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By Ryan Roberts/www.kitehero.com
In the past, it was rare to see POV kiteboarding photos or video because very few people owned waterproof cameras they could take out on the water. Mounting a video camera on a kiteboarder used to be a complicated process that involved custom-made equipment and a lot of trial and error. Today, it seems like almost every kiteboarder out there owns a GoPro camera and an assortment of mounts, which has made it possible for anyone to capture interesting photos and video while they ride. However, the number of different mounting options and camera settings can be a little overwhelming. Additionally, there is a new line of cameras from Contour that are also suitable to use for kiteboarding, so it can be a bit of a challenge to figure out exactly what you need to capture your kiteboarding experiences.
Both the GoPro and Contour cameras produce a killer point of view and each one has a handful of different mounting options. GoPro uses a quick release system and Contour uses what they call a T-Rail. Both systems offer waterproof housings. Currently, Contour only makes a case for the Contour HD Video Camera, but one for the Contour GPS is rumored to be coming soon. Both cameras are really simple to use and include a wide range of photo and video settings to choose from. For shooting photos or video we suggest using a large memory card (at least 8GB) and make sure you pick one with a high write speed (Class 6 or higher). Skimping out on a less expensive card will cause the videos to end up really choppy after being recorded because the memory card can’t keep up with the camera.
For clarity while riding, putting RainX on your housing helps keep water off or you can use the same method surf photographers use: Spit on it. As weird as it sounds, spitting on and licking the port on the housing works really well for keeping drops from forming on the lens. For close up action, the 1280×960 resolution is usually best. If hard drive space is not an issue, set it to 1920×1080 to capture the true HD experience. If you think you will want to show some of your video in slow motion, 1280×720 at 60 frames per second will allow you to do that without sacrificing quality. The viewing angle on Contour cameras is 135° and GoPro has a 170° ultra wide angle in WVGA, 720, or 960 modes, and a 127° wide angle in 1080 mode. A big advantage of the Contour HD is that the lens can be rotated to any angle, while the GoPro has a fixed lens.
For mounting a GoPro to your twin tip, the all new Kitehero Fin Mount is a much safer and more secure alternative solution to GoPro’s adhesive disk mount. Utilizing the standard fin holes on virtually any kiteboard or wakeboard, the durable low profile plastic base gives riders an unobtrusive way to mount a camera to their deck. When mounting the GoPro to their board, one of the biggest problems users were experiencing was housing failures. Riders were either breaking latches, housings, mounts, or just simply losing their camera completely. After months of development on a new mount solution, we came up with a unique way to encapsulate the GoPro housing in a durable shell that secures the camera by nesting the housing and holding it by the body of the housing rather than putting stress on the two mounting ears. Kiteboarding is an extreme sport and water impacts can put excessive forces on your boards. This mount holds the camera sideways, which allows the user to position it close to the rider while giving the ability to get the complete wide angle view all the way up to the kite. The new fin mount utilizes the fin hole screws, which is a standard within the kiteboarding and wakeboarding industries. When using this new mount, you should get new screws that are approximately ¼” longer to accommodate for the new thickness of the mounting system.
As far as surfboard mounts go, both GoPro and Contour have a sticky disk system which allows you to mount your camera system to just about any decently flat surface. Mounting the disk far enough away from the rider on the nose of the board will give you a full view. On shorter twin-tip kiteboards we have found it a little bit harder to capture everything at once. The only disadvantage to this setup is that the sticky disk can possibly ruin a surfboard if you try to remove it.
Record What You See
Helmet mounts have also been really popular with riders. GoPro offers two types of helmet mounts: A vented helmet strap and slightly curved sticky helmet mounts. Contour and GoPro both offer helmet camera systems. GoPro has a $299.00 retail price point on their HD Helmet Hero package and Contour offers a vented helmet strap and sticky low profile mounts for either the left or right side of a helmet. The Contour GPS is $349.99 and the standard HD camera is $279.99, with no mounts included with either camera. However, the offset in retail price for Contour HD systems gives riders the ability to purchase the individual mounts they need.
The Kitehero Line Mount is designed to work with four or five line kites and can be set up in just a few minutes. Its lightweight design and positioning keeps your photos and video free from obstructions without interfering with your ride. New to our lineup is a line mount system for the Contour HD camera. Regardless of the camera, the point of view from the line mount is a unique way of capturing your experience with photos and videos. On some kites, the mounting point is just far enough up that it captures a full view of everything going on.
Wherever you choose to mount your GoPro or Contour camera, you can almost be guaranteed to get interesting photos or video that would have been almost impossible to do just a few years ago.
Don’t forget to send your best kiteboarding POV shots to email@example.com. You might just find yourself featured in the Local Homies section of this magazine.