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Red Bull Illume Contest Winners Announced Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

22 November 2019

Winners of the Red Bull Illume competition were announced earlier this week at the Lumen Museum of Mountain Photography in South Tyrol, Italy. After receiving 59,551 images in 2019, a panel of 50 photo editors and digital experts revealed the top 60 finalists in 11 categories, illuminating the images on 6x6-foot light boxes in the snow following the ceremony.

French photographer Ben Thouard took home top honors of the night becoming the Red Bull Illume Overall Winner for his breathtaking underwater surfing shot taken in Teahupo'o, Tahiti, and American Noah Wetzel won the Raw category for his image a mountain biker riding under the total solar eclipse in Teton Valley, Wyoming. The 11 category winners and Overall Winner took home more than $100,000 in equipment and prizes.

Founded in 2006 and now in its fifth edition, Red Bull Illume is the premier photo competition in action and adventure sports. The event gives wings to photographers by providing a creative platform for both emerging and established artists.

For more information see the news release below.

Underwater Surfing Photo Wins at Red Bull Illume Image Quest

Thouard takes overall crown at stunning LUMEN Museum 2,275m high in Italy.

Ben Thouard's mind-bending underwater image of athlete Ace Buchan surfing in Teahupo'o, Tahiti was chosen as the Red Bull Illume Image Quest overall winner at the stunning LUMEN Museum atop Plan de Corones in Italy. Here is all you need to know:

  • The world's greatest action and adventure sports imagery contest saw the top 60 finalist images from the record-breaking 59,551 images submitted unveiled by host Zoran Filicic at the breathtaking LUMEN Museum perched 2,275m (7.464 feet) high up in the South Tyrol.
  • Thouard's incredible image received an outstanding number of votes by the judges at the fifth edition, which consisted of 50 photo editors and digital experts.
  • Frenchman Thouard revealed: "I've dedicated the last few years to shooting underwater, looking for new angles and a new way to shoot surfing and waves. Tahiti has some of the clearest water in the world. This photo was shot during a freesurf session right before the WCT event in Teahupo'o. This is Ace Buchan kicking out from the barrel through the wave, a technique to escape a close-out wave. Luckily I was right below, breathless with my waterhousing waiting for this moment."
  • The first recipient of the SankDisk Extreme trophy was Austrian Philip Platzer with Salewa's Best Mountain Sports Image trophy won by Australian Kamil Sustiak.
  • The winning photographers had the opportunity to see their images illuminated on 2mx2m lightboxes at the opening of the Red Bull Illume Exhibit Tour.
  • The collectible hardcover Limited Edition Red Bull Illume Photobook also features 260 of the best action and adventure sports image submitted in 2019.


  • Best of Instagram by SanDisk: Baptiste Fauchille, France, with a shot from a buddies trip with a business goal showing Alex Bibollet's shadow in the bowl of Fillinges, France.
  • Creative by Skylum: Denis Klero, Russia, for his visually striking image of Paul Alekhin to celebrate the change of season in Streetfire Club, Moscow, Russia.
  • Emerging by Red Bull Photography: Jean-Baptiste Liautard, France, joins the big leagues with this mirrored shot of Jeremy Berthier at his trail in Bourgoin-Jallieu, France.
  • Energy & Overall Winner: Ben Thouard, France, shows the power of surfing with this underwater shot of Ace Buchan kicking out from the barrel through the wave in Teahupo'o, Tahiti, French Polynesia.
  • Innovation by Sony: Laurence Crossman-Emms, United Kingdom, takes the imagination by storm with this image of Katy Winton BMXing through a puddle at Blaenau Ffestiniog, North Wales, United Kingdom.
  • Lifestyle: Alexander Wick, Germany, for his tribute shot of Philipp Bankosegger, Chris Rudolph and Luke Lalor taking a nap by Salathé Wall, El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, USA.
  • Mastepiece by EyeEm: Lorenz Holder, Germany, for his shot of Senad Grosic flying in the magical Game of Thrones location, The Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland.
  • Moving Image: Rupert Walker, Canada, for his precise shot featuring Brandon Semenuk and Ryan Howard riding down a custom built slalom line in Paso Robles.
  • Playground: Lorenz Holder, Germany, with a shot of Vladic Scholz in the surreal Ouse Valley Viaduct, South England.
  • Raw: Noah Wetzel, USA, for his shot of Chris Bule riding under the Total Solar Eclipse in Teton Valley, Wyoming, USA.
  • Wings: Philip Platzer, Austria, captures athlete Marco Fürst flying on an unthinkable hot air balloon swing in Fromberg, Austria.

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