A quick look at the GoPro HD Hero 4 Black camera

We have just taken delivery of the first GoPro HD Hero 4 black edition camera. Despite coming in the same size and physical footprint as the HD Hero 3 and 3+ the new GoPro HD Hero 4 has had some changes to the overall design.

GoPro-HD-Hero4-Island-Unboxing

If you have bought, or seen a GoPro 3 from later in the year you will have already seen the new waterproof housing. The new housing includes a tighter, and more compact fastening clip for making sure the case is done up properly to maintain its waterproofing. Moving onto the camera itself the battery compartment has moved from the back to the base of the camera. This is most likely due to larger and more powerful internals on the Black model and the inclusion of the LCD screen on the silver. Sadly because of this new design you will need to replace all of your existing batteries and the battery charger with new accessories from GoPro.

GoPro-HDHero4-Battery

Down the left side, behind a removable panel you will find connections for USB, Micro HDMI and a slot for a Micro SD card. The USB port also allows the connection of third party stereo microphones with an optional adapter. On the top of the camera there is the play/select button, notification led and mono microphone. The right side has what used to be the Wi-FI shortcut button. This button is now used for the new quick capture mode and also for accessing your settings menus. The front contains the new LCD panel, lens and power/mode button. This is where you can change and see everything on your camera. If you don’t fancy navigating your way through the options on the cameras own screen you can easily hook up the Silver and Black edition models to your smartphone via a free GoPro app.

No longer included is the Wi-Fi remote from the previous Black edition 3/3+. The camera now ships solely with the waterproof housing and a couple of flat/curved adhesive mounts.

If you are interested in the Black, Silver or standard Hero camera and are not sure which to buy then check out our other article here.

GoPro-Hd-Hero4-MicroSd

Which GoPro 4 Camera Should I Buy?

GoPro HD Hero 4 at Island Board Shop

In October 2014 GoPro officially announced and launched a new trio of action sports cameras. GoPro are the goto brand inside the sports industry and now they have an even better range which is more aggressively priced than ever.

For this season the GoPro range comprises of the GoPro Hero, GoPro Hero 4 Silver and GoPro Hero 4 Black. With prices ranging from £99 – £369 which model is right for you to buy?

Firstly lets take a look through the top level specifications between the models.

GoPro-HD-Hero4-Silver

Top video resolution and frame rate:

Hero – 1080p at 30 FPS

Hero 4 Silver – 4k at 15 FPS or 1080p at 60 FPS

Hero 4 Black – 4k at 30 FPS, 2K at 50 FPS or 1080p at 120 FPS

These are some impressive looking numbers but what do they really mean? Frame frequency or frames per second (FPS) is the rate in which the GoPro can capture individual frames/images. The higher the FPS the smoother the final video will be, the higher FPS also allows for extremely good looking slow motion which is a real highlight for fast paced sports and tricks. Most digital content we consume currently will be played back at 24-30 FPS.

In terms of resolution the average user is probably still using a tv, laptop and desktop computer with a 1080P display. This means the resolution of your monitor is 1920 x 1080 pixels. A 2K display contains 2560 x 1440 pixels and a 4K display/tv contains 3840 x 2160 pixels. This year 2K became increasingly popular with products such as the Apple iMac, Apple Macbook Pro Retina, PC monitors and smartphones all adapting higher resolution panels.

Currently there are few devices capable of playing and processing the high level 4K content which the GoPro Hero 4 Black can produce.

Photos:

Hero – 5MP sensor at 5 FPS burst

Hero 4 Silver – 12MP sensor at 30 FPS burst

Hero 4 Black – 12MP sensor at 30 FPS burst

Both the Silver and Black edition GoPro 4 cameras give very similar results when it comes to taking still images. Both models allow you to create time lapse photography which will look great when integrated with your normal video. The preset settings allow you to shoot photos from every 0.5 seconds to 60 seconds. If you want to capture faster action then you will love the burst mode which has seen a serious improvement over the older models. The new Hero 4 can shoot from 3 to 30 photos per second which is much fast than most modern cameras, phones or DSLR’s.

Connectivity:  

Hero – Mini USB, Micro SD

Hero 4 Silver – Micro USB, Micro SD, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Micro HDMI and more.

Hero 4 Black – Micro USB, Micro SD, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Micro HDMI and more.

Both the Silver and Black models of the Hero 4 include features to connect your camera directly to your smartphone, TV and computer. The standard Hero only allows connection to a PC so you will need to save your footage to another device to be able to play it back.

GoPro-HD-Hero4-Black

Conclusion:

The 2014 GoPro cameras have seen impressive performance gains whilst the cheaper models become more and more powerful each year. The £99 HD Hero 4 is a fantastic piece of kit for the price point and will put some serious pressure on the likes of Contour and Sony. At £99 this should become the family holiday camera of choice. Something to throw about in the pool, at the beach and in the water parks. At £289.99 we would expect to see the Hero 4 Silver in most peoples bags. It offers great video and photo capabilities and also features an integrated LCD screen for viewing and playing back footage. The Hero 4 Black should be reserved for serious film makers who already have the hardware to process, edit and playback the footage which it is capable of shooting. Likewise if you want to future proof your camera setup and do not plan on buying another GoPro for a few years then go for the black. Just bare in mind £369.95 is nothing in comparison to the PC, Monitor and TV setup you will need to enjoy it.

We will follow up this article with a hands on review before the year is out, we want to test the new models in a multitude of conditions and see what they can really do.

If you have any questions give us a shout in the comments or drop us an email.

Want to find out more about the camera itself and what is included in the box? Check out our unboxing here.

GoPro-HD-Hero-4

 

Ozone Chrono vs Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus

Ozone Chrono vs Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus

One of the most popular discussions for this season in the foil world is going to be which is best, the Ozone Chrono or the Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus?

This year both Ozone and Flysurfer have gone for the same sizing options, with Flysurfer also offering a 21m version of the Speed 4 Lotus. Both the Lotus and the Chrono are available in 12m, 15m and 18m sizes which makes back to back testing and quiver building easy between the two. Although both options are relatively high aspect, closed cell depower foils that really is where the comparison ends. Flysurfer and Ozone have both managed to create equally great kites for their chosen markets but for us mere mortal end users the decision on which to buy should be quite easy when flying both together.

After watching other more experienced riders and riding with the Ozone Chrono for a week there is no doubt that the Chrono is one of the fastest kites out there. It dominated the races during the OSKM and Dom has been winning practically every race event he has entered using this kite. For very light wind performance and pure straight line speed the Chrono is going to be on the watch list of many riders. The Chrono is a very solid kite, but is definitely aimed more at the speed freaks rather than general freeride. The hangtime is extremely impressive but the kite seems to pivot more during the turn then keep a more solid power delivery. It will be interesting to see if the buggy market picks up on the Chrono for this season. The Chrono is available with two bar options, a freeride and a race setup. The racing setup is pictured below and gives the ability to depower the kite much easier without having to reach further up the bar.

The Speed 4 Lotus for me remains the freeride favourite. Although still being classed as a high aspect kite it is much lower aspect then the Chrono. It feels tamer and more user friendly whilst still maintaining an incredibly good performance. Because of the profile the Speed 4 seems to behave better on the ground and during inflation. For riders wanting to hit the snow, mountains and beach without needing to be the fastest in a straight line this could be a better option.

I would not be surprised to see a new kite model from either company as the current two offerings do not directly compete with each other. A new higher aspect Speed 4 purely for raw low end power and race kiters and perhaps a closed cell Frenzy/Chrono cross for the more freeride oriented kiters who want to use the same quiver on land and water.

All we can do at this time is recommend you try both out for yourself before handing over your card details. As more demo kites become available in the UK we will be doing some extensive back to back flying to expand on the real world differences in wind range and flight styles.

 Check out our review of the Speed 4 Lotus.

Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus Kite Review

Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus Kite Review

After waiting patently since 2009 the successor to the Flysurfer Speed 3 is finally available. New for the 2014 season Flysurfer introduce the Speed 4 Lotus kite. We headed out to Switzerland for a chance to put this new model through a week of freezing conditions and to demo the kites.

Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus Kite

We have been flying Flysurfer kites since the Psycho 3 and Speed 2 so are always very excited when a new model comes to market. The Speed 3 has been the most successful kite Flysurfer have ever made and the 15m CE model is one of our favourite kites ever on test. Whether you are into land, water, snow or all of the above the Speed has proven its versatility across all terrains and many different riding styles. With all of this to contend with Flysurfer have had a real fight to create a successor worthy of the Speed name, fortunately the Speed 4 Lotus delivers the goods.

The Speed 4 Lotus range has had a slight change in the sizes since the Speed 3 CE. The 19m has been replaced with a new 18m size giving you the option of 12m, 15m, 18m and 21m kites. For the test we spent time on the new 18m size and the 12m and our initial thoughts are that these two sizes in the range are going to make a killer quiver with an almighty wind range.

Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus Kite

Pulling the kite out of the bag the first obvious change is the new fabric on the kites. We first saw prototypes of the new Lotus fabric several years ago in Sardinia so it is extremely reassuring to know Flysurfer have spent a lot of time and development in the testing stages before using it in production. The fabric feels slightly rubbery to the touch and is unlike any other kite on the market. There is no printing on the Lotus material on the kites because the fabric is designed to repel other substances sticking to it; for example sand, water, dirt and ink. The lack of extra colour also saves extra weight on the kites. Flying the 18m Lotus in light winds it is very apparent that this new material has boosted efficiency. Not only do the kites drift and float above your head better in light winds but they also feel lighter on the bar to turn. In terms of technical properties the new Lotus fabric is 25% lighter than the old deluxe cloth from the Speed 3 kites and is also capable of much better air pressure inside the kite. Flysurfer have used a bright orange fabric on the  trailing edge to highlight the deflate valves to make it impossible to launch the kite and not notice if you have left them open. Besides the new fabric Flysurfer have also introduced new stiffer and thinner lines which create less resistance in flight.

Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus Kite

The bar and lines have remained the same for the Speed 4 Lotus. Although the reappearance of the Infinity 2.0 bar is not unwelcome we would have loved to see some design changes to the chicken loop on these kites. In the cold the smaller chickenloop and hard donkey dick can be quite fiddly to hook in and out whilst wearing thick gloves. The benefit of the smaller loop is that it allows the bar to be closer to you whilst riding, this is especially handy for smaller/shorter riders. The highlight features of the Infinity bar 2.0 are the smooth line untwisting function on the quick release and the clean, easy trim system. The ability to un-spin the lines is very important when you can easily bust out 4 rotations in the air underneath these kites!

The Speed 4 Lotus provides a big enough improvement for previous Speed 3 flyers and riders who have models that are 3 or 4 years old now to upgrade and will provide a mind blowing experience for riders new to this style of flying.  

Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus Kite

If you are looking for a lightweight and durable travel companion to share many seasons of fun riding in the mountains or on the beach then the Speed 4 Lotus is an excellent choice. The kite has remained incredibly easy to fly and is forgiving for both novice kiters and for riders who are new to foils.  The Speed 4 Lotus manages to maintain its high performance characteristics for speed, hang time, light wind efficiency and most importantly huge smiles all around.

 

WeatherFlow Wind Meter Review

WeatherFlow Wind Meter Review

New on the shelf for 2014 the Weatherflow Wind Meter gives any Android or iOS smartphone user a portable and reliable anemometer in your pocket.

The idea behind the Weatherflow Wind Meter is to give avid weather watchers accurate wind readings without any hassle. This compact device simply plugs into the headphone jack of your iPhone, iPad or Android handset without the requirement for batteries or any other accessories.

WeatherFlow Wind Meter

Once the Wind Meter is plugged into your headphone jack launch the “Wind Meter” application (free on iTunes and the Play Store) from your homescreen and you are ready to go. The app is very basic but not in a bad way. Settings, history and readings are all easily accessible from the main menu. Inside the settings menu you can change your primary activity ie. kite, surf, windsurf.

You can also choose the type of speed unit to display. This list includes Mph, Knots, Beaufort Mps and Kph. When you hit the start button on the main app screen you get the wind speed and direction displaying in real time. In testing, around 30-60 seconds seemed reasonable to produce accurate results. The Wind Meter can read anything from 2 mph – 125 mph which seems pretty impressive.

When you hit stop the app calculates the average wind speed (accounting for lulls and gusts), wind direction and your location. The next cool feature is the ability to then save and share your readings with friends. Who doesn’t want to showcase the fact its pumping 30 knts whilst someone you know is stuck behind a desk?

Having not used an anemometer for several years due to not wanting to carry around a bulky or expensive device that needs a battery to be kept charged, I can happily say the Weatherflow Wind Meter will be living in the kite bag from this day.

If you’re in the market for a new gadget without breaking the bank then the Weatherflow Wind Meter could very quickly become your next purchase. Likewise I think this Wind Meter will make for great Birthday and Christmas presents for wind lovers around the world.

We tested the Weatherflow Wind Meter with an iPhone 5 and HTC One.

In the UK this unit retails for only £29.95.

WeatherFlow Wind Meter

 

Flysurfer announce freeride directional board called the Razor

Flysurfer announce freeride directional board called the Razor

Flysurfer have been working on their board line over the last few years applying their trademark innovative approach. The latest product to be released is the new Razor – a snowboard construction freeride directional. This style of board (north freerace, airush sector etc) are normally volume boards known for being a little fragile – easily dinged. The challenge in building a board this thin (2cm) with such large (25cm) fins is integrating the fin boxes. With the growing popularity of racing, some more user friendly freerace set ups are needed. Although it seems expensive at £999 – that is half the price of a North Race Ltd and £124 more than an Airush Sector 60 making it pretty competitive.

We look forward to riding it and hearing some feedback.

The excitement of winter storm chasing

The excitement of winter storm chasing

The mainstream media has been banging on about storms for what seems like forever. We have been hit by storm after storm and it has been reshaping our coast lines causing all kinds of damage. For us windsports enthusiasts there has been plenty to get excited about. In the old days it was all about storm kites in winter and the harsh conditions and going big – however it hasnt materialised for most of us until this winter.

The kite media has been all over it too – the Red Bull King of the Air in South Africa got plenty of people excited seeing all the big names going huge. The UK was well represented in that event with Aaron Hadlow, Sam Light and Lewis Crathern all competing – Sam even got a podium spot last year. This year however it was an all dutch podium. Check out the highlights:

The latest episode of the Kite Show has shown the storm chaser himself Ruben Lenten going crazy in the Netherlands – they have been getting the same storms we have. So much for chasing when they just come to your door step. Irish Ozone wave rider Ryan Coote has released a few videos of himself riding enormous waves in Ireland and Portugal.

Earlier this month the Red Bull Storm Chasers series came to Cornwall. This is windsurfing which is not really our thing, but seeing anyone go out in seas so wild they look like they are boiling is awe inspiring.

It has got me all excited too! I have been out every weekend rarely riding anything bigger than a 6m (a short session on a 9m before being blown out of the water) and a surfboard. The excitement of riding in a storm takes the edge of the rest of the week, when the weather is nothing but a hindrance.

An interview with Ryan Coote

An interview with Ryan Coote

KSP MAUI WATERHey Ryan – would you mind introducing yourself to our readers?
I live in Kerry on the west coast of ireland. My interests are in Surfing diving and of course kitesurfing.

You have been a part of the Ozone international team for some time – tell us how that came about.
Not that exciting really. They were looking for people pushing it in the waves and pop an email arrived into my mail boxes. I start talking to Iain and really connected and decided I wanted to be part of the team. I am super stoked how the development has gone with their Reo wave kite. I was mainly wave riding with C kites but we were not really getting it but the new wave kites have changed everything.

You recently took a trip to Portugal with some Spanish Ozone team riders and put out a great video. Tell us about that trip and the new REO.
Portugal was just peachy. I really didn’t know what to expect when i arrived. Not having meet a lot of guys before it was a unknown. I love surfing in Portugal so i was excited to get a chance to kite it.

Waveriding is your thing and in most of your videos you seem to go out in really big waves. Do you love massive waves or do they just make the best videos?
Well its seems that a lot of people like seeing the big stuff alright. I ride in a lot of different conditions here in Brandon Bay where I live my bread and butter conditions are more like head high to just over head. Anything bigger it will max out and just closes out. I do travel up and down the west coast to other spots where the reefs can handle the bigger swell. We are so spoilt with the amount of locations here to ride in no matter what the size of the swell is and the wind direction.

What are your ideal conditions?
16 to 20 knots on my 9m Reo and 25 / 30 degrees off shore winds. As big as the location can handle.

Do you have any tips for riders looking to get out in bigger waves and take their waveriding to the next level?
You really need to be comfortable with your gear and know it inside out. It is down to the conditions that you get to ride in regularly. I try and surf waves before I kitesurf them as well, because its all about dealing with the wipe out. Some big wave spots need a lot of preparation. You need to be in the right head space and have the right gear. But it also takes a lot of luck to get everything to come together on the day.

I do a lot of mental preparation for riding big waves. I also train hard with kettle bells, yoga etc. I tend to just take any situation just step by step and when everything comes together and i find myself in the right head space on the right wave building underneath me then i just let go and flow and deal with what ever comes my way.

Ireland has a reputation as a big wave spot, with surfers from around the world traveling to ride there. How do you get received by these surfers and what is their reaction to you being a kitesurfer?
Most really really well. Its all about respecting one another. I am also a surfer and will surf when the conditions suit surfing so i am out in the line up with most of the big wave heads any way. If i am kitesurfing around surfers I will stop and sit on my board with them in the line up and chat and joke with them. Mostly i think that a lot of surfers would love to try kitesurfing but they are put off by the gear and starting for the beginning again.

Who inspires you and your riding and keeps you motivated?
Its really hard because I only have a few guys here in Ireland that are interested in hunting down heavier bigger waves. Manly its surfers who inspire me. Fergal Smith and Tom Doidge-Harrison are really good guys and so positive to be around they know heavy waves very well and I always enjoy being around them when its heavy. Between both of them they the best knowledge about waves in ireland.

As far as kitesurfing i really enjoy watching Keahi de aboitiz he is so relaxed in heavy waves and his barrel riding skills are insane. But there are not that many people pushing Kitesurfing into the unknown areas where I am going so its kind of trial and error for me. A lot of places I kitesurf here in Ireland are firsts.

What do you do when you are not riding?
I have a 2 year old kid Enough said.!!! But i surf a lot and free dive and do a lot of gardening. I run a kitesurfing school in Ireland during the summer and do kitesurfing tours.

You competed on the KSP tour – tell us about the experience of competing with the world’s best wave-riders and your feelings on the tour?
I was very excited about doing the KSP but when it actually happened it was really a bit of a let down. Its so hard to run a comp and keep everyone happy. The first event was here in ireland in Oct and we had a 10 day holding period and we only managed to get two OK days of riding which is really harsh because in Ireland in Oct its normally pumping.

The Maui Event was just as hard the conditions just didn’t play ball.The guys on tour are mostly nice guys, some are a bit too full of themselves and their attitude stunk. Kitesurfing is such a young sport still and we are still trying to work out what works. I dont think the heat format doesn’t work for wave riding.

Do you enjoy competition?
No not really. I much prefer competing with myself.

Do you have any big plans for 2014?
Yeah more big waves. Also i really want to try to kitesurf around coast Ireland.

Who are your sponsors?
Ozone Kites, Oneill, Aor Surfbaords, Jay Harness, Surf plugs, Manna Organic Store.

Flysurfer Peak 6m Colour Change

Flysurfer Peak 6m Colour Change

Flysurfer have just announced that their recently released Peak single skin depower kite has had a permanent colour change in the 6m size. From this week the Flysurfer Peak 6m will be shipping to customers in Neon Orange and not the pink it was released with in 2013.

“Go anywhere with the new Flysurfer Peak Depower Kite. Flysurfer have proven themselves once again to be pioneers in kite development. In late October 2013 the very first single skin kite with an effective working depower, will hit the market. The PEAK uses no bottom sail making it different to conventional ram air kites. The weight of the kite is reduced and the pack size is incredibly small.”

Flysurfer Peak 6m Colour now Oange

The Ozone Chrono Kite

The Ozone Chrono Kite

Ozone have just announced an exciting new member of their foil family. The Ozone Chrono is a closed cell kite suitable for riding on land, water and snow. Naturally this kite is going to be rapidly compared to Flysurfers offerings such as the Speed 3 and Speed 4 Lotus. We are hoping to get our hands on the new Chrono at the Ozone SKM at the end of the month. The idea of the Chrono is to provide a new high aspect foil for high speed and big hangtime and the sizes certainly make sense for this. The Chrono is due for release in March and will be arriving in 12m, 15m and 18m sizes. We definitely think there is space both in the general kite market, and the current Ozone kite range for a super high aspect foil.

Stay tuned for more news as it comes in.

What Ozone are saying:

“It’s a high performance, water re-launchable foil kite design that excels on Water, Land & Snow. You’ll be laughing while boosting huge and going into hyper speed on those light wind days with the Chrono! Sizes 12m, 15m, 18m. More Information & Pictures coming soon. Stay tuned and excited as we are about the all new Ozone Chrono!”