White Water Go Pro 101

Go Pro whitewater

Catching some air at Iron Ring Rapid, Gauley River, WV

If you look around, you’ll notice Facebook land has a lot more whitewater shots and videos thanks to the popularity of Go Pros. I have been using my Go Pro Hero 3 to get video and white water shots from the New and Gauley Rivers. I started playing with my Go Pro last year and have been getting more and more into it.  My favorite is to shoot POVs (point-of-views), giving the guest a realistic feel of what it looks like to raft class 5 whitewater. Through trial and error, I have learned a lot over the last year. Here are some tips on what to do and what not to do when using a Go Pro to shoot white water.

How To Mount Your Go Pro:

Go Pro white water

Go Pro Accessories

There are a few different mounts and accessories you can use for the Go Pro. At ACE, we have some helmets that have the Go Pro clips on them, but it’s always a good idea to double check with your Trip Leader before committing to bringing your Go Pro on white water. We try to keep them stored separately for Go Pro-user convenience. Lots of serious filmers prefer to bring their own, which is fine. But make sure you have taken the time to really hold down the sticky part to your helmet for some time. Heat can also help it stick better.  Another mount frequently used is the helmet strap.  If you use this, make sure you bring some tie downs for the helmet.  They tend to get slippery when the helmet gets wet and can easily fall off. Some people also use the chest strap. If you use that make sure to sit in the front. It tends to get a better view of the rapids. Go Pro accessories are available locally at ACE Adventure Gear Shoppe.

Items Useful With The Go Pro:

  • One of my favorite items is the orange float pad you can put on the back of your Go Pro camera. This floats on the surface and keeps it for going down into the water (yes I have tried it at home).  I have seen folks loose their Go Pros on the river, so again, make sure you have everything on tight.
  • Anti-fog inserts are also a trick I’ve discovered from my many river miles. This helps keep the fog out of your camera case and it really works. I have found it definitely makes for a better view for my videos.
  • Camera-tethers are also good for another back up should the camera come loose. I can’t iterate enough, how important it is to double check everything and make sure you always have a backup strategy in place to keep things secure.

Tips That Will Help Out:

  • It’s important to get two things: an extra battery and a large memory card. I like to take a lot of video and photos, so I need that 2nd battery to make sure I can get as much as possible. I also have a flash drive card so when I have too much video on my laptop (and yes, I have a lot) I have a place to store it.
  • Prep yourself and make sure you are ready to use your Go Pro. Read the instructions so you know how to work it before going on white water. I can’t stress this one enough. You don’t want rafting to be the first time you use your Go Pro. I know I have taken pictures instead of video in my time, and it can be frustrating.

Hopefully this helps those who will be shooting some white water with a Go Pro Camera on their next rafting trip. I only covered the basics, but they are a good foundation to build on. Now, go out there and make you and your friends famous! Here’s my latest video from Pillow Rapid on the Upper Gauley River, WV:

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