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POV Cameras Possible Danger?

I am a huge GoPro user, I have owned most types and always have a couple with my kayaking kit. Being able to bring tech into my paddling offers me the perfect combination of the kind of things I am into. I also spend a great deal of time watching home grown kayak movies on Vimeo and Youtube, many of which appear here on the site so I have a pretty good feel of what is possible and the impact that POV cameras have had on the sport.

DCIM100GOPRO

Society is probably more media driven than it ever has been before and even the small section of society who kayak have been part of and are impacted upon by the rise of social media. Being able to view user driven and user published media where the end viewer has ultimately also become the media maker/publisher has many merits and has helped bring the sport to more people than it ever has done in the past.

Overall the big thing that stands out when on a river and I meet another group is the fact that at least one paddler will be wearing and filming with a GoPro. The technology is so user friendly and accessible that most groups of paddlers have at least one member who films and then pieces the footage together for viewing.

On the professional side of things the use of POV cameras has allowed paddlers to raise their profile into the mainstream and this allows them to make a living from their exploits running large waterfalls and big whitewater. Overall this is fantastic for the sport but brings along a number of inbuilt dangers.

DCIM101GOPRO

Most if not all POV cameras including the GoPro flatten out the image so you lose some of the depth of the action. Holes, waves and drops are often flattened and as a result look smaller. Now given this, many of the local runs I know well look easier on video than they are in real life. Extrapolate this to the big water being taken on by the big names and you may have a situation where more boaters than ever might say “I could run that”! Is this the case? May be it is to some extent. Are more paddlers running water that is beyond their ability or expertise? I would say that this is highly likely.

What are your thoughts on this? Comment below.

2 Comments

  1. Sarah

    You learn this lesson very quickly after watching the massive drops, huge waves and enormous holes at the pub after a paddle and wondering if you imagined it all!

  2. Steven Gibbs

    I would completely agree. As well as being a kayaker I’m also a Police Officer and member of a very busy Mountain Rescue team in the UK. In both roles I have been involved in rescues of kayakers who have gone to do a river that was way above their abilities. In one case the leader of the group had memorised the lines from a GoPro video posted online and the run looked doable in his words. The reality was the river was too difficult even with the same water levels.

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