If A Reef Had Eyes

Directed By: Chris Straley
Photographed By: Chris Straley
Surfers: Rob Machado, Jay Thompson, Sean Moody, Ben Bourgeois

The simplest of ideas sometimes prove most difficult, as the Reef team learned firsthand. "Those guys were super lucky to get a few hours at perfect, three-to-four-foot Teahupo'o" says Ben Bourgeois, who thanks to Delta airlines got stuck for 30 hours in the Atlanta airport en route to Tahiti, thus missing the day in which these images took place. "Once I arrived the surf was huge, blown out, and junky the rest of the trip. If it weren't for that first day, the concept would have been blown and these photos wouldn't have happened."

According to Reef photographer Chris Straley, "Our concept isn't 100 percent original, as underwater photography has been seen before, but we wanted an organic, raw feeling. We didn't want to do helicopters or any of that shit because it doesn't fit with our brand direction. We've seen so many rad below-the-surface photos that guys like Brian Bielmann have shot, and that gave us the idea for an underlying theme—which is to try and portray what a reef would have seen throughout the years since the creation of surfing."

Reef's 2011 Imaginarium submission from Tahiti. Photo: Straley

Reef's 2011 Imaginarium submission from Tahiti. Photo: Straley

We invited four teams from four companies to conceptualize and execute a photographic feature to be shown on the pages of TransWorld SURF. Teams were also responsible for a five-minute video for The teams had two months to go anywhere in the world and shoot anything they wanted. The only rules: no Photoshop and their chosen theme must be reflected throughout the whole submission. Imaginarium winners announced on Sept. 22, 2011