The best windsurfers on the planet gathered on Maui, Hawaii for the 2015 Novenove Aloha Classic of the American Windsurfing Tour.
Windsurfing is an incredibly dynamic and difficult sport. Being that it takes place often in windy wavy conditions, it can be difficult to photograph. A couple of the toughest photographers go out in the water to search for different angles, navigating through waves and trusting the windsurfers not to land on their heads. I took to the skies with a quadrocopter drone. It is by far the most difficult thing to film aerials of, that I have encountered. With high winds and massive waves, the scene is constantly shifting and changing. The windsurfer changes speed, and I discovered while shooting, that the wave slows down when it hits the reef. You must avoid salt water ocean spray coming off the waves. Battery time is cut in half, down to 6 or 8 minutes while battling the wind. With each battery swap I had to clean salt water off the drone's camera. Sometimes the drone is not fast enough to keep up with the windsurfer, and so I would have to turn the drone, and tilt the camera to keep them in the shot. It was a balance. The closer I got to the windsurfer, the more chance I had of messing up the shot. I also almost had a near mid-air collision with Ricardo Campello's drone. The screws in my drone are rusted, but it's still holding up. As challenging is it was filming this, it was also the most exciting subject to film.
DJI Inspire 1
Phantom 3 (when the wind finally calmed)
Filmed and edited by Karim Iliya
Music: Walls by Postcards
Thanks to Andres Martinez for narrating anticipatory jumps during the final free sailing heat, and Erika Myszynski and Michael Restrepo for giving me editing feedback, and to all the windsurfers who did an incredible job and were stoked to have a drone buzzing around them while competing.