Whether it is an early morning cruise across a glassy lake or gliding through the perfect 8 foot barrel, prefect SUP moments deserve to be captured.
There are dozens of ways you can capture your paddle boarding experiences with your GoPro. This post will take you through some of the most effective methods that are commonly used to capture epic SUP action. Unlike surfing, paddle boarding is a bit more of a GoPro friendly activity as you can attach your camera to your board, body or paddle with very little restriction on your movement.
In this post I would like to take you through strategies and techniques that can be used to capture the best possible footage of your paddle boarding with your GoPro camera
When you walk into a camera or surf store and ask for the GoPro accessory relating to surfing chances are the Surfboard Mount will be the first one someone points you in direction of. The standard GoPro Surfboard mounting kit will come with two in adhesive mounts, two tethers and a mount which can be secured in to the lease hole. As your standard kit comes with two in adhesive mounts you are able to fix a mount to both the front and rear of the board.
When fixing these mounts to your board there are two main things you need to consider first of all make sure that you put them on straight, the centre line of the mount should be parallel with the centre of the board. The Surf Board Mounts do not have any ability to rotate once they are stuck on so pick you location carefully.
Also notice that the shape of these in adhesive mounts resembles a circle with a little arc taken out this arc is where you position your Tether Mount. The tether and tether mount give your camera extra security in the surf.
The standard surfboard mounting kit also comes with a rubber plug I am often surprised how many paddle boarders and surfers I see not using this. The plug is another piece of equipment which provides extra security to your camera. The plug is inserted into the clip which adjoins the camera to the Mount and locking it in place. The plug also has its own little tether which you can put around your GoPro’s thumb screw this is very useful if you need to remove the camera from this position while you’re out in the surf. Even though these mounts keep your camera very secure I would always recommend using a floating back door attached to your camera as a final security measure particularly if you are using a paddleboard in large surf.
Board Mounted Angles
Now that you have your GoPro mounts securely attached to your board, there are three main angles to shoot from that I have found work best:
Rear Mounted Third Person
This is where you attach your camera to the rear mount of your board with the lens pointing towards the front of the board (see picture below).
This angle give viewers a taste of the experience from your perspective while keeping you in the shot.
Front Mounted Third Person
This is where you attach the camera to the front of your board with the lens pointing towards where you are standing
This angle is great if you want yourself, or whoever is paddle boarding, as the focal point for the footage. It is perfect for capturing facial expressions, reactions or your technique.
Front Mounted First Person
This is where you attach your camera to front of the board with the lens pointing away from where you will be standing.
This angle is the best for showing the experience from your perspective.
Unlike surfing using the GoPro chesty for paddle boarding is a fantastic option for capturing body mounted shots. The chesty is very secure when worn properly and provides are very stable shot. The only disadvantage I see with using a chesty while paddle boarding is some of the field of view is obstructed by your hands on the paddle. Some may argue this not really a disadvantage as it gives your audience sense of the action.
When I first saw these for sale a couple years ago I had a real laugh to myself I couldn’t believe someone would buy something so ridicules. However over the last year I really come around and discovered what an incredible useful Mount this is. The Mouth Mount not only allows you to carry your GoPro comfortably in your mouth which in a lot of situation is the only alternative, the mouth Mount also provides one of the best most stable shots for anybody mounted accessories. The advantage of using a Mouth Mount over a chesty when paddle boarding is that the view is slightly higher and therefore your hands and paddle will not obstruct as much of the view. The disadvantage is you need to carry a GoPro in your mouth. If you are going to purchase a Mouth Mount for paddle boarding or surfing I would suggest the GoPole Mouth Mount over other varieties. For two reasons first of all it is the most comfortable one I have used and secondly it also has a tether which you can put around your neck so and support your GoPro while you not using it. This might not seem like a big deal but the Mouth Mount but it gives you a secure way to keep your GoPro attached to out when it’s not in your mouth.
Attaching to your paddle
One of the most unique angles you can capture your Paddle boarding is from the paddle. Itself attaching your GoPro to your paddle enables you to capture paddle boarding from a number of interesting angles.
In order to attach your GoPro to your paddle I suggest using a handle bar Mount accessory. I would suggest attaching the handle bar Mount to your panel pole about 40 cm above the paddle’s fin this should give a good amount of distance away from you while keeping the Camera out of the water. You should position the handle bar Mount so that camera is above the side of the Fin which has scoop shape. The reason for positioning your camera in this place is allows you to capture your rides easily from a rear third person angle. This is particularly useful when you are on a wave you can simply lift the back of your paddle and easily get a third person shot of your ride.
You can also use the camera on your paddle to take selfies as you would with a typical camera pole.
Attaching an extension arm is to the surfboard mounts on your paddle board can drastically improve the appearance of your board mounted shots. Shooting from extension pole on your board is like having your own private cameraman standing on your board. Filming from this angle is one of the most incredible shots you can get on your paddle board. However using extension arm Mount has a major downside that is that it is an extremely fragile position although extension arm is like these one sold by Gopole are extremely good quality, there is very little chance of it standing up to being crashed on by a decent sized wave.
If you decide to use an extension arm either stick to flatwater or pick your conditions carefully. If you do decide to use an extension arm in large surf consider using extra tethers and fold the extension arm down so that it is parallel to the board when you’re not using it to minimise the risk.