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Mounting your Action Cam

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Mounting your Action Cam

So you’ve got the camera, now you want to get out there and surf and capture it all in glorious colour to edit into your own Slateresque mini movie. But what is the best way to mount it? There are four basic options, the nose mount, the hand held, the head mount and the behind mount, known as the third person view. Choosing the right one for the conditions is important, it can make the difference between killer footage or total rubbish.
Also ask yourself why you’re filming, if you want to shoot to help you improve, then always go nose looking back at you, gives you a great idea of how you’re surfing. If you want to make a little movie, just for fun or more, then mix these angles up.
With all these angles spray is always going to be an issue, unless you’re in the tropics and there is barely a drop of water out of place. So be aware of dragging hands and knees in the wave face especially and always make sure that lens is clear of droplets whenever you can.

The Nose Angle

The nose mount is pretty much where it all started. Using the stick on disc and attachment, or if you’re really serious getting a fin mount installed, it’s the standard starting point for any POV film maker. It’s pretty easy to use, the attachment is solid and reliable and it’s easy to switch on and off. Pointing back towards you it is very versatile, if you’re in waves that are not barreling then it’s the angle you want (hand held is the other good option for non barreling waves), especially if you want to check out your technique.
gopro surfboard mount a
In barreling waves it’s cool also, but always remember like in photos, this angle always make barrels look a little smaller than they are so not always great for bragging rights! It’s also especially good for backhand barrels, as handheld is very very difficult. This long clip of Hugues Oyarzabal has some crazy angles including sick nose cam. It’s worth a look as he covers almost every camera mount position, but especially the nose mount, and combining with other angles gives you an idea of the shot you will get:

The head mount

This is the easiest way to shoot POV out of barrel shots, you can either get a strap attachment or wear a helmet. It gives you and the viewer that proper POV look, it’s as close to what you can see as possible. It works best for barrels, but being a true POV perspective, it really gives any friends who don’t surf a good idea of whats going on. These two clips are both filmed from head mounts, Micah Lester getting slotted up in Scotland using a head strap (check out the shots from the session as well).

The second is Joss Ash, also using a head mount. You can see with moves, it’s not so good, the reason being that the head moves a lot so it struggles to give a consistent angle. Bare this in mind when using the head cam.
One other thing which is critical when using the head mount is figuring out the right angle to shoot at, it will be different forehand and backhand, so get that sorted so you’re not shooting the sky! There are three ways of attaching it to your melon – The strap, the helmet mount and there are grips to hold them in your teeth, maybe more of a pro option that last one though.

The final tip is to make sure you are turning the record on, if it’s mounted, chances are you won’t be able to see lights so get tuned into the beeps.

The Hand Held

This is without a doubt the best way to shoot, as it gives you pretty much every angle in one versatile mount. Trouble is it is the trickiest to master. You’ll need a handgrip, start with a short one and move up to a pole when you feel a little more confident. Make sure you have a little leash so you don’t lose it in a wipeout although most grips are bright and have bouncy in them as well so they do float.
The first tricky bit is mastering the paddle in. There are three ways of doing it. Have the grip and camera tucked in your wetsuit and pull it out as you take off, hold the camera in the palm of your hand and paddle normally or hold it in your teeth as you paddle. Out of those three the last option is by far the best, then as you get to your feet take it from your mouth. You then have a totally versatile angle. You can use it for shooting turns and airs, hold it behind you in the barrel, along side you the lot. It is the sickest way to film, but will take a lot of getting used to. To start with try it on long waves, then as you get better and better, you can use it on shorter and more punchy waves.

Here’s three pretty epic hand held clips

Mikala Jones here gives a master class in all angles, including switching hands, he has the advantage of Indo perfection but you can see how versatile the hand held can be, there are some head angle shots in there as well.

Ian Battrick here shows off how sick airs and turns can look using a hand held angle, this is hard to do but gives an amazing POV (the barrels are head cam) bare in mind that having a camera in your hand does affect the way you surf, so it can act as a hinderance.
Finally Lakey Peterson jamming some sick turns.

You can see the versatility and variety of angles you can achieve from this, and although it takes a little time to master it is worth it.

The specialist behind the surfer mounts

You’re entering serious money with these, they are generally shoulder mounts, waist mounts or back of the board mounts. They give mental impossible to achieve perspectives but come at a price.
Check this clip to of Alan Stokes and what is a Third Person Angle – It’s kind of cool and if you’re really serious about getting sick angles then it’s worth the investment.

This GoPro ad of Anthony Walsh though shows off the possibilities even better and is nuts , bare in mind though the cost and hassle and make sure you’re actually getting the waves worthy of these mounts.

If you want to find out more check out – if you want to make a great clip, and are in really hollow waves, then these mounts are a lot of fun, and until someone learns how to fly a drone in the barrel give the craziest angles.
So there is a basic guide to mounting your action cam. Basically all angles serve a purpose, the board mount is the best place to start, then a head mount for barrels and then when you’re really confident go for the hand held as it is so versatile.

Hans van Mourik

Co-founder SurfaWhile, ♥️ tech, travel, sports & outdoors.

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