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Meet the guys behind the lens of our new Photo Print styles!


 

We caught up with Hayden O'Neill & Leroy Bellet, the guys behind our new photoprint styles, Tunnel Vision & Mentawais to find out more about their love for summer, the beach and of course surf photography.

Meet Hayden O'Neill


Who or what inspired you to become a surf photographer?
Pretty cliche but surfing growing up was probably the key, I always wanted to travel, get good waves, party and never do a 9-5. That's what pushed me into photography. My friends and family were always a big influence too, pushing me to chase it. Without them, I'm sure I'd be worse off.


What do your photos reflect/convey?
Good times and good memories really. I'd hope people would get a kick, gain inspiration and enjoy looking at my work for what it is. I think if someone comes away from looking at one of my my pieces on a wall and gains something, that's enough for me.


What is your favourite thing about Summer?
Obviously, the beach, beers with mates, that feeling that always itches away at you to hit the road. It's always my favourite time of year, especially around home. When November rocks around, I always make sure I'm back home for the Summer.


What does Havaianas mean to you as a brand?
I think growing up with Havaianas under my feet, it's a brand that supports the Summer. Working in a surf shop for close to seven years, it was always a go to. It's become part of Australian culture.

What's your favourite thing about surfing?
Good times with friends. Always.


Where is the most amazing place your photography has taken you to?
Micronesia in 2014. I worked there for close to 4 months and without photography, I wouldn't have even known the place existed. Micronesia is its own world onto itself.

What are three words that describe summer for you?
Waves, beers, mates.


What is your favourite beach in Australia?
Gunnamatta, minus the March flies… it's the dream.

Meet Leroy Bellet


Who or what inspired you to become a surf photographer?
It was a combination of a few things that initially inspired me. The most prominent thing would have to be the simple ability to be able to show my friends and family what surfing and the ocean meant to me. The simple act of storytelling gave me great and unexpected joy.


What do your photos reflect/convey?
I hope they convey raw and powerful ideas about those around me, myself and our connection with nature and the ocean. Sometimes I want to show the importance of feeling small and in awe of nature. I feel it is good to know that we are a small part of a larger picture because it can help us gain an understanding of our existence.


What is your favourite thing about Summer?
The sun! And Christmas! Where I live can get cold with short days in Winter so long, hot summer days are great to get outdoors and in the refreshing ocean water. It's also a time when lots of friends and family take time off work for Christmas and I've always enjoyed that feeling of togetherness as we bring in the new year.


What does Havaianas mean to you as a brand?
Havaianas represents a minimalistic and honest lifestyle, where people live life to the fullest in their own unique ways. It's like the products inspire freedom, from the feet up!

What’s your favourite thing about surfing?
Feeling a part of nature. Not many things in life give me a strong sense of belonging or purpose but when I'm in the ocean, especially when surfing, everything becomes clear in a way that I cannot describe with words - that's probably where photography came into it.


Where is the most amazing place your photography has taken you to?
The small, remote village of Teahupoo, Tahiti. No place has ever inspired me or made me feel the way Teahupoo has. I spent my nights there sleeping in a mud hut at the base of beautiful, green, tropical jungle mountains and during the day I surfed and photographed the perfect reef break at the mouth of the mountain pass.


What are three words that describe summer for you?
Relishing, relaxing and togetherness.

What is your favourite beach in Australia?
I don't even know the name of it. It was somewhere along The Great Ocean Road and it took an hour to scale down a small trail with surfboards to the shore, only to realise that the waves were too big to get out there. One friend and I sat on the sand for half an hour taking in the awe of our surroundings; a blue sky and lush green forest, with huge Antarctic swells rolling against brisk offshore winds, whipping plumes of salt mist high into the air. I'm going to try and find it again in around a month when I return for some much-needed relaxation and time with friends.


To see more of both Hayden and Leroy’s amazing surf photography, check out their Instagram pages here > @Haydenoneill & @LeroyBellet





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