We caught up with Australia-based photographer Rod Owen at a busy time, as Fiji’s peerless lefts reawakened for the first swell of the year, and another was already on the way. Harry Bryant, Ryan Hipwood, Pama Davis, and others were joined by boatman Jarrod White and local standout Che Bula for a premier lunchtime session after they waited out thumping morning sets for classic afternoon Cloudbreak. We asked Owen for the details behind his favorite shot from the session, featuring Bula inside a deep tropical tunnel.

“Giant sets were washing through from Second Reef and cleaning everybody up throughout the morning. On an afternoon that was super groomed and perfect direction with minimal crowds, it’s only fitting that the best sequence of the day went to a Fijian. Che stroked into some amazing waves this swell – I had only met him a few days earlier out at Cloudy, actually. But this ride of his in particular was amazing. He lined up the entire reef and was super deep. After this session, he snapped a board and came over to the Namotu boat and checked out some of his images. By the look on his face, you would think it was the wave of his life. He was beyond stoked. It was cool to see a super-humble legend putting it up against some pros in such flawless conditions.