Mark Tipple’s “Underwater Project”

by Owen James Burke

Escape. A young man stretches out to avoid the wave breaking above at Coogee Beach, Sydney. “The first from the underwater series, we were all caught inside by a set. Almost subconsciously, I turned the camera on the swimmers, and it turned out to be a good thing. The next wave punished me and ripped the leash off my wrist, sending the housing into the shorey somewhere – by the time I retrieved it, the swimmers had bailed, and I never got his name.”

Surf photography has been around for the better half of a century now, and it may seem that there’s not much left to explore.  Mark Tipple was looking to showcase Australia’s relationship with the ocean when one day during a photo shoot he ducked under a wave and found what he’d been after– “an almost quiet moment amongst the chaos.” – Mark Tipple

Womb. A surfer falls from his board a moment before it closes out at Bronte Beach, Sydney. “Chasing surfers underwater became a thing through winter. This surfer hit my camera a second later, and we both came up laughing. Well, I did anyway. He was confused.”

Tipple finds humor in the irony of his position when surfers in pursuit of the “cover shot” see him dive beneath them just as they are lining up for their perfect shot.  Many surfers were upset, and some even gave him a little lip.

Moment. A man reaches out for stability as the second cloud of whitewater approaches at Bronte Beach, Sydney. “There were some pretty sweet waves this morning – heaps of surfers, but not too many swimmers. I spent a few hours shooting barrels and standard surfing shots before a few swimmers came out. As a set approached, I raced over to the corner where they were. Three waves and about 75 photos later, this one was way better than any surfing photos from the day.”

Frozen. A girl is almost frozen in the face of the breaking wave at Coogee Beach, Sydney. “This day was barely waist high. I’m super stoked on the photo though – I’d love to say it was totally planned and choreographed, but it’s not.”

To learn more about Mark Tipple and his work, visit his website, blog and galleries at

*via theinertia and marktipple*


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