WinningImage © Chris Burkard / Red Bull Illume

The world’s best action and adventure sports photographers were revealed last night at a high spirited unveiling ceremony in Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. A stunning landscape-style surf photo by Chris Burkard (USA) wowed the international jury and was selected as the overall winner of Red Bull Illume 2010.

“I am so blessed,” said Burkard on picking up the biggest prize in freesports photography, the Best Photo Award at the Trinity College in Dublin. “I feel really, really lucky just to be here and be surrounded by people I look up to and my peers. There’s something to be said to win an award in front of people you respect. So for me this is huge, a really huge honour. I’m really grateful.”

“As action sports photographers, we’re used to getting towards the action and getting close to it. And nine times out of ten, that’s what we’ll do. But I decided to get as far from the action as I could so I could show the whole landscape so people could appreciate everything that was going on and not just the surfer.”

Chris on his winning image: “We woke up the morning (in Chile) after the rains to howling offshore winds, swell was pulsing and the conditions were as good as they get. We drove to a spot in the afternoon that the locals had said, “rarely breaks.” When we pulled up it was reeling left barrels for almost a football field’s length. We scrambled to get out and surf. I was sun burnt and tired and had no idea how to document this moment. The waves were some of the most i had ever seen, so I decided to risk it. I sprinted down the beach and hiked up a sand dune to get a pulled back perspective.

"The shore break was so big, and the offshores’ plumes so high, that I was missing most of the best waves, but finally a set came through. The light, the wind, and the swell were perfect. It was as if everything in nature fell into perfect harmony for this single moment. As Peter Mendia eased into this wave, the backwash hit, sending a golden shower of water 10-feet above his head, and sending him down the line of another 20-second barrel.”

Technical equipment used:

Camera: Nikon D700
Lens: 70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8
ISO: 125
F-Stop: f 6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/1000

See the full list of category winners and finalists on


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