Meet The WOO from WOO Sports

Meet The WOO from WOO Sports

We have just taken delivery of The WOO, a kite tracker from WOO Sports. The WOO clips into a separate mount which remains stuck to your kiteboard and allows you to track the height, airtime and G force of jumps whilst your out kiting. The WOO then syncs to your Android or iOS device via Bluetooth to visualize the data and share it on a global leader board. In the box you receive The WOO, the USB charging cable and a mount for your board.

We look forward to getting out on the water with ours in the next week and will report back with a full review shortly.

Available now. http://islandboardshop.co.uk/products/the-woo

Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus and GoPro 4 Low Light Test

Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus and GoPro 4 Low Light Test

We took the newly launched GoPro HD Hero 4 Black Edition out for a sunset kitesurfing session to test the low light performance. By keeping the camera on the standard settings and not using the dedicated low light mode, the camera did not slow the shutter down to much to capture the action. This footage was captured in 4k at 30 FPS and exported straight to YoutTube from within Final Cut.

In this video we were flying the Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus. We were pretty impressed with the results and even taking some screen grabs from the video on a 2k monitor left us with some usable images.

Check out the Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus on Island Board Shop.

Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus Kitesurfing Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus Kitesurfing Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus Kitesurfing

A quick look at the GoPro HD Hero 4 Black camera

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?

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

 

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

 

How to take photos on snow

How to take photos on snow

How to take the best photos for your upcoming snowboard trip.

You’ve been patiently waiting all year for the annual snowboard trip and it is just around the corner. You missed the best bails the year before or maybe your photos are too bright or not bright enough, the snow looks grey and everything is generally not right. If this sounds familiar then read on to discover our tips and tricks for taking photos on snow (snowboard & snowkite)

The right gear for the job.

Think carefully when choosing your camera equipment for your upcoming snowboard trip. You are always going to get better and more controlled shots from your DSLR over a point and shoot or action camera but the practicality is you need both to make the most of all situations.

Snowboarding with a GoPro

Advantages of action camera (such as GoPro)

  • Point and shoot – easy to pass around the group without the need to learn any of the modes or settings.

  • Wide angle – a big field of view means you can get closer to the action and step back to guarantee your subject will be in the frame.

  • Compact – small cameras are great for taking in and out of your pocket on the ski lifts without needing to worry about extra bags or gear.

  • Loads of mounting options – mount cameras on collapsible poles, helmet mount them or stick them on your board. You can stick a GoPro on anything and forget about it.

  • Crash proof – cameras such as the GoPro are basically destroy proof under normal use. Super tough external housing makes them both waterproof and protects the camera inside.

Disadvantages of action camera (such as GoPro)

  • Point and shoot – limited selection of settings and the ability to frame shots.

  • Wide angle – Although the wide angle lens is sometimes beneficial you don’t always want the warped images that a 270 degree lens gives you.

  • Framing your shot – Without optional accessories most small action cameras do not have screens for allowing you to check your field of view and see what you are actually filming / photographing.

GoPro Pole Mount Snowboarding

Advantages of a DSLR

  • Full manual control – with a reasonable understanding of your cameras settings and photography there is not a single situation your camera will be unable to handle.

  • Quality – most DSLR cameras feature much larger sensors than most point and shoot cameras. Combine the bigger sensor and large pixel count for brighter and sharper images.

  • Choice of lens – Want to shoot wide? put on and wide lens, want to shoot close ups? swap it out again.

Disadvantages of a DSLR

  • Durability – although higher end DSLR cameras feature weatherproofing on the lens and body you are never going to be in an ideal situation for carrying it around the mountain, on the lifts, riding with it and using it in cold/wet conditions.

  • Price – not everyone owns a DSLR and not everyone wants, or needs to either. They are more for the budding photographers among us and the cost of setting up a reasonable rig is easily 2.5 X the price of an action camera setup.

  • Size – The body and lens of a DSLR is quite large regardless of what lens you are going to be shooting with. You may also want to carry spare batteries, lens cloths, more lens’, tripod… before you know it you’re carrying around 15kg of equipment on your back.

Snowboarding in Powder

Top 5 tips for snowboarding camera equipment.

  1. Allow any of your electronic equipment to reach indoor / room temperature slowly before turning them on and checking your days footage. This will heavily combat the chances of condensation and something getting broken.

  2. Choose your lens for that particular day and stick with it. This will reduce the amount of gear you need to carry. Every time you are on the mountain swapping lens’ back and forth you are also putting your camera at risk (you will probably need to take your gloves off to which sucks!)

  3. Buy a telescopic pole for your GoPro. These poles come in loads of different sizes and models. Some come with a tripod adapter built in and some need one adding so make sure its all together and working before your holiday.

  4. Take your charger. Batteries do not like the cold, it is advisable to get an idea of how long your camera batteries work when you are at home as then you can adjust this time after your first day on the slopes and work out a rough percentage difference.

  5. Take a tripod. The mountains house some of the most scenic views you are going to see for the next year so make the most of it. Expect great sky’s littered with stars. Whether you are shooting on an action camera or DSLR you can capture time lapse scenes and star trails.

Tips for photographing snowboarding & landscapes

Landscape photos:

To make the most of your landscape and scenic shots whilst you are away I would suggest using a tripod or similar piece of equipment. If you do not have anything to hold your camera in place then improvise with your surroundings, a car roof, wall or bench will make a good start.

Things to remember:

Keep your horizons straight. Use something in your photo as a point of reference to frame your photo correctly before you press the shutter. If you find it difficult to frame the photo with the horizon accurate then shoot the photo slightly wider (zoomed out) to allow a margin to crop and rotate the photo later digitally.

Depending on your light conditions you will want to select the right settings on your camera. For landscape we tend to want to grab as much depth and detail as possible from the foreground all the way back to the horizon. To do this select a smaller aperture of F5.6 or less. You may be able to go up or down a few stops depending on the situation. The lower the aperture the more detail you will get into your final shot. Next up is to set your ISO and shutter speed. It is always best to use as low an ISO as possible. Most cameras start at 100 ISO and go over 1000. Depending on the quality of the body and lens you are using photographs shot over 400 ISO tend to generate a lot of noise on the image. If you are in bright light then shoot with a high shutter speed to reduce the amount of light which can enter the lens. If your photos are too dark then reduce the shutter speed. If your photo is blurry because you cannot keep the camera still enough for the selected shutter speed, increase the shutter speed and also increase the ISO to compensate.

Photograph stars snowboarding

Action Photos:

Time for the fun stuff. Due to the fact this is what most riders want to achieve I will keep this section as easy to follow as possible. If you are struggling to capture the action then try shooting on burst mode or interval mode. For a GoPro shoot a photo every 0.5 seconds for the best chance to capture something interesting, the joys of digital allow us to delete excess photos easily. Most DSLR cameras have options of 3+ photos a second when holding down the shutter button in the correct mode.

How to use a GoPro

Sunny conditions:

– high shutter speeds (1000+) The faster the shutter speed, the crisper the photo.

– mid range aperture (F3-5.6)
– low ISO – lower the better, should be 100 in bright light.

– generally it is best to shoot with the sun on your back with a well lit subject but by using the right mix of exposure, aperture and iso you can get some great results.

Flat light:

– mid / high shutter speed (800+)

– shoot at a higher aperture, the subject should remain in full focus but the background detail will be less. Due to flat light the background is probably not very exciting anyway. F3.3 >.

– If your subject is blurry then the shutter speed is to low. Make it higher and compensate using the ISO.

– fill flash, use your flash on a low setting to bring your subject to the front of the image and separate them from the dull background behind.

Dark:

Shooting in falling light with action shots is never going to be a great situation to be in without a flash.

– use a flash to light your subject or the area around them. using a flash to capture an exact moment will also allow you to shoot at a lower shutter speed (more light) to capture more of the surrounding.

– maximise the use of artificial light coming from lights or buildings in the area to give your photos an extra glow.

Snowboarding in the dark

Top 5 tips for photographing snowboard conditions.

  1. Wear thin gloves. If you are going to be spending a lot of time behind the camera you will be in a much better situation leaving on a pair of thin gloves all day and being able to navigate menus and buttons rather than taking on and off a thicker pair which in turn will just end up as soaking wet dead weights.

  2. Shoot in RAW. If you are lucky enough to be shooting a DSLR or prosumer camera you should be able to shoot in RAW instead of Jpg. This will allow you much more control on losslessly altering your photos meaning you won’t loose any quality when you export your image. ie. correcting your white balance from blue/orange tint to white.

  3. Set exposure on neutral objects. Use the sky or something other than the snow to set your correct exposure.

  4. Test and charge all your kit before you leave. This is very important for cameras such as the GoPro. The more you understand the focal length and what is is in your frame the better. This will allow you to effectively shoot your GoPro blind. Point it in the right direction and at the right distance without seeing anything through an LCD screen or viewfinder.

  5. Shoot video. If after reading this guide you are still not getting the photos then maybe just video the action instead. It is not ideal but you can always grab still frames on your computer later.

Snowkiting in France

The Loose ends.

Composition – When taking your photos try to diversify the shots from just being super white. Shoot low to close to see more of the board or skis to brighten up your image. Shooting across from your subject and capturing mountains or trees off the piste is another good example.

Freezer bags – If you want to keep your equipment dry and don’t have the budget for specialist bags wrap your camera and spares inside re-sealable sandwich or freezer bags.

The natural reflector – Remember that snow reflects a super amount of light. This allows for some photos which would otherwise require extra hardware or a flash to make.

If you have anything you want to add or have some more specific questions then drop us a line on the contact form or post a comment below.

Happy shooting.

Massive thanks to Never Summer snowboards and Flysurfer kites.

Snowboarding Boots

GoPro Launch the HD Hero 3 Wrist Housing

GoPro Launch the HD Hero 3 Wrist Housing

GoPro have been pretty slow on updating a lot of the older available style mounts from the Hero1 and Hero2 cameras to fit the new White, Silver and Black editions. This week however the popular wrist housing has seen an update and is now available for purchase in the Uk. The wrist housing is great for sports where you simply cannot sacrifice the use of your hands – Kitesufing and Wakeboarding for example.

“Wear your HERO3 camera like a watch for easy access when capturing footage on the fly. The Wrist Housing secures your HERO3 flat against your wrist, yet lets you quickly pivot the camera upright to shoot photos or video. When not recording, you’ll have full use of both hands—making it perfect for activities like surfing, snorkeling, climbing and skiing. Winter sport-friendly, the Wrist Housing fits over your ski gloves or jacket with the included adapter, plus straps to gear such as kayak paddles and kitesurfing kites for a wide range of shooting possibilities. Delivers maximum image sharpness above and below water. Waterproof to a depth of 197’/60m.”

What you get in the packet:

  • 1 Wrist Housing
  • 1 Neoprene/Velcro Wrist Strap
  • 1 Waterproof Backdoor
  • 1 Skeleton Backdoor
  • 1 BacPac Backdoor

Camrig – Stoked 2013 Video

Camrig – Stoked 2013 Video

A new video from the guys over at Camrig has just dropped in our inbox! Check it out below. We use the new Hero3 line mount ourselves and it is simply the most used piece of camera equipment we use for kitesurfing, landboarding and snowkiting.

Thanks to the riders for sharing their stoke with us!

Luke McGillewie - lukemcgillewie.com
Sam Light - samlight.co.uk
Aaron Hadlow - aaronhadlow.com
Ruben Lenten - len10.com
Lewis Crathern - windmachine.biz

GoPro Launch Hero 3

GoPro Launch Hero 3

The GoPro has revolutionised action sports! It has been the leading action sports camera without any shadow of doubt. The launch of the third edition of the Hero is therefore pretty exciting. There are the obvious improvements in resolution and picture quality, but also extra improvements such as built in wifi and offering different bundles in terms of black, white and silver editons which come with different features and extras.

GoPro also made this beautiful movie for the launch!

Read the full spec for the GoPro Hero 3.