Tony Demin was standing in the surf of East Grand Traverse Bay, Michigan, when he got this shot of pro kiteboarder Matt Myers catching air off 25-knot winds. "I never could get up on the board," says the Livingston, Montana-based photographer, 41, "but it's the most dynamic watersport I've seen."
With a 20mm lens, Demin exposed 100-speed film for 1/500 second at f/4.
Alexander Nesbitt was standing on Coatue Beach, in Nantucket, when kiteboarder Christian Schlebach launched into a 720 over this sand spit. "I somehow caught the moment of vertical kite and horizontal board," says the 38-year-old Newport, Rhode Island-based lensman. "Which seems to impose this weird order on the shot, reflecting the almost religious devotion to perfection that some athletes have."
Nesbitt used an ISO of 100 and a 17-35mm lens set at f/8, opening the shutter for 1/500 second.
Alberto Guglielmi hovered in a helicopter as Italian kiteboarder Simone Vannucci skimmed across less than a foot of water off the island of Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean. "That break's called One Eye; it's a very shallow reef overlooked by a mountain that appears to have an eye," says the 37-year-old, who quit his job as a management consultant six years ago to set up shop as a photographer in upstate New York and Sardinia, Italy.
Guglielmi shot digitally with a Nikon D200 and a 70-200mm lens, exposing the frame for 1/500 second at f/5.6.
Fran√ßois-Xavier Abonnenc caught Tahitian kiteboarder Moehau Goold riding a ten-foot wave near the island of Sal, in Cape Verde, off Africa's northwest coast. "I was looking for one photo that linked the wind, the wave, and the athlete," says the 32-year-old La Garde-based Frenchman.
Abonnenc loaded his Canon EOS 1 RS with 64-speed Kodachrome film, set his 500mm lens to f/5.6, and exposed the negative for 1/60 second.
Though they may seem to be in tranquil waters, these kiteboarders are actually traversing a dangerous current off Le Morne Brabant Peninsula, on the southwestern coast of Mauritius. "When I was there, a guy had a problem with his kite and got caught in the current," says photographer Alberto Guglielmi. "He was rescued by a helicopter more than a mile offshore."
BACKSTORY: To capture the perpendicular paths, Guglielmi hired a helicopter and hovered 300 feet up. "You can see all the lines of the current from above," says the 38-year-old Accord, New York, lensman. "The image is more about the nature of the sea than the men."
THE TOOLS: Nikon D200, 12-24mm f/4 lens, ISO 200, f/7.1, 1/640 second
While cutting across Oahu's Kailua Bay at 20 knots, kiteboarder Luke Dunklee arced a little too close to Mark Johnson, who was floating on a boogie board. "I think it kind of freaked him out," says Brisbane, Australia-based-Johnson, 49. "He came really close and then tried to jump so he wouldn't hit me." To Johnson, the close call was just an opportunity to shoot a fresh angle. "You can tell he's not going to land it," he says. "But I like the dynamism."
THE TOOLS: Nikon D200, 17-55mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 125, f/5.6, 1/1,000 second
"I was 200 meters out and this dark mass just appeared in front of me," says David Sheridan, who was kitesurfing off Valla Beach, on Australia's east coast. "Next thing, I get this almighty whack in the back of my head." Luckily, the native Aussie's kite pulled him away just as the tail of this southern right whale struck him. How did he get the shot? He'd attached a camera to his kite and programmed it to shoot at ten-second intervals. But Sheridan wasn't sure he'd captured the monster at all. "When I got home and told my wife, she was like 'Yeah, yeah, sure.' But the evidence is right there."
THE TOOLS: Pentax OptioW60, 28-140mm f/3.5 lens, ISO 100, f/3.5, 1/1,000 second