Sunny, offshore and swell in the water. With ideal conditions like those, one would think getting a stunning shot of bombing Mavericks would be as simple as pointing the lens and clicking the shutter. SURFER staff photographer Ryan “Chachi” Craig explains how it isn’t that simple, and how his photo of Mavericks regular Matt Becker’s iconic wipeout was somewhat of an anomaly.

Even on the most idyllic day at Mavericks, when it’s big, the monsoon of spray that hails down behind each XXL monster is a burden for photographers trying to keep their lens free of blemish-causing water spots. Through Craig’s strategy to keep a dry lens, a little luck, and Becker’s commitment to ride-out an airdrop to explosive end, this beautiful yet uneasy photo came-to-be.