Posted on January 15, 2021
Born and raised on the North Shore of Oahu, Surf Photographer Brent Bielmann grew up ten houses down from the legendary Pipeline. An avid waterman who loves to spearfish, foil, and surf, Brent is known for his incredible water shots taken at iconic surf breaks around the world. We recently sat down with Brent to chat about how he got into surf photography, his favorite wave to shoot, and how he spends his free time.
How did you get into surf photography?
“My first exposure to surf photography was through my uncle, Brian Bielmann, an acclaimed surf photographer who continues to shoot today, but I never really thought about it as a profession because I had always planned to be a professional surfer. Being from the North Shore, I grew up with a bunch of kids chasing the professional surf dream, but after years of competing, I ended up getting burnt out on the competition side of the sport. Ultimately, I discovered my passion for surf photography when I randomly took a camera on a surf trip and decided to swim out and shoot instead of surf. After that first session, I was hooked.”
What is your favorite wave to shoot?
"Pipeline, no question."
What is your craziest story from shooting pipeline?
“I’ll give you one from yesterday. It was a solid 10-foot day at Off-The-Wall, which I think is heavier than Pipeline at that size. I got held down for two waves, probably the first time I’ve ever had a two-wave hold-down in my life. The first wave pinned me on my back against the reef and, as I was making my way to the surface, I felt the second wave hit and was pushed back down. All I could do was try to relax and not use all my oxygen. After the second wave, I made it up for one quick breath before the impact of another wave. Probably one of the heaviest situations I’ve ever been in. Afterward, I swam outside the impact zone to catch my breath and had to remind myself that I’m lucky to have this job.”
What is your ideal day when not working?
“My ideal day would be to wake up early and run the hills above my house with my dog Ruby, followed by a nice cup of coffee. After, I’d surf good waves at Pupukea with friends and then go to Pupukea Grill for my favorite lunch- the spicy tuna quinoa salad bowl. Then, I’d surf again and go to bed early.”