Jem Goes Pro in Baja

J Dogg's Ramblings

(in perfect Punta San Carlos)

Whilst roving the Globe, Boardseeker’s Technique Editor Jem Hall has recently been getting to grips with a Go Pro HD camera and mast mount, so we have taken the chance to have a catch up with him and enjoy his first movie from this angle. 

Happy Christmas Jem! Tell us, what have you just been up to? 

Thanks Guys, I am just back from Brazil and my last coaching clinic of a very busy year that has taken me to all my main coaching spots of Egypt, Morocco, Rhodes, Baja, Mauritius and Ireland and am keen to get my feet up, catch up with my family and friends whilst enjoying the seasons festivities. 

Thanks for sharing your first Go Pro movie with us, where did you film it? 

Firstly, I’d like to thank Nick Coleman for lending it to me and doing all the techy bits (err – like ensuring its turned on this time) and Clive ‘El Toro’ Boden for editing the ‘Duracell Jem’ footage as he calls it. It was filmed in Punta San Carlos (PSC), Baja, Mexico on my training week and clinic there where I take groups of clients and fully enhance their water-person skills and turn them into down-the-line wave-riding warriors.

PSC is a unique place with a side of prevailing wind, super clean peeling waves and a variety of different breaks all serviced by the luxury camping on offer from Solosports. The break is mainly riding focused, but with the smaller swell of this day we were having some great times on the outside ‘bombie,’ which is a rock break outside the main peak and is fab for jumping and some backside smacks.  

What were the conditions like that day? 

Well normally I am on a 5.0 to 5.5 in PSC but we were in a cycle of a few days of full power wind so I was on a 4.5 and RRD cult quad 83. The ‘bombie’ outside was throwing up some good peaks for jumping on the way out and backside hits on the way in, and if you got your timing right you could get in some front-side too. The wave here peels and curls in to the island and so it is side-onshore on the wave, however, inside this peak and on the main break it is side-off on the wave. You get to see your ramp from a long way away and the water is super smooth right up to it so that makes it really fun for jumping and I was very excited, to say the least, about capturing some good footage and putting on a good show for my clients who had been working very hard on their targets and hitting it hard. 

It was your first time using a GoPro? How did the mast mount and GoPro unit feel on the rig, and where do you put it? 

The mast mount I used is windsurf specific, designed by Dave White, and made by F-Hot. With this one, you just slide it down to around the 3rd batten and then tighten up the screws, it rotates with the rig so it gives you a wide angle view of both tacks of your sailing – bonus. You do notice it slightly when carrying it and launching and landing, but after a few metres of sailing you can’t really feel it as it is so high up, and also because you are excited about stepping it up and getting some good footage. 

What tips would you give on using the Go Pro and the footage you should aim to get? 

My simple tips would be:

  • Read and follow the instructions.
  • Have a few trial runs and try and look at the footage after these to get feedback on the angles you are filming at
  • Turn the damn thing on – doh, I have performed a whole session before, come in and been informed that the unit was not on, snapped. 
  • There are some great fluids like RAINEX for keeping water off the lens and fog out of the unit so research and get some of these.
  • Interact with it (if you are looking to make a movie), from turning it on, carrying your kit, launching and sailing. Get excited and look up at the lens after you have done a good move, I find people do not congratulate themselves enough and feel ‘stoke’ – be good to yourself, windsurfing is hard enough so go easy on yourself. 
  • Gybes and changing angles / surroundings looks great. Eg, in backside wave riding the rig is moving up and down in 2 planes and your position on the wave changes too. 
  • Jumps and all one handed moves look great as your hands are in shot the whole time (perfect for self – coaching). 
    Duck gybes and 360s also work very well (I will be covering these in future technique articles). 
  • Surprisingly, it is hard to always differentiate immediately between a back and forward loop on the footage you get. 

How do you rate the Go pro as a coaching / self-coaching tool? 

I think it is very effective and for a few reasons. 

The first is because you focus on sailing better, as you are aware that Big-Bro Pro is watching you, and so you will inevitably raise your game. As you can imagine, the footage shows exactly where your hands are, and where you are looking all the time, and with no excuses. It can get a bit glary with my bald head, and I must get some sponsors on my bonce for next time… 

It is important to note though, that first you must know what you are looking to see on the screen. For example, in the gybe you should have cognition of where you should be looking, and where your hands should be positioned on the boom.

As I said, the mast mount gives you both tacks of your sailing so you can see both sides of your moves, or jumps and riding in a wave arena. The wide-angle lens gives you some perspective of your position in relation the arc of your turn or proximity to the wave. 

Lastly, if you edit the footage and document it then you get a comparison of your sailing over time and it helps you asses how your targets are being met, or not, and furthermore gets you to identify what to do to actually move forward. This edited footage can also be seen by a nice friendly coach like me, and can advise on the positives to take from it, and your opportunities to improve. 

Thanks Jem, what is next for you? 

I am off to Cape town in January for some testing and training with Skyeboy and the RRD R&D team, and then I will be back home selling and promoting my clinics for next year, as well as advising customers and shops on the RRD and Ezzy goodness that I use and Love. 

Focus, believe and enjoy.

Jem is sponsored by RRD boards / EZZY Sails / Flying Objects / Big Salty Weather / Pro Sport Sunblock. His hugely popular technique pieces will be available on both Boards and Boardseeker in the New Year. 



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