Here are 13 tips for shooting GoPro surfing footage, including settings, composition, and protune. Plus, I've included the 5 best GoPro accessories for surfing. There's a video from each mount, so you can see what type of footage each surf mount can get.
Take your surf game to the next level with this guide to GoPro surfing.
First, let's take a look at 13 GoPro surfing tips that will help you get the best footage out of your GoPro.
13 GoPro Surfing Tips
Want to improve your surfing footage? Take a few minutes to review these tips before you head out on your next GoPro surfing adventure.
(Or skip to the best GoPro accessories for surfing).
1) Avoid water-drops and condensation
Water-drops can ruin your footage. You can get water drops or condensation on the GoPro lens itself, and on the inside/outside of the waterproof housing.
For water-drops on the lens and on the outside of the housing you can either lick the lens, or use a product like Rain-X. These products really come in handy if you're not big on licking the camera lens every few minutes. And when you can't reach the camera, like when it's mounted on your board.
To avoid condensation on the inside of the waterproof housing use anti-fog inserts. They'll soak up any extra moisture caused by temperature changes, and keep your footage looking nice and clear.
2) Start with a GoPro surfboard mount
When getting started GoPro surfing use a mount that helps you concentrate on your surfing. A mount you can attach to the nose of your board is probably your best bet. This way you can set it and forget it.
You can also change the angle of the camera between rides. So on one wave you can have it facing the beach, and on the next facing you. This will add interest to your video, and photos.
It's easiest to make adjustments on the beach. See some of our recommended surf mounts.
3) Test your angles before you surf
Experiment at home or on the beach to get your best angles.
If your camera is angled to high, you just might come home with footage of the sky and nothing else. If it's angled too low, you could get footage of just water (or your feet on the board).
4) Ask a friend for help
You'll get some awesome footage riding the waves if you ask a friend to film you. Ask him/her to join you, but to sit out a few waves and film you, then return the favor. Using the GoPro with a floaty stick, or dome-port may be best for getting this footage.
Read more about how to shoot half underwater GoPro photos.
5) Plan some still shots
You can get some great still shots by using time-lapse and burst mode. The best shots can be shared and/or added to your video footage.
A great feature of burst mode is that you can stitch the photos together into an action sequence. This can create a cool effect when added to your video, it will help viewers focus their attention where you want it.
6) Switch up your angle and field of view
Try getting footage in a couple of different FOV options.
For example, shoot one ride with the widest option (170 degrees) and you'll get an expansive fov including the water, other surfers, the beach… Then for your next ride try the narrow option focused on the nose of your surfboard.
Doing that while incorporating different angles (facing the beach, the open water, you…) will keep your footage lively and interesting.
You might want to try spending some time in the surf without your board to get footage of the waves.
7) Play with Protune
Adjusting settings in Protune can help you capture files with more detail. That means you'll have more options during editing.
For example, a video captured in the standard GoPro color will be less flexible in editing than footage captured in Protune “Camera Raw” or “Protune Flat”. Camera Raw/Protune Flat will allow you to pull more color out of the footage. This helps your footage look more “real”.
It also means you can soften harsh contrasts, like sunspots and shadows in editing.
Read more about GoPro Protune.
8) Best GoPro surf settings: Frame rate, resolution, and aspect ratio
- GoPro frame rate for surfing: Surfing is action packed, you'll want to choose a frame rate that can handle all that action. 60fps is a great choice for fast action and sunny conditions, plus it allows you to create slow-motion footage while editing.
- GoPro resolution for surfing: If you're planning on sharing your footage on YouTube, easy-peasy like, go with the 1080p resolution. Otherwise you'll need to spend more time in editing.
- GoPro aspect ratio for surfing: 16:9 is probably your best bet, it's pretty standard.
9) Stabilize the camera
Stabilizing the camera will help you get smoother footage. An easy trick is to hold it against your face. This works well when you're using a hand held mount.
When you're riding the wave shooting toward the beach, rather than holding your arm stretched out in front of you, bring the camera in and press it against your chin.
10) Use a waterproof housing
A waterproof housing makes your GoPro tougher. This means if you wipe-out you won't have to worry as much about rocks or sand as you would without a housing.
You'll also be able to go deeper with your camera, even if it's already waterproof, again – less worry.
11) Keep things clean
Wash the gasket on your waterproof housing with fresh water to keep it working properly. And set up your camera before you put on sunblock.
12) Make sure it floats
Use a floaty backdoor or a floaty handle so your camera will float if you drop it.
Do a float test at home or in shallow water to make sure that your mount isn't too heavy for the floaty device you're using.
13) Plan your story
Think about the story you want to tell: plan the start, middle, and end. Writing your outline down can make things easier.
The following video shows how telling a story by including additional footage can make your video more enjoyable, and exciting.
Watch on YouTube
Here's more about using a GoPro underwater.
Now let's get into the best GoPro accessories for surfing.
Best GoPro Accessories for Surfing
Using one of the following accessories will help you capture your GoPro surf adventures in all their beauty. Combining them could help add even more interest to your footage.
1) Best GoPro surfboard mount:
The surfboard mount (nose mount) is probably your best bet if you're just getting started. It allows you to film selfie action and, with a quick turn of the camera (best done on the beach) you can film the action taking place in front of you.
Stitch these angles together and you've got some great storytelling footage, all hands free – allowing you to focus on your surfing.
You can also put this mount on the back of your surf board. It's best to buy multiple mounts and leave them attached to your board. It's not recommended to attach and remove these mounts.
And, if you're an advanced surfer it's still a great option because of the angle it captures, and the POV change up it offers.
In the following video you can see the POV from the surfboard mount.
Watch on YouTube
Our top pick for the best surfboard mount:
The GoPro surfboard mount (Official GoPro mount): Make sure to check out some videos about proper application before attaching the surfboard mount. If not mounted properly they can pop off.
When using this mount we recommend using a floaty backdoor. With a floaty backdoor you won't lose your camera if the mount fails. You attach this to the back of your waterproof casing. It's great for all water sports and many different mounts.
2) Best GoPro head mount for surfing:
The head mount is also great as you're getting started.
A couple of issues with this mount are that you'll get a lot of movement in your footage because of how much you move your head around while surfing. To help with that you can share the clips in slow-mo, or edit out the parts with too much moment.
And you won't be able to see when there are water-drops on the lens, so use rainx or something to help keep those drops off.
Don't forget to check your angles before you hit the surf to make sure you're not just filming the sky.
This next video shows the POV from a head mount.
Watch on YouTube
And if you want to add some fun bobble-head clips, turn it around to face you.
Watch on YouTube
Our top pick for best GoPro head mount:
SANDMARC Floating Headstrap Mount. This mount fits all GoPro cameras and it floats, so you won't need an extra floaty accessory.
3) Best GoPro mouth mount for surfing:
A GoPro mouth mount allows you to hold the camera in your hand, and in your mouth. When the GoPro is in your mouth your hands are free – which may help you keep your balance, and add to the look of freedom in your video.
Just remember that you'll need to grab the mount out of your mouth before a wipe-out.
In the following video you can see how easy it is to get different POV's with the mouth mount.
Watch on YouTube
Our top pick for best GoPro mouth mount:
Pro Standard Mens Grill Mount (White): For GoPro Hero 6, GoPro Hero 5 Black, Hero 5 Session, Hero 4 Session, Hero4, Hero3+, and Hero3.
The above mount does not come with housing or floaty backpack.
4) Best handheld mount for surfing:
This mount is for surfers who are a little more advanced because one had will be occupied with filming which takes more concentration.
The hand held mount can be tucked in your wet-suit to keep your hands free for paddling.
The following video shows how great the hand held mount is for getting surfing footage of yourself and your friends, from all angles.
GoPro video showing hand held mount for surfing:
Watch on YouTube
Our top pick for best GoPro handheld mount:
Our top pick for best GoPro handheld mount for surfing is the CAMKIX waterproof telescopic pole and floating hand grip in one. It floats, fits all GoPro cameras, and is extendable.
5) Best GoPro dome-port for surfing pics: (used by a buddy)
We don't recommend using this while you're surfing, you could, but it's intended for half underwater shots.
It's best used for wave shots, or by a friend filming you while you're surfing.
The following video shoes some of the fun footage you can get with the dome-port for surfing. The dome-port also does an awesome job with still shots are.
GoPro dome-port surfing video
Watch on YouTube
Our top pick for best dome-port for surfing:
The Vicdozia Telesin 6” Dome Port Lens for GoPro Hero5 Black and Hero6
There you have it – our top picks for the best GoPro accessories for surfing.
Which GoPro Surf Accessories Will You Use?
Our top pick for beginners is the surfboard mount. And for advanced surfers, a handheld, or mouth mount.
Once you know how to surf, you could say that GoPro surfing is easy, if even a pig can do it. 🙂
Meet Karma the surfing pig:
Watch on YouTube
Now let's take a look at the best GoPro cameras for surfing.
Best GoPro for Surfing
Now that we've covered the best GoPro surf accessories, let's talk about the best GoPro for surfing.
What's the Best GoPro camera for surfing?
The best GoPro for surfing would be a waterproof one. That way if your waterproof housing (provided you're using one) fails, your camera will not be ruined.
Which GoPro cameras are waterproof?
- Hero5 Session: Waterproof to 33 feet (10 meters). Up to 45 meters (147 feet) with housing.
- Hero5 Black: Waterproof to 33 feet (10 meters). Up to 45 meters (147 feet) with housing
- Hero6 Black: Waterproof to 33 feet (10 meters). Up to 45 meters (147 feet) with housing
All of the above options will give you great footage (4k capabilities). The Hero5 Black, and Hero6 have a screen, making them easier (in my opinion) to use. The stabilization is great with Hero5 and even better with Hero6.
The GoPro Fusion is waterproof to 16 feet (5 meters) and gives you the added awesomeness of two lenses, allowing you to shoot in all directions, and 5.2k quality. It also has the best GoPro stabilization yet. But, I wouldn't recommend the Fusion for beginners because of the lack of a waterproof housing. It may be best for storytelling shots, not for getting beat around in the surf.
While the above GoPro cameras are waterproof, if they are in a waterproof housing they will be able to take more of a beating, and will be able to go deeper without worry.
Have you taken your GoPro surfing? What accessories and mounts did you use? Please share your tips below. Have a question about surfing with your GoPro? Join us in the comments.