Looking back on my first handful of sessions, the hope of ripping around the bay on a wing foil seemed pretty far out of my reach. What gave me inspiration was how intuitively and quickly I learned the basics of flying a wing. Then my confidence plummeted as I tried to apply these skills in rough water. I kept going, listening to my gut as to what I needed to try next, on my 9th session I figured out what I needed and had success.
After several attempts I figured out how to make this DIY 360 camera pole or paddle mount to capture the look of a drone or "follow me" tracking video shot. When foil surfing I am often riding for 500 to over 1000 yards making it difficult to video the entire ride, and even more so to capture any close up detail. This homemade pole mount allows me to catch and ride waves normally AND video myself, my gear, and the wave in full detail.
Here are videos showing the paddle pole cam mount I use regularly, and the removable pole mount that I lend to friends (can be mounted to any paddle including adjustable length paddles). The first video is an overview of the 360 camera mounts, second and third videos go in depth on how I made the mounts, and the fourth video shows how I mount a 360 camera near the blade of a paddle. Full parts list and where to buy everything needed is also included in this post.
Another 6 months or so of foil sessions, guesstimating my total to be somewhere between 250 and 300 sessions, I stopped counting at 150. I have not ridden a non-foil board since June of 2018 (2 days in Maui). The speed, length or ride, and maneuverability of a foil is so far beyond what I can do on a surfboard.
The best part is the freedom, the expansive open space to roam AND share a wave with multiple foilers, and we are stoked and welcome each other dropping in. The crowded, sitting in a claustrophobic pack of hostile short board wave jockeys seems so stifling and antiquated, I literally cannot imagine going back to that.
I now feel much kinship with the pelicans and all birds. A foil lineup looks more like the ancient Hawaiian and Polynesian depictions of their surfing – together – for joy and playing with each other in the ocean.
A couple years back I tried a 360 camera while surfing. I scored some footage but the editing was an unexpected ridiculously long and tedious ordeal, and the camera was really heavy. So I sent it back and gave up on 360 VR video.
This week I found a lighter camera and am surprised at how relatively easy the software is to work with, and the GPS speed and distance overlay works! Foil surfing can difficult to capture with the long rides and the board being above the water and the hydrofoil submersed. The 360 cam seems like a good solution. So here is my second go at filming in 360 and first time uploading in immersive VR:
I procrastinated in making this tutorial partly because it’s difficult to build and film at the same time, I had already made mounts for myself, and I enjoyed being one of the few with this unique camera angle.
Now with foil surfing I have seen a revival in foilers using pole cams, myself included. So I was inspired to make an ultralight bamboo design for foiling.
In this video I show how I repaired a broken paddle shaft Wabi Sabi style. The shaft originally broke learning to foil surf, I bashed it several times on the rail of my board and on the foil itself. Jim Terrell has this video explaining how carbon shafts break.
In Star Wars movies some characters get light sabered and their body parts are replaced with human made machine parts. I going the other direction with my machine made carbon paddle being repaired and replaced with sun and earth grown plants.