Video Shows Photographer Breaking Back in Deathly Surf

“I just remember feeling weightless and it taking a really long time to come down." What came next for surf photographer Ryan Moss wasn't pretty. He's now in a hospital bed in Honolulu. To see exactly what happened in waves never seen before, read on.

Reports of a once-in-a-lifetime swell had been building for about a week before the waves finally arrived on Monday. All the best big-wave surfers in the world were well prepared and ready to venture out into the ocean to tackle a handful of outer reefs that could cope with such massive swells. And along with all the surfers were a bunch of photographers who never miss the opportunity to shoot these humongous, cavernous waves.

One of those photographers was Ryan Moss, a seasoned veteran on the islands, well accustomed to shooting in such scenarios. What he wasn't ready for was the sets that loomed on the horizon like big, black windows blocking the sun. In the video, you can see Moss and his partner, big-wave surfer Cam Richards, fly up over the wave around the 2:00 mark. The landing wasn't good, as they were so high up in the air. As Moss said from his hospital bed: "I didn’t know or realize how fast Cam sent us over the lip of that thing. There was no handle on the ski, so I couldn’t stand up and hold on and hoped my legs would have absorbed some of the impact. So, I was just sitting on the back with a death grip on the leather seat. Next thing I know, I heard a loud thud, and it felt like the ski buckled in half."

Quite macabre, I know, but I'm wondering what happened to all his camera gear. Thankfully, Moss is not paralyzed, as he first feared, but he'll be out of the water for quite a while. I'll let you watch on in awe.

Iain Stanley's picture

Iain Stanley is an Associate Professor teaching photography and composition in Japan. Fstoppers is where he writes about photography, but he's also a 5x Top Writer on Medium, where he writes about his expat (mis)adventures in Japan and other things not related to photography. To view his writing, click the link above.

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What was the purpose of this story and the video? Ptetty sad when you usr someone else's misfortune to solicit viewers. You've hit thr bottom of the bartel. Its to bad i cannot block seeing your stories, as i will remember your nsme snd not bother to read your futire stories.

K' bye!

Be sure to ask for your money back!

"Quite macabre, I know, but I'm wondering what happened to all his camera gear."

What? Does Fstoppers have an editor?

Well, it’s important enough that the photographer talks about his gear and his priorities regarding gear and safety in the link below. Lost/damaged/irretrievable gear is a big part of surf photography and many have stories of having to make quick decisions regarding preservation of gear in harrowing situations. It might not be your world, but it’s a reality. Interview with Ryan Moss here:

What an entitled world we live in where people make their living by traveling vast distances to grab bragging rights to surfing.

Same world where people travel vast differences making a living by shooting landscapes, travel content or auto photography.

This was not a competition. Because of covid-19, the world surfing tour has been scrapped since last March. This is just a bunch of people surfing big waves and the majority would have received zero money for any of it.

Compare that with the NBA, NFL, English Premier League soccer where people are paid millions of dollar a month to chase, throw, kick a ball around......

Sadly, the market decides what people are paid. But these surfers In this video aren’t getting peanuts for surfing on this day.

Darwin Award Winners....

Extreme imbeciles. Did they expect not to get injured?

That’s the risk in any extreme sport, isn’t it? Or even sports like car racing, motorbike racing, downhill skiiing.....the list is endless

Pretty sure that they weighed up the risks, but didn't go out to get injured. There are genres of photography that has more risk than others, surf photography is one.

Folks get into a motor vehicle every day and they expect not to get injured - there is always a possibility of death as well. Ryan Moss experienced a very rare injury that he survived. How many near misses does the average person experiences each year just merely riding in an automobile?

Surely this was written to generate tons of "How can they publish this" comments like this one to boost engagement and SEO value. I mean, right?