Sometimes you see GoPros in the weirdest of places – on dog harnesses, on a unicorn mount or even being held in someone’s mouth. Having tried quite a few weird ideas myself including mounting a GoPro inside of a lobster pot and on the end of a stick for my dog to chase along the beach I can say that some angles are hyped up far too much being more of a novelty rather than actually getting good footage, whereas with other angles some patience, the right setup and a bit of luck can lead to that perfect clip that made all your effort worthwhile. Mounting a GoPro on the tip of your paddle is one of those rewarding angles which I rarely see people using other than as a longer selfie stick, I admit it’s in the way while you’re paddling and the editing is hit-and-miss but when you find a perfect photo you’ll be glad you did. In this post I’ll walk you through how I set up a GoPro on my paddle and some tips to get better results first time around…

The very first thing to make sure of is that it’s mounted correctly. By ‘correctly,’ I mean not only is it aligned with the paddle shaft properly but that you use the right GoPro mount. The standard flat adhesive GoPro mount will stick to your paddle, but I imagine most of you have wondered what might happen if it snapped off and you loose your £200+ camera. The solution to this is the GoPro surfboard mount – I think it’s the only official GoPro mount that comes in white instead of black, the reason for this (surprise surprise) is that it’s meant to be positioned at the front of a surfboard, typically looking back at the surfer, because water is surprisingly powerful at times and a surfboard doesn’t have a variety of places where you can mount a GoPro this mount is effectively a super-duper flat adhesive mount. A standard pack will set you back around £25 and give you 2 of the circular mounts and 2 tethers to go with them, if you intend to try mounting your camera on your paddle tip then I can’t recommend these enough.

Attaching the mount to the paddle is easy, just find the flatest area of the paddle (it’s important the mount sticks properly which it won’t do on a curved surface) as close to the tip as possible and in line with the shaft. The further away the camera is from you as a paddler the more it will be able to capture and if the mount is in line with the shaft then you’ll experience less flutter while paddling because the weight of the camera will be more central. To make sure that the mount faces in the right direction you could attach your camera and use the screen to align it but I find it’s more exact if you position the mount so that the cutaway/dimple is towards the end of the blade, the mount itself is parallel to the paddle shaft and then I turn it about 10 degrees anti-clockwise (assuming it’s mounted on the top half of my right blade), that centralises the paddle in any images and makes sure my head and torso is definitely in the field of view as well. To attach the tether, stick it next to the main mount so that it fits into the dimple on the side (make sure that when you mount the main part, the cutaway/dimple for the tether is behind the camera, closer to the tip of the blade so that it’s not in the camera’s field of view).

Alright, you’ve mounted your camera on the paddle, it’s turned on, what do you do now? What setting should you use? I use a GoPro Hero (2018) and I know that almost all GoPros have the same settings in terms of modes even though resolution, frame rates etc differ between models. The trick with the paddle-cam is not to take video (obviously) because while you’re paddling the camera would be shaken about all over the place, instead you need to set it to time-lapse. My camera has 2 time-lapse options – time-lapse video and time-lapse photo – you should pick time-lapse photo and then the smallest interval between photos (I only have the 0.5 second option). Time-lapse video is useful for edits when filming a sunrise etc because it stitches all the photos together into a video in-camera. This is not useful for the paddle-cam because we want to select individual photos, time-lapse photo records each image separately on the memory card so that you can select individual images to edit later on, as for the interval between photos – the smaller it is the less likely you will be to miss the perfect shot, although it’s still down to luck…

Here are some final tips: 1) only bother with this camera angle when it’s sunny. GoPros work best in bright sunlight, it’s when they get colours at their most punchy and your videos/photos will come out looking like an official GoPro edit. If a GoPro photo is dull or lacking definition or contrast it won’t grab people’s attention or look as good as it can be which is something you want when using this particular angle. 2) Practice rolling a couple of times with the camera attached because it makes it harder to roll up as quickly as you normally would. 3) Keep checking the camera is at the right vertical angle because no matter how tightly you screw in the camera, when you’re paddling it is going to move eventually. 4) When you decide to use this angle, film for a long time. That perfect image is elusive and luck has a lot to do with it, don’t expect to film for 5 minutes and then switch mounts otherwise you’ll likely be disappointed with your results. 5) Have fun messing around and getting some cool shots…

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