Sneaker Wave hits during beach fashion photoshoot

Fashion Photographer

The “hero” shot seconds before the model gets hit by a sneaker wave. Copyright Mark Stout

This photo has been seen by a LOT of people.  Not surprisingly it has been flying all over the web and everyone I run into is asking me to see the rest of the sequence.  So here it is.  Oh, I have since learned what we got hit by here is called a “sneaker wave” and they can be quite deadly… but model, photographer, and… barely… the camera all survived.  (the camera did have to go in for repairs right after this).

This started as a lifestyle fashion photoshoot on the beach, so I will post a few of those shots first:

Fashion photographer

Top model Cross Johnson modeling for a lifestyle fashion shoot near Malibu

fashion photoshoot

Fashion photoshoot in SoCal

male model photographer

Top male model Cross Johnson, copyright Mark Stout

Once we completed that segment, we moved farther north to a rocky section of beach for the remaining looks.  In the next few photos, we see the model, Cross Johnson with the Baldwin Agency eyeing the rock he was about to pose on.  And then some shots of him looking over his shoulder at the big one coming in. The top of the rock is a good 15 feet above the waterline and the waves were staying well below it’s crest.

lifestyle photographer

Cross Johnson making his way out to the rocks he is about to pose on. Copyright Mark Stout


Model photographer

Looking behind him at the wave about to come in. Copyright Mark Stout

Now we have our “action” shot, seconds before the sneaker wave engulfs him.  Many people actually don’t realize… or don’t believe that is a real wave that is forming the background but the rest of the series makes that completely clear.  You can barely see Cross behind the wave (and in one shot you can’t see him at all) as it finishes its course.  The last shot is a wider angle and you see how high the main rock is above sea level as the water continues to wash off the rock formation.


Fashion photographer

Sneaker wave overcomes male fashion model on photoshoot, copyright Mark Stout

fashion photoshoot

Fashion model is completely engulfed in a sneaker wave

Fashion model

Cross Johnson, soaked and happy as the sneaker wave washes away. Copyright Mark Stout

fashion photographer

The last of the sneaker wave washes away from the rock formation. Copyright Mark Stout

I posted this so I can show it to all of those who have been asking to see the series… and for the benefit of those who have insisted that it was not a “real wave.”  I should also give kudos to the camera manufacturer.  Without the incredible dynamic range and speed of the camera these shots would not have turned out.

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