Photog and Kayakers Risk Life, Limb and 3rd Degree Burns on an Active Volcano


Action sports photographer Alexandre Socci along with kayakers Pedro Oliva, Ben Stookesberry and Chris Korbulic recently took a trip to Hawaii. But where most of us would spend our time on the beach or in a national park, they decided to brave the waters surrounding Kilauea, an active volcano on the southeast slope of Mauna Loa.

Socci and the kayakers paddled around and walked over molten lava flows as the surf instantly turned the background into clouds of water vapor. It wasn’t the safest endeavor, but it certainly made for a series of extreme kayaking photos the likes of which we’ve never seen before.

Here are a few of the photos from that expedition:








Keep in mind, the lava you see pouring into the water wasn’t the only hazard. Bits of it were floating everywhere and even Socci, who is used to photographing from the water, had to stay in his kayak lest he get burned by the ocean water. Socci described the experience in a conversation with My Modern Met:

As a water photographer myself I was trying to get into the water but it was impossible, the water was about 90 degrees Celsius and there were lots of lava particles floating that could burn anything in seconds… even the kayaks came out of the water with some ‘scars’ from the floating lava!

To see more of Socci’s photography, head over to his website by clicking here.

Image credits: Photography by AleSocci/GreenPixel and used with permission.

  • Vlad Dusil

    Don’t try this at home, kids!

  • spanktacular

    to all of you with a live volcano and some rapids in your backyard :L

  • kb

    fantastic location, but why do men continue to wear WHITE FRAMED sunglasses….GAWD it looks stupid….

  • Richard Ford

    I was going to. But my volcano is not working at the moment.

  • Duke Shin

    He’s kayaking down a volcano. He could wear a clown suit with a crown of dildos and a pineapple hat if he felt like it.

  • Duke Shin

    Forgot to pay the magma bill this month?

  • Jay

    He doesnt have money to buy zoom lens?

  • MarvinB7

    Ah, modern fashion statements…

  • kirsty

    Couldn’t agree more !!

  • kirsty

    Seriously … you look at these photos, and the best thing you have to say is a comment is about their sunglasses??? !!!

  • Richard Ford

    Nah – I just clogged it up with virgin sacrifices. It needs a label like on a shredder stating that no more than 5 at a time can be thrown in.

  • madmax

    They are getting very close to lava and it is very dangerous, but that´s is all. I am speaking as a kayakist: No special skills needed here.

  • Hugo Cuellar Rodriguez

    Lol have you tried going through lava, ash n steam with your eyes exposed?
    Don’t just sit behind the computer talking smack, go try such thing buddy.

  • Duke Shin


  • Alex Christianson

    That is by far the best reply comment I have ever read, anywhere. I salute you.

  • Mary Bowman-Dement

    glad our Fire and Resue crews did not have to respond to the “adventure”….our beautiful Big Island attracts all sorts of visitors who create thrills for themselves.

  • Christian DeBaun

    I hope they all have a “Y” marked next to “Organ Donor” on their driver’s licenses…

  • Jake

    Right, because that lava-broiled liver is gonna be a cinch to recover. :P

  • Samantha Patterson

    What should he say, “Oh wow. A bunch of yuppies can go to Hawaii and take photos. Woooow.” … I mean really, how is this impressive? Your whole body senses heat so you can tell if you’re getting too close to something hot. Presumably they were poking the ground and not walking on crusts that were too thin or perhaps they just got lucky, and they took some photos while they were there. Later perhaps they went and played golf in a lightning storm.

    Artistically speaking, the photos aren’t very interesting and probably would have been more compelling without the people in them. Subjects are mostly centered. The person doing the photograph apparently doesn’t know how to burn and dodge a photo or didn’t know how to adjust the camera such that his subjects are clear and in contrast to the background. The red of the guy’s outfit clashes with the lava. And now we’re back to fashion.

    So what’s you’re complaint? That he wasn’t impressed by their behavior or their privilege or their artistic integrity? I mean there’s no real story here. They weren’t doing science and as daredevil stunts go, it’s not that far off the guys who get drunk and jump over a bonfire. Artistic critique is perfectly valid.

  • madmax

    This is any difficult, Hugo. Just acting the goat. I have been paddling for over twenty years now and for sure this is plain stupid.

  • Hugo Cuellar Rodriguez

    Plain stupid?
    The sun glasses, playin’ around with lava, both?

  • madmax

    I don´t mind the sun glasses. Plain stupid is playing around with lava and to publish the pictures expecting a lot of praise. The true is millions of kayakists worldwide could do this because it is Class 1 difficulty in a scale of 6 levels. Also, pictures are nothing to be proud of.

  • Xenobion

    Fashion police. We have a five alarm fire!