”

“John John Florence on a lifetime wave…”

© 2020 - Ben Thouard

“My curiosity and thirst for discovery takes me constantly around the world to meet new cultures and discover new places,” said Thouard. “I’m finally able to live my dream and satisfy my two passions: photography and ocean.”

While Thouard’s photography has taken him across the world, Chopes remains his main squeeze. His photos have been featured on magazine covers, catapulted him to the top of the podium for photography contests, and even found themselves on many armchair chargers’ coffee tables with his newish book, Surface.

“The famous triple lip of Teahupoo only on big, west tow-in days. It’s probably the result of one or two cracks on the reef.”

“The famous triple lip of Teahupoo only on big, west tow-in days. It’s probably the result of one or two cracks on the reef.”

© 2020 - Ben Thouard

But if you’re familiar with his photography, then it’s likely through his images of the Tahitian beast.

And now you can own high-quality Ben Thouard photos – along with photos from many other topnotch lensmen and women – which are ready-to-hang and printed on HD metal slabs.

Below, we caught up with Thouard to hear about how he got into the game, his advice for aspiring surf photogs and, of course, to hear more about his iconic images.

“Frankie Harrer coming up from the depths…”

“Frankie Harrer coming up from the depths…”

© 2020 - Ben Thouard

How did you get into photography?
I found an old camera from my father at home and started shooting my friends surfing. Right away I got hooked and combined my two passions: photography and ocean.

Must-have pieces of equipment for trips?
A pair of Dafins, a Canon camera, and a 50mm lens in an Aquatech water housing.

Career path?
Photography school in Paris from 2004 to 2005; first trip to Hawaii in 2006; first trip to Teahupoo in 2007; moved to Tahiti in 2008; been shooting in the water all the time ever since.

“A window to the wild coast of Tahiti, Teahupoo, and Fenua Aihere.”

“A window to the wild coast of Tahiti, Teahupoo, and Fenua Aihere.”

© 2020 - Ben Thouard

First camera used?
Canon AE1

First camera owned?
Canon EOS 3

“A beautiful, tiny little wave above shallow, very sharp reef…”

“A beautiful, tiny little wave above shallow, very sharp reef…”

© 2020 - Ben Thouard

Biggest influences?
Jeff Divine, Don King, Scott Aichner, Aaron Chang, Brian Bielmann, Ted Grambeau, Tom Servais.

Advice for upcoming photographers?
Find your own path and style! Be unique…

Cover shot: “Koa Rothman on one of the biggest waves ever ridden at Teahupoo (after Nathan Fletcher’s crazy one).” A version of this article originally appeared on Surfline.