A Watch for Sharks

Well, the surf's been slower than usual, and its been a windy month. We're hoping that the weather patterns will change for the better coming up soon, but in the mean time, there is still work to be done.

My nephew, the infamous, Brent Bielmann, water photographer extraordinaire, is also an all around waterman and a fabulously handsome model. Kid's got a lot going on. Poncho Sullivan and some partners have started a new watch company called, Aluta Surf and they asked Brent to represent them. They needed some photos for their catalog so we decided to shoot some underwater photos of Brent spear fishing, and we headed to Haleiwa Harbor.

I met Brent there, and we jumped on his jet ski to venture out into the open ocean. It was not very clear close to shore, so we headed out about a mile until Brent got an idea. He says, "Hey, lets find some sharks and get them in the photo for an interesting background."

Ahhh, ok… I'd swam with sharks before, so I thought that would be a great idea photo wise.

We got to the spot where the sharks hang out, jumped in and sure enough there was 3 hanging out. They were probably around 6 to 8 feet. Not huge, but still enough that I decided to not take my eyes off them.

Brent does his first descent and I hit my motor drive and make sure the watch is showing up good. Got to remember it's all about the watch. Anyway, by the time we get back to the surface the wind is so strong that the ski has blown so far away that we realize we can’t do more than one dive at a time, or we won’t be able to swim to it and the damn ski will get blown out to sea.

So we continue to shoot and then swim for the ski. The problem was, every time we would shoot with the sharks in the photo they would hang back a bit, but as soon as we started swimming back to the ski the damn sharks would get closer and be right behind us. Heres the worst part, Brent has these huge dive fins so he’s going really fast to catch up to the ski and I'm behind him kicking my butt off with these little Churchill fins, so Im the guy in the back and the sharks are behind me.

I tried to keep constant eye contact with them and that seemed to keep them just far enough away. I'm not sure if they were hungry or just curious, but I wanted to keep my distance.

Anyway we got a few cool shots and finished the session in another spot without any sea life to be concerned about. I'm just not that stoked to swim with sharks, maybe eventually I will feel differently. I have friends who love swimming with them.

Crazy… anyway. A fun time was had by all.

Brian Bielmann

Brian Bielmann is an award winning surf photographer.  His images have graced more than 150 magazine covers and have appeared in iconic magazines such as, Rolling Stone, Vogue, Men's Journal, National Geographic, and Sports Illustrated. 


His client list includes Anheiser-Busch, Guinness, Red Bull, Quicksilver, Billabong, Reef, Sanuk, DCShoes and Western Digital among others. Brian was also the senior staff photographer for TransWorld Surf Magazine for 14 years.

Even after nearly four decades of surf photography, Bielmann is still having the time of his life. His dedication, love of the lens, and surfing will continue to grow and affect the way the world sees the surfing lifestyle.

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