Wednesday, July 14, 2010

60 - Day 5: To GoPro or not to GoPro? (++ Slalom 101 Update)

Ever since I first saw images from a GoPro camera a few years ago I have wanted one but I could never quite bring myself to part with the cash and I wasn’t too impressed with some of the first videos I saw out there. More recently the HD version was released and this has made a big impact so luckily to my complete surprise Liz bought me one for my birthday and had sent it directly to Hawaii, so I finally picked it up this week. So I have decided to GoPro but the question today is “Should we all GoPro?” Hopefully by sharing my experiences you will be able to make up your own decision (for those of you wondering I have no connection to the GoPro company so this is impartial – well at least until they give me some money!).

I can’t say much about setup yet but chatted to GP about how he set things up so started there. I got the SURF HERO HD which comes with a sticky mount for your surfboard but also a neat FCS adaptor so you can add a FCS plug to the deck and easily install the camera when required, when I am next mixing up resin (sure that it will not be too long!) I will add this to one of my surfboards (probably the 8’0”). Yesterday I picked up the bike seat post mount which works really well on the boom and I think with a little adjustment and some longer bolts could work as a mast mount. I saw a guy at Ho’okipa a couple of days with a mast mount but didn’t quite see how it was done hopefully I can check it out. The issue with mast mounts is that you have to cut the luff sleeve and given the increase in the number of people wanting to use mounts I wonder if there is a neat way that this can be built into the sleeve during design – something for Tom to work on in the loft!

I have fitted my camera with a 4GB SDHC ($30) card but I am concerned that it will not be big enough but I didn’t want to drop $120 for the biggest 32GB one but I recon that it could be a good investment in the long run.

So today I have tried a boom mount on my wave gear and immediately learned a few lessons, firstly make sure that you know which setting you need. I thought that I had set up for stills every 2 seconds unfortunately I had it on the multiple shot mode which takes a few shots one after the other then stops. So I thought that I had captured a few good waves that I got (yes I know that it is summer but we seem to be getting some better than normal swell) but I didn’t. I went back to the beach and worked it out but both the wind and waves dropped somewhat and then the camera fogged up. While it wasn’t the most successful first run out I did learn a lot so that is good.

This was my favourite shot that I took today, many of them were ruined by the fogging of the lens, I will get some goggle anti-fog and see if that works, I also need to do something to reduce the water droplets.

My second session of the day was at Sprecks with the 8.0m GPS and I decided to try the head mount shooting video. Looks like we may get some decent waves later in the week and into the weekend, the wind should be building again by then so I keen to get it attached to my wave gear and into some surf.

Ok this is a rather boring video and the quality is not great because I am working on a slow connection but I do like the head cam video footage. Watching the video I look rather more comfortable than I really am.

So that’s my first effort (well actually not, I did borrow one last summer when we had a few waves) over the coming weeks I will try out different options and will post my experiences and you can make your own mind whether to GoPro.

Slalom 101 Update: After my wave session the wind was getting light so I decided that it would be the perfect time to get on the 8.0m. I am finding it a little tough on my arms due in part to the very long lines on the boom that I borrowed, I should try some shorter lines and/or a seat harness and see how that goes. While I found the session hard the good news is that I didn’t fall off any jibes!

I am planning to team up with my old friend Matt Wicks (who is also doing the Maui Race Series) over the next few days to see if a bit of training together will help. I also want to get out the GPS and see if that feeds back any good info. I am starting to think that this weekend may be a little soon and I may have to wait a further two weeks for the State Championships to make my debut/comeback.

Wider Water Community: Congrats must go to 15 year old Connor Baxter who won the Maui-Molokai SUP race a couple of days back. I interviewed him few years back for and it is great to see his waterman career develop. Nice one! There are lots of pictures on Jimmy Hepps’ FB page so check them out.

Spread the Word: You have obviously read this far, you may have enjoyed what I have had to say, you may not, but do me a favour and pass on to your windsurfing and other interested buddies.

Up Next: Our friends from Bahrain just arrived today so think that I will take them on a hike or something in the morning so that is likely to feature heavily tomorrow and there are plans to watch the sunset from 10,000 ft +. I will also try to get out for some more slalom action and take some more GoPro shots/video with some different settings.

More to follow...

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