Below the SURFACE with Ben Thouard—Coming June 12

We are proud to announce our next ROAM Original, SURFACE, featuring the inventive underwater art of photographer Ben Thouard in stunning French Polynesia. Find out how he created a new way of capturing our world, culminating in his new book. Watch the film on June 12! 


Being in the water since a young age, I developed an obsession for waves. This is what took me to the end of the road of the island of Tahiti, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. For the last ten years, I developed my own style and path to create new and unseen ocean images. This is when the surface became an obsession.

I started looking around, going to different spots to wait for the right conditions, and slowly shoot, exclusively underwater. I spent a lot of hours underwater, either at Teahupoo, shooting below the waves and the surfers, and seeing how the light reacts onto the surface of the water. Somehow, I started to see through the waves, when the conditions were right. I think that’s what is really unique in my project.

After spending so many hours underwater, I realized that we could actually shoot the landscape through the waves. That was pretty new, at least to me. That’s in the direction that I wanted to go. So, I waited for the right conditions. I needed really clear water, very glassy surface, no wind, a good direction of swell. Wait for the good light; either it’s in the morning or in the afternoon, and started gaining the right conditions, and create new images.

This is how this new collection came to life, because I’ve been going to new spots, at new conditions, different time of the day. And really focused on the clear water, and see through the waves kind of photo.

Whether surfing or taking photos, what you’re looking for is to feel the element, and then play with it. In the water, you have to pay attention and be 100 percent focused on what you’re doing. You feel small sometimes, at Teahupoo, when it’s big. You feel the energy from the ocean, so you feel very humble, in front of all of that power. —Ben Thouard



Ben Thouard

Ben grew up in the south of France where the waves are small. His father was a sailor and taught him everything about the ocean. He discovered photography at the age of 15 and start shooting his friends who surfed. After learning photography basics in Toulon, Ben then studied in a photography school in Paris. He managed to achieve his dreams of travelling to Hawaii and shooting images. At 22, he decided to move to Tahiti. Ben quickly made Teahupo’o’s famous wave his backyard and his favorite place to shoot.

Over the last few years, Ben has risen to the top of game being the one of the leading photographers based in the the tropical paradise called French Polynesia. Magazine covers, advertising campaigns, award winning images from the water and around it has lead to global success and acknowledgment from his peers and many happy clients world wide.