While not the most dangerous waves Ryan has photographed (that honor goes to Teahupo’o), the waters off of Moorea, the tiny, heart-shaped island just off the coast of Tahiti, provide some of the most beautiful he’s ever seen.
Located about 11 miles west of Tahiti, Moorea can be reached by small plane or ferry from the mainland. One of the 114 islands that make up French Polynesia, Moorea features diverse coral reefs, perfect for swimming and snorkeling, alongside unspoiled rain forest for hiking and biking. Moorea is also a very popular honeymoon destination. Over-the-water bungalows were invented in French Polynesia, with Moorea home to one of the first resorts opened.
Ryan spends much of his time in Moorea underwater, photographing and documenting the protected coral reefs in the area. “The ocean is my favorite teacher. It forces you to live in the present moment. In those moments the only thing that matters is the wave crashing in front of you and how are you going to react to it. One breath at a time. One wave at a time. Sometimes it is relaxation. Sometimes it is chaos.”