Neal Gent finds this new action camera mount offers some much more interesting angles than the usual chest or mouth cam angles
WORDS: Neal Gent
The new Skymount from Tracer is designed to fit around the leading edge of a kite or a wing. Use it for selfie footage on your wing, or get a drone-like angle by attaching it up in your kitesurfing kite. We tried it on a wing with the addition of the ‘selfie kit’ which enables you to easily shoot from a very close up perspective. The main collar incorporates the camera mount and is made of a hard plastic. The selfie kit for winging is an adaptor that allows the GoPro to attach at a different angle than you’d need for kiting. Also in the box are a variety of sticky pads of varying thickness. The only remotely tricky bit about fitting the mount is measuring up your leading edge and selecting the correct thickness pads for your wing. With my five metre WASP, placing the mount over the section nearest the tip, I used the 6mm pads. You then place the collar around the leading edge before fully inflating it.
Once inflated the mount is held in place very rigidly and isn’t easily moveable. Although it took a couple of goes to get it in the right place the first time, after that you can quickly replace it before you go out. You’ll need to play around with the camera angle for a while; using the phone app to view the picture made this easier, ensuring I could get the best angle for action in the shot. Once you’re happy, just tighten the screw and I found that the camera angle withstood a number of good crashes without moving! I need to test it further to perfect the angle I want to shoot with the wing depowered in wave riding mode, but for shooting riding, starting, jumping and transitions I only need to place the mount back at the same spot and it is good to go!
On the water, it is clear that compared to trying to hold a camera, or having one on a boom attached to the centre strut, that this mount is way more user friendly. It didn’t get in the way once and most of the time I didn’t even notice it was there. The only tiny exception is deep starting on a small board when it is light. I could sometimes feel the drag on the wing tip without as much wind to lift the wing up, but to be honest the conditions were pretty marginal that day. Similarly, when it is really light and you ride downwind with the wing depowered there is a subtle extra ‘weight’ tipping the wing towards the camera. I didn’t notice any negative impact on the wing’s handling when it was windier.
SUMMARY This is a really nice solution that anyone could use to get some great footage of themselves winging or kiting. It clearly protects the leading edge of whatever you attach it to, and is robust enough to survive wing crashes (I haven’t tested a full blown kite crash!). You can probably fit it to various sizes of wings by attaching it to different points of the leading edge. My only quibble is that it would be nice to be able to change the collar size a bit more adaptively without using the sticky pads. If you add some more sticky pads to allow the mount to grip tightly round a narrower diameter leading edge on a smaller wing, they aren’t very easy to remove if you then want to use the mount on a bigger wing. WSW LIKED: Brilliant selfie angles and a really strong, reliable mount that can take some good wipeouts and still maintain your desired shooting angle. WSW WOULD CHANGE: A solution for quickly adapting the mount to different wing leading edge thicknesses. Tracer say: Users can always order extra pads from the website. You can also remove the glue by sticking two pads together and tearing them off, that way the glue layer will come off and you have non self-adhesive pads that you can just stick between before inflating. This way you can use the same Skymount on multiple kites/wings. The self-adhesive layer is just there for convenience, most kitesurfers only film with one or two kites with similar leading edge diameters. The mount doesn't have to fit to the millimeter because the pads, the kite and the mount offer tension when pumping up the wing or kite.
Sky Mount showing the pads