Pinpoint Palikir Pass

by on Friday 8th May, 2009   89712 Views

Caught in the moment ... Palikir Pass © 2014 BBC 2/South Pacific

NOT a new Taylor Steele movie nor Jamie O’Brien and his Red project - it’s Bali Strictland and the BBC who have pushed underwater videography to a whole new level. The venue: Palikir Pass - only recently exposed to the surfing media - on the South Pacific island of Pohnpei. Using a $100,000 high speed camera operating in super high definition slow motion at 20 times the speed of a normal HD camera. XXL 2005 Monster Barrel winner and all-round charger, Dylan Longbottom, was captured in ground-breaking detail threading his way through 12ft South Pacific perfection.

Picture perfect

Vortex ... Palikar Pass © 2014 BBC 2/South Pacific

The camera is a TyphoonHD4 which has been specially modified by the BBC Natural History Unit in Bristol, UK, and is similar the the one used on previous BBC landmark series such as Blue Planet and Planet Earth. It required a special housing unit designed and built by German specialist high speed cameraman/technician Rudi Diesel. Until this film no one had ever tried using this type of camera underwater before - judge the results for yourself.

From the inside

Rolling over Pohnpei's famous reef passes ... Dylan Longbottom © 2014 BBC 2/South Pacific

You will have seen many shots from this perspective before, just not in this detail. It will be a while before we see images like this on your average surf movie. However it will happen and in all likelihood sooner than we currently believe. This now well-known break has been featured in many mags down the years (From Surfer to Surfer’s Path) without its location being revealed. Quite often the angles were reversed, making this right appear to be a left.

From the outside

Could this perspective ever look tired? ... Dylan Longbottom © 2014 Randy Moullet

Palikir had remained a secret for many years. We have been living and surfing here since June 1998 and had it mostly to ourselves. We asked for and received pledges from visitors and surf media folks alike to preserve the sanctity of the place by keeping its secret. Now the secret is out, Palikir Marine Adventures, has come into being, run by the locals, for the community. Palikir Marine Adventures


Deep, deep, deep ... Dylan Longbottom © 2014 BBC 2/South Pacific

Shot by 27-year-old Australian cameraman Bali Strickland of Framelines/The Free Way fame. The clip is an extract from a six-part series called South Pacific, being broadcast on BBC2 from Sunday May 10th 2009 at 20.30 in the UK. Most of you not in the UK will have to make do with the HD version coming up.

Palikir Pass or P-Pass

Palikir Pass cover-up continues ... Dylan Longbottom © 2014 Randy Moullet

As with all natural phenomenon the benefit here should pass to the locals. Calling Palikir Pass ‘P-Pass’ was something we started to keep it secret since photos with e-mails sent to friends might have been forwarded. Had we called it ‘Palikir’ someone Googling that word it would have revealed the location. Unfortunately the moniker was later used for exploitation by others trying to cash in and monopolize access to the exclusion of local interests. Think Teahupoo, not “End of the Road” and Peahi, not “Jaws”. Palikir Marine Adventures

End of the line

Could it get any more textured? ... TyphoonHD4 magic © 2014 BBC 2/South Pacific

Home to over a quarter of the world’s water and approximately 20,000 islands the South Pacific hides many more gems like this. These isolated islands exist in some of the most pristine waters found anywhere in the world, harbouring life that is rarely seen over flawless reef.

Judge for yourself


Tech facts

You can't buy this ... TyphoonHD4 © 2014 BBC 2/South Pacific

German camera/technician specialist Rudi Diesel is responsible for making all this happen and here’s the specs:

TyphoonHD4 & UwaVis ?Using an advanced CMOS sensor with ultra high light sensitivity of 1000 ASA - colour ?Resolution 1280 X 1024 pixels ?HD res. 720p up to 1000 fps. ? Max frame rates up to 200,000 fps

4 GB internal memory, storage 3500 frames (recording time e.g. 3.5sec at 1000 fps or 7 sec at 500fps / at 720p). Internal memory can be partitioned into 2, 4 or 8 partitions.

W-housing: ?A live image is displayed on a LCD viewfinder. All camera functions can be operated while diving. The recorded shot can be viewed immediately. Lens control via servo motors (iris, focus, zoom)?Lenses used: (F-mount) Nikon prime lenses 14mm and 17-35mm.

Brought to you by:


Average rating of 3.5683 from 0 votes

89712 Visits -

Video Kepa Acero Fights for Freedom in Indonesia

Kepa Acero Fights for Freedom in Indonesia

'Freedom fighter finds liberty in epic Indonesian surf session' says the man himself, Charlie Chaplin.

News Local Knowledge Prevails at Cape Fear

Local Knowledge Prevails at Cape Fear

An Australian clean-sweep in the RedBull Cape fear Challenge

Video Satisfaction in the Mentawai

Satisfaction in the Mentawai

Francisco Alves finds more than his fair share of waves in the Mentawai islands.

Video Kolohe Andino and Carissa Moore in 21 Days

Kolohe Andino and Carissa Moore in 21 Days

How do Kolohe Andino and Carissa Moore prepare for the highest-performance in surfing?

Feature The Cape Fear Countdown

The Cape Fear Countdown

Red Bull Cape Fear Challenge will run on Sunday 31 August