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A surfer in Santa Cruz was running late for his competition so he was forced to improvise.

That improvisation came in the form of a jump off a cliff 30 feet high and into the Pacific Ocean.

"He timed it perfectly," photographer Allen Hughes told The Daily Mail.

The same could be said of Hughes, who captured the spectacular photo of this anonymous surfer in midair as a huge wave cascaded behind him.

Hughes was alert to the possibility that an intriguing scenario was unfolding at Lighthouse Point.

"Everyone else was watching the surfers out at sea, but then I noticed this guy running along Lighthouse Point," Hughes told the Mail. "I watched for quite a while and before each heat the surfers would climb down to the end of Lighthouse Point and make a smaller 10 foot jump.

"I noticed this guy run down to the end, he was late for his heat."

That was Hughes' cue to lock in on him.

"I could tell he was anxious so I focused my camera on him and before anyone knew it, he ran and jumped off the cliff," Hughes said. "He timed it perfectly and landed just behind the white water and paddled out. I never did find out who he was. The cliff itself must be 30 foot high and the waves were maybe higher."

Although we can all marvel at the artistic quality of Hughes' shot, it ought not to be overlooked that the surfer got away with a rash decision. Not to be a ghoulish buzzkill here, but the outcome could've been far less favorable.

Hopefully this was crazy enough to dissuade any copycats jumpers, and perhaps it can be a lesson to all surfers: Pay attention to the time.

For those hardcore photography buffs that might be curious about the gear, according to Metro, Hughes, 65, captured the moment with a Nikon D300S.

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