Perfect Helmet Cam Barrels…

This is a short film showcasing barrel riding from a surfers point of view shot (by Aussie surfer Kerry Down) at a variety of reefs & beaches scattered along Australia’s wave enriched coastline.

Where do you call home?

I reside in a small coastal town just north of Sydney.

When do you get the inspiration to start documenting your rides?

I’ve always been interested in water videography/photography but i never wanted to get on the other side of the lens because i always wanted to surf. A mate of mine was sponsored by GoPro and gave me one of the old standard definition cameras. He was getting some really cool perspectives so that got me amped to get out in the water and try out some different stuff.

Describe your helmet camera rig?

The majority of the footage was filmed with a setup I made from a Gath helmet that I made functional by melting two horizontal holes into the side and mounting the GoPro to the side of the helmet with GoPro attachments and a fire extinguisher pin. I set the camera up on a vertical angle because I didn’t have the right equipment to set it up horizontally but later after setting it up both ways I found I liked it much better vertical because you get to see the board, shock wave and how deep your getting. The other view you see in the film was shot from a homemade extension kit I assembled from thin stainless steel brackets that plug into a GoPro reverse FCS mounted at the back of the board.

Describe the learning curve of shooting point of view stuff.. Did you nail good shots right away? Or did it take a while?

It was a learning curve indeed…I started by just paddling into the wave and holding it in my hand but it’s kinda hard and awkward and in bigger waves I eventually lost one . I then purchased another one and made a arm sling that mounted the camera to my bicep which had holes cut out for the function buttons and the camera lens. This worked good but your arms move around a bit and the footage was not as smooth as I had hoped for. Next I tried an elastic head harness that came with the GoPro helmet cam equipment. It is similar to a miners head harness except instead of a light you have a GoPro. Again this worked good but whenever you wipe out it would get ripped off your head. Even though I had a safety leash, I eventually bit the dust on a big perfect day and lost the hole setup and worst of all some epic footage. That’s when I turned to the Gath helmet, the footage looked smooth and clean and the chances of loosing another GoPro were minimal. I starting to gather some good footage but I needed a different angle to mix things up and that’s when i tried the behind view (that you see in the film). At first I had the GoPro screwed straight into the FCS plug at the back top part of the board but due to water droplets that were ruining the perspective I had to rig up some homemade stainless steel brackets to get the camera further back and up higher out of the water.

What about tuberiding? You’re obviously very adept, what advice to you have for people when paddling for, dropping into and navigating their way through barrels?

mmmmm… tough one, I guess just learn by watching waves from the beach, trying to pick which waves break good, which ones closed out. Then just get out there on whatever craft you can, surfboard, bodyboard, alaia or even bodysurfing, just get familiar with barrels, watch the lip, see how the shockwave can help or hinder you, ride as many tubes as possible, barrels, close outs, and then progress from there. … The more comfortable you get in tubes the more you’ll start to make. Lastly never hold back… the best waves you get are the ones you don’t think you were going to make, they’re the ones that you think about all day, all week and maybe lifetime.

What advice do you have for others looking to document their tubes?

I can’t think of how many good waves that I’ve missed because I didn’t press record properly or the epic footage that is sitting on the bottom of the ocean somewhere but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter, your out in the water, have fun with it, experiment, you’ll never know what you might capture.