Summertime Paddling Video
Friday, 29 April 2011
Cape Town is one of the best surfski spots in the world. In summer the southeaster howls; in winter the northwesters storm - and we go downwind. Never too cold, never too hot, we paddle the year round.
I have two GoPro Hero HD cameras - and I often use one mounted on an old bicycle helmet; one mounted with a sucker pad on the foredeck, looking back at an angle to the paddler.
The cameras are quite complex to use: in cold water they have a tendency to fog up; water droplets leave salt residue on the lens. When they do work, they produce copious gigabytes of video files (8GB for a single camera for a single Millers Run!)
But they're great for making memories - and for sharing what it's like to paddle these beautiful craft.
My paddling buddy Dale Lippstreu and I built a camera mast in an effort to get a different perspective than the usual helmet-cam. The mast works brilliantly but makes the ski a little more twitchy - I've yet to take it on a really hectic run...
I'm a dope for downwind - the true natural habitat for surfskis. To me, flat water paddling is strictly for practising technique and a total waste of time otherwise!
I put together this collection of clips from paddles that we did this summer - it's been a superb time for downwind paddling, and the southeasters are still blowing, albeit out of season and with less strength.
And on the few occasions that we haven't had wind, we've been able to practise riding waves by chasing a big (88 tonne) tourist catamaran called Nauticat that operates out of Hout Bay. She travels at between 13.5 and 14kph and leaves a perfect set of wake waves behind her.
Anyway - here's the movie. Comments and suggestions are welcome!
The Camera Mast
The camera mast was built from an old windsurfer mast. We cut the top section to 800mm and then Dale created a base, moulded to the rear deck of my Fenn Mako Elite.
He also made a flat rectangular section of fibreglass to be cut into fillets to reinforce the attachment of mast to base.
The standard GoPro fitting was screwed to the original mast plug. It swivels, so that the camera can be set at an angle.
The mast excluding camera weighs in at about 800g.
Attaching the mast to the ski
We used self-adhesive velcro to attach the mast. The base of the mast is then taped to the deck.
One problem that we've yet to overcome is that of salt spray getting onto the lens. I wipe the helmet camera frequently to clear the build up of salt residue. The mast cam is out of reach.
The ski feels a little more skittish when the mast is installed...
Finally I'm not sure what might happen to the deck if I capsized at speed - and I'm worried it might cause damage... Still one of these days I'm going to risk it and try the mast cam in a big Millers Run! Anything for footage...
The mast is 800mm tall
We used a standard GoPro fitting screwed to the top of the mast
The base of the mast, moulded to the deck and attached with strips of velcro. In use, the base is taped down with duct tape.