Freediver Arnaud Jerald explores the depths of Teahupoo

May 16, 2022 | Environment
Arnaud Jerald: the freediver explored Teahupoo through the lens of Tim McKenna | Photo: McKenna

World-renowned surf photographer and filmmaker Tim McKenna released "Waves Story," a short movie featuring professional freediver Arnaud Jerald.

Teahupoo, one of the world's most dangerous waves and the Olympic surfing venue for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, is the center stage of a unique underwater exploration.

"Waves Story" reveals how world freediving champion and world record holder Arnaud Jerald explores the famous barreling surf spot in a very unusual way.

The French athlete explores the infamous Tahitian reef break guided by the overpowering flow of the magical liquid cylinder.

"The film is like a tribute to my childhood because I have always loved playing with the waves as a kid, and my dream was to be able to do it in Teahupoo," explains Jerald.

The young freediving champion is well known for his extreme performances in the abyss - he has four world records under his belt.

In his new video "Waves Story," the Frenchman takes us deep under the legendary Tahitian wave in an extreme performance that he carefully prepared.

Teahupoo: world champion freediver Arnaud Jerald explored the depths of the infamous Tahitian coral reef wave | Photo: McKenna

A Carefully Prepared Stunt

Jerald prepared the coral reef stunt just like one of his deep dives.

McKenna, a leading figure in surf and ocean photography, captured all the freediver's adventure below the most beautiful wave in the world.

The viewer is invited to witness how Arnaud Jerald survives the heavy wave instantly collapsing on the reef, with the ocean bottom only a few centimeters below the surface.

To manage the risk and shoot "Waves Story," he called the best safety crew, i.e., the locals who know the spot like no one else.

Jerald also contacted his surfer-friend Justine Dupont, one of the world's best female big-wave riders, to understand and get the most out of this wave.

"We shot this video in October 2021, at the end of my biggest season so far, where I broke two world records and got the world champion title," adds Jerald.

"It was super important for me to express myself in this artistic project."

"It's very different from competing. I have discovered a new pressure, and I have enjoyed the whole process."

"Waves Story" is an artistic experimentation that Arnaud wants to develop more and more.

Whether in shallow or deep water, what drives Arnaud is to explore the underworld in an extreme way, and this short firm is proof that he can inspire without going too deep.

Tim McKenna was born in 1968 in Sydney, Australia. He worked for over 40 publications throughout his career.

On August 17, 2000, the action sports photographer captured the famous shot of Laird Hamilton's Millennium Wave at Teahupoo, Tahiti.

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