An Insane Non-Manipulated Photograph of a Keel Walk Stunt

This amazing photograph of sailor Alex Thomson walking on the keel of an 8-ton yacht was created with courage rather than Photoshop. It was an ad for fashion house HUGO BOSS, which has sponsored Alex Thomson Racing since 2003. The conditions for the shot had to be just right, and the skipper had to carefully keep the yacht at a 45-degree angle for up to a minute to avoid crushing Thomson and the jet ski driver.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes glimpse at how the image was made:

(via My Modern Met)

  • Timothy

    What a huge waste of money….and for what, a mediocre image?

  • Robert Buckingham

     bit of fun and will look great. glad no CG/PS involved. well done

  • Zak Henry

    It would not have cost much. They are clearly a major sponsor, so wouldn’t have to pay for the crew’s time, and other than a jetski and photographer it’s hardly breaking the bank.

  • Timothy

    Yes, you can give them that….but still it’s really just a great stunt and a so so image.

  • Mantis

    The Hugo Boss name gets viewed all over the interwebs.  That’s what really matters.

  • Gobbler

    After watching the video…HOLY SHIT…that looks insanely dangerous!

  • Robbie McCarthy

    I’m not aware of what HB makes, but whatever it is I’m buying 12 of them.

  • Brandon

    looks pretty cool to me.  I believe they make mens suits. That blacked out sailboat also looks pretty cool.

  • Anonymous

    The angle of heel had to be more like 70 degrees, an unnatural angle for the boat, which is designed to sail as flat as possible.

  • Ajmauro19

    I’m impressed by the effort, but after watching the video, I would think they must have a better shot. The man doesn’t stand out, just blends into the boat.

  • Timothy

    Yes it would cost lots…I have produced major photo shoots for international clients and you would be surprised how fast the money flies….we did a two day shoot, four ads for Bacardi, one year worldwide buyout…the photographer’s fees alone were $90,000.00….the models were paid $15,000 per, and two of them got double because they were in two ads….big big money spent on stuff like this.

  • Claudiu Luchian

    No Ps involve, for real they do water repelling suits and dry hair stile after that shit U can se his shadow on the boat soaked wet and in the video there is no curly boyfriend watching him from the back lifted side of the iacht.

  • Anonymous

    Urgh so many negatives for something I know I’ve never seen before.   I doubt this stunt cost much to do, but given the amount of publicity it’s getting Hugo Boss….   Priceless!

  • 9inchnail

    Blatant disregard for safety and human life. Nice. Even the Chinese could learn from this. 

  • iphone vpn service

    awesome !!!!

  • Rebecca Hitchcock

    Well as it is Alex Thompson’s boat, paid for entirely by Hugo Boss, I think it is an excellent way to capitalise on their investment. 

    And Alex is a brilliant yachtsman, so he’s worth it.

  • Flgraphics

    cool stunt.. not that impressive a photo really though for all the effort and risk of human life!

  • Luke

    i know the gut who shot this, trust me, it cost nothing.

  • Tom Clancy

    I think you’re mistaking the angle of the keel for the angle of the boat. And I’m not sure about your thoughts on boat design either.

  • Anonymous

    I’m betting that I’ve spent a lot more time on high-performance sailboats than have you.

  • Manos

    Upwind the boat is designed to heel (for minimum water resistance).

  • Guest

    Are you serious? This is only slightly more dangerous than the recreational activities that half the world engages in every weekend. Back away from your computer and do something physical for a change.

  • Anonymous

    you’d be amazed at how much “waste of money” is put into advertising by big companies each year…

  • Lee
  • Lee

     I *hope* you have a high enough credit limit

  • Slapfreak2k6

    Love how he takes the time to fix his suit before he jumps.

  • Anonymous

    The author may be stretching things a bit to say that they had to skillfully “avoid crushing Thomson and the jet ski driver”.  Holding an angle of heel in a steady wind is not an impossible feat, and the team would not have chosen a gusty day for this shoot.

    Also, if the boat came down while Thomson was “wing walking” there would be time to jump clear, and the ocean is “soft” from that height.  The one moment of real danger was the transfer from the jetski to the keel, which was artfully handled.

  • JJ

    To paraphrase an old advertising “saying” by a client:  I know 50% of my advertising is wasted.  I just don’t know which 50%.  Today the field is getting narrower due to technology!

  • Vyacheslav Slutu

    Image is rubbish, video is stunning!

  • John Milleker

    Black suit on a black boat? Who in the heck decided that?

    A white, sequined Elvis jumpsuit would have been much more awesome.

  • Richie

    Who give a sh!t, I bet they had a BLAST filming it :D

  • Nils

    HB makes everything in men’s wear, suits, jeans, leather jakets, shoes and so on.

  • Steve B

    So other than a Black Suit and black hull, the potential expense, the adjustable angle keel looking odd, the risk to the guy everyone liked it then??  What a bunch of negatives (pun intended)
    HB is well known for it’s black, they sponsor a boat which has too cost a lot more than a photographer, jet ski n stunt man and a day out, and advanded racing boats have clever stuff on them.
    I thought it had creativity, was original idea and tho the shot is not great it certainly makes you look and maybe go WTF!

  • Bulk001

    Okay Tim we get. You think it was a waste of money and an average shot. Others disagree with you.

  • Kojoman68

     Hmmm! I am thinking they write it off their income tax??

  • Rodrigo Halushuk Loureiro

    agreed w Steve B. I can see by your comments most of you guys don’t know a thing about photo, publicity or sailing…. A lot of money for this shot? cmon you serious??….. that bulb, made of uranium is worth thousands dollars, I could say millions (only gold could be more expensive/heavy). dangerous?? another joke? I could do this, go sail to know how it works…. Black or white suit a photo like this was never made before and THAT’s another thing that is really rare and expensive: ORIGINAL advertisement.

  • Zak Henry

    The canting keel is about 20° off the centerline (in the wrong direction), and it looks roughly parallel to the horizon. That puts the mast at about 70° from vertical, Dave is correct. And yes that is an odd angle, it would be spilling air like crazy

  • James Crockford

    What a great shoot.  Great publicity for Hugo Boss.  Shame that so many people can’t just enjoy it for what it is – good PR and a shoot with creativity and not an insignificant amount of courage.

  • missashleypants

    Agreed! I would have liked to see a shot of that bit where he’s adjusting his tie – as if he were heading off to a meeting, versus imminently diving off the boat.

  • paulrevere01

    absolutely…the two biggest and foggiest business write-offs are ‘Advertising and Promotion’ = 100% off the gross income.