Hyperlapse Downwind

Monday, March 22, 12021 HE

I have been thinking about getting a camera for my paddleboard for some time now. Generally, I just pack my cell phone inside a waist dry bag so that I have it for easy access. But a nice to have (definitely not a need to have) accessory would be a camera mounted on the board. I looked into a few options before it dawned on me that I could mount my old phone, a Samsung Galaxy S8, to a cell phone holder and use it as a camera. This was a much more frugal option than something like a GoPro.

I first tried to order a mount connection for my board on Amazon only to find out that it did not fit my board. Fortunately, I was able to send it back with no additional charge. I say additional because I don’t believe in free things. You are paying for it, it is baked into the fee structure. I then opted to go with the iRocker phone holder since it would be compatible with my board. So much for saving time on an Amazon Prime delivery. I had, however, ordered a waterproof phone case so that part was a success.

The iRocker phone holder is a spring-loaded version. It seems like the clamp is sturdy and it has rubber grips. Just to be sure, I also loop the wrist lanyard cord from the waterproof phone case around the phone mount for extra security.

I tested out a hyperlapse video last weekend before the phone mount arrived. I MacGyvered a phone mount set up with my NRS Ninja PFD. I just placed the phone into the chest pocket and zipped it into place. I did a hyperlapse video of a paddle from the Ambleside in West Vancouver to Caulfeild Cove. The result was less than stellar as my body movements while paddling made for a nauseating cinematic view.

Below is the video of my first attempt with the iRocker phone holder. It works well except for my user error. In my haste to get out on the water, I failed to tighten the ball joint enough so that the camera angle drooped as I paddled. I did what I thought was a fairly tight finger tightening. But after fiddling around with it post-paddle I discovered that you need to twist it to prevent the ball joint from moving. I used the auto setting for the hyperlapse video. This is Samsung’s proprietary version of a time-lapse video. In the future, I will try playing around with the manual speed settings. Essentially they allow you to watch the footage a multiple of the regular speed of the video (e.g. 4x, 8x, 16, 32x).

Time-lapse video of my downwind paddle from Jericho Beach to Kitsilano Beach. Music is “Balck Betty” performed by Ram Jam.

Here is a small side read on the history of the song “Black Betty“.

There was a decent amount of wind forecasted. Windy.com was calling for westerly winds of 14 knots with gust up to 19 knots. I initially planned to do some upwind/downwind paddles as I was paddling solo. But after setting up my kit at Jericho Beach I checked the Evo Car Share availability. There was one available at Volunteer Park near West 1st Avenue and Macdonald Street. I booked it and then was off. I would downwind to the Evo car and then deflate my board and drive back to my car. Chalk one up for the inflatable board portability!

Below is a still shot from the hyperlapse video from my launch from Jericho.

Launching from Jericho Beach.

Just after passing the docks of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, I decided I was having too much fun. I stopped paddling and checked my phone to see if I was able to book an Evo car at Kitsilano Beach. Luckily there were a couple available so cancelled and changed my reservation.

Vancouver cityscape.

Then it was back to riding the bumps and swells that the westerly winds were providing.

The closest you can get to surfing in Vancouver is riding some of the wind swells.

Getting closer to my new destination of Kitsilano Beach. You can see the small white caps that were forming.

En route to Kitsilano Beach.

The image below gives a bit more perspective on the wave size. Nothing huge but fun to ride on and perfect for me developing my downwinding skill set. Unfortunately, at this point, my camera is sitting quite crooked and my attempts to right it with my paddle are just batting it back and forth left to right.

Some swell in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet.

There was a guy out riding a hydrofoil board with a wing just west of the Kitsilano Yacht Club pier. He buzzed by behind me heading into the shore and then in front of me heading back out. I was able to pull this still shot from the hyperlapse video. You can see him in the video above around 00:00:49.

A hydrofoiler with wing out enjoy the wind and waves.

I paddled into Kits Beach and then walk up the beach heading towards my Evo car feeling like a champ. My ego was boosted too when I ran into a client that I had not seen in a long time out for a walk on the beach.

It felt like a pretty seamless paddle to Evo transition. After packing up my kit I drove the Evo car back to Jericho. Changed over my kit and then was off to my home with a quick grocery detour (see below).

Here are some stats from the paddle. I felt like I was moving fast when I checked the actual numbers it was more of a relative thing. Faster than my normal.

Screenshot of my Google Fit stats.

My Route

The sigmoidal line through the water from Jericho Beach to Kitsilano Beach is my actual route. Somehow I managed to pause my activity recording rather than stop it. So it continued to track me, although less accurately on my drive to pick up my car and subsequent post-paddle grocery store run.

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