GoPro Surf Camera, Do You Need It?

GoPro Surf CameraIs the GoPro surf camera something you need?  The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines need as: “something that a person must have, something that is needed in order to live or succeed or be happy”, so, based on this definition you don’t need a GoPro, at least I hope you don’t.  It’s more that you want a GoPro.  In this post I will discuss:

  • The Benefits.
  • The Disadvantages.
  • The history of GoPro.
  • GoPro’s Competition.

What’s The Big Deal

The GoPro is small and easy to use camera with only three function buttons.  The GoPro can shoot videos and still images with various resolutions and frame speeds, all selectable by the user.  The GoPro even has a time lapse feature.  The GoPro is water resistant up to a depth of 197 feet and has wifi capabilities.

I love the view finder and touch screen (I believe these features are only available on the Hero 4 Silver and Black) and the mike works great for such a small camera.

The GoPro has many great features but what made it so popular was the ability of the user to record, first person images and videos, of the user performing various activities which lets the viewer feel like they are there.  Whether it’s getting barreled in a wave, jumping from an airplane, doing a stunt on a motorcycle, etc. you get to see what the user is seeing.

The GoPro is also a great device for taking selfies, something that almost everyone has done or is doing.  It has its own app, which allows the user to connect to an Apple or Android device and control the GoPro from their phone as well as serve as a view finder.  The newest software update to the app, even allows you edit and share videos and images.

The GoPro has become so popular that a whole industry has been created to provide accessories for this device, including: helmet mounts, chest mounts, surfboard mounts, selfie sticks, tripods, etc.  You name it and someone probably thought of a way to use or mount the GoPro.  The GoPro can even be mounted to a drone and has changeable lens.

The GoPro has free editing software that makes it easy to edit your videos and images on your PC and then upload them to your youTube channel or your Facebook page.

GoPro Surf CameraNot Everything Is Peaches And Cream

The GoPro seems to be a great device but it’s not perfect.  The basic model will cost you over $100.00 plus with the seemingly endless amount of accessories for the device, who knows how much you’ll end up spending.

If you are filming or taking pictures by yourself you can’t take the pictures or videos of yourself in the third person.  So, if you want to see if you are performing a maneuver, stunt, etc. correctly, you can’t record it solo, so, you won’t be able to see what you are doing right or wrong.  Of course, if you have a partner this won’t be a problem.

How It Started

At the age of 22, Nicholas Woodman, the founder and CEO of GoPro, gave himself until the age of 30 to be a successful entrepreneur, he had failed at his first business.  At the age of 26, he had no inspiration of what to do next and had 4 years left on the promise he made to himself.

He took the money he had made from a previous job, and planned a 5 month surfing trip around Australia and Indonesia to gain inspiration.  In preparation for the trip he had an idea of a surf camera attached to the wrist, to document himself and his friends on this trip.

After 3 months in Australia, he flew to Indonesia.  One day he saw his wife, Jill, wearing an amazing beaded shell belt and realized he could make money selling these belts in the United States.  They purchased 600 or so belts and started selling them from their 1974 Volkswagen bus.  With the money they made from selling these belts they acquired the seed money to the start company.

The first GoPro was essentially a wrist camera that he could use to take pictures of his friends surfing.  He later came to realize that much more people wanted to take pictures of themselves surfing and performing other activities, thus the idea of today’s GoPro was born.

Today, GoPro is a globally recognized brand that is worth billions.  GoPro has become so popular that the founder and CEO, Nicholas Woodman, appeared as a guest investor in the hit show, Shark Tank.

Here’s a video I shot using the GoPro Hero 4 Silver:


With anything that is or has become popular, clones and competition is bound to happen.  Everyone will want a piece of that pie.  Some well-known makers have decided to toss their hats in the ring, makers such as: Sony, Garmin, Panasonic, Kaiser, etc. And the not so well-known makers such as: GeekPro, ASX ActionPro-X, Lightdow, GearPro, etc.

Many of these makers have cameras with similar capabilities of the GoPro and are priced competitively with the GoPro.  Unfortunately, the clones available will claim to have the same features of the GoPro, at a much cheaper price, but will be poorly made and have questionable quality control.

In Conclusion

The GoPro history is a modern day rags to riches story.  The camera is pricey, has minor limitations but the free editing software, ease of use, seemingly endless accessories and its wide variety of uses makes the GoPro very attractive.  The GoPro may have started off as a camera for surfing but its uses has certainly expanded.  You may not need a GoPro but you can definitely want one.

Read my reviews of the GoPro HERO4 SILVER Surf Bundle With Memory CardSametop Frame Mount Housing and the Bontend Flexible Tripod.

Thanks for dropping in and should you have any questions or comments, please post-it in the comments section of this page.

4 thoughts on “GoPro Surf Camera, Do You Need It?

  1. Hi Stuart,

    What an attractive site you have! Lots of great information. I see you started surfing in your early 40’s. Wow! Better late than never. Where do you surf? Have you ever wanted to surf the Maverick off the coast of California?


    • Hi Julie, I surf at White Plains Beach on the Island of Oahu. My header image is a picture, taken by my girlfriend, of that beach.

      I have never surfed Mavericks because I don’t have a death wish :), way, way, way too big for me. But if it ever did happen, I would want a GoPro to record the action.

      Thanks for the comments and dropping in!

  2. This is definitely a rags to riches story. I love to watch Shark Tank and I am sorry I missed Mr. Woodman. Hopefully I can catch him on the reruns. One never tires of hearing entrepreneur stories that change peoples lives in some manner.
    Again, this is such good information. Although I am suprised that one can mount it on a drone. No privacy issues there at all?
    Lynn Drew

    • Hi Lynn, I found the GoPro story very interesting. Mr. Woodman was very good on Shark Tank though I don’t remember if he invested in any company.

      I think they are trying to draw up some type of legislation regarding cameras on drones and where they can go, but I could be wrong.

      Thanks for the comments and dropping in!

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