Every year in the small beach town of Cabarete, Dominican Republic there gathers athletes of specialized aquatic prowess. The Master of the Ocean is an annual competition incorporating four disciplines, surf, kitesurf, windsurf, and stand up paddle boarding. As the name suggests, the goal of a competitor is to prove he or she is the most proficient in all four sports. Marcus Bohm, the event organizer invited me down to provide photo and video coverage of the event.
The north coast is known for its particularly optimal weather conditions for water sports. Specifically surfing, kitesurfing, and windsurfing. This makes it the perfect arena for the competition. Surfing is primarily delegated to the beach known as “El Enquentro” because of its perfect breaks while the wind sports are practiced at “Kitebeach” and the beach of Cabarete known for its consistent wind that blows all day. For the purpose of the competition, however, all sports’ heats were first held at El Enquentro but were later moved due to complications and weather. Speaking of weather, with an event as diverse as this we were constantly at the mercy of Mother Nature and her changing conditions and so the scheduling was occasionally shifted around.
My gear for this event included 2 Canon and Sony camera bodies with several lenses (70–200mm being the most crucial), Ikelite water housing for catching shots close to the action, and my Phantom 2 drone for establishing shots and chasing surfers down the waves (a skill that proved to be trickier than I thought). Overall getting great images and footage was simply about being in the right place at the right time while the athletes tirelessly performed like champions. Their skill and ability to switch from sport to sport was truly something to be admired.
This was my first sports event coverage and I must admit even through challenging conditions and changing schedules and locations it was a great experience. I learned which settings work for different situations and how badly I could’ve used a couple more 100mm to my zoom lens lol. Much thanks to Marcus for hosting, the other photographers and videographer for their help and footage, everyone who worked at the event, and the amazing athletes for putting on a great show.