The idea of creating an image where an athlete would tussle with some kind of water species was brewing in my head for quite a long time. 
Then it occurred to me. What if I was able to combine something abstract like a seamless paper with that idea? Let me introduce you to this special project: "Surfer vs Octopus". 

My major goal with this project was to create a photorealistic image. After countless hours of researching the octopi, it was clear that I had to create one myself.
With a couple of dozen reference images in my hand, I created this project from scratch. Modeling, sculpting, texturing, rigging, etc., and of course photography, 'the whole nine yards'. 

CGI: Alex Deych
Behind the scenes: