No B.S. Review
A big focus for me this year is going to be highlighting and reviewing some new and existing surf-related products on the market. I am personally testing them and trying to give a truly unbiased, surfer’s perspective. For my first victim, the folks at Go Pro were kind enough to send us their new GoPro Surf Hero sports camera.
We’ve all fantasized about having our own cameraman to document our sessions and capture each ride on film. However, without sponsorship or the luxury of living in an area like the North Shore of Hawaii where photographers are always in the water and looking for subjects, the average surfer has historically been out S.O.L. That is, until now….
When the package from GoPro arrived I was surprised how small it was; I was expecting a larger unit, similar to their film version. The camera itself is incredibly compact, lightweight, and comes standard with a permanently ixed wide angle lens. It is housed in an easy- to-operate waterproof plexi-glass case, and offers a number of mounting options from a headband/helmet strap to the more popular, deck-mounted options.
The deck mounting options require you to put a fin plug on the deck of your board or to use an adhesive 3M pad and deck plate (included with kit). I was worried about losing the camera if the sticky pad came off but once it’s on there, it is really hard to get off and it also has a small leash. I used the sticky pad first, as this was my first test.
It just took a few minutes to figure out the controls, and with only a few buttons to push, not much can go wrong. The camera takes 5-megapixel images and offers many filming options from point and shoot to full video. One of the coolest features is the picture every 2 seconds option – great for sequence shots. It takes any size memory card and runs off of two AAA batteries; I added a 4MB card and lithium batteries and got over 850 individual images and videos with room to spare!
It has been rather flat here and unfortunately my test day only brought knee to waist-high sets. The water was 39 degrees and we just had a snow and ice storm roll through. All the worst test conditions, but I made the best of it and tried all of the filming options the camera has to offer.
The camera is plug-and-play and was recognized by the computer immediately. As soon as the first images started to download,my skepticism disappeared and my excitement began to grow. My crappy and cold session looked way better than I ever could have imagined. Both the video and still images were incredible and the fisheye lens makes the whole thing look pro. I’ll be mounting a fin plug on my deck for sure!
GoPro is selling the Surf Hero at a very competitive rate – just about $150 bucks. At this price, you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck. The camera offers more than enough horsepower to get you filming like Timmy Turner and Brain Connelly and seeing yourself in a barrel or doing a big cutback is worth the price of admission. Go get one today and start making your own movies!