There are few companies that really stem from the sport of windsurfing, other than the obvious; boards, sails and rigging parts brands. So when one begins to flourish it shows that despite heavy criticism there certainly still is a large following of windsurfers world wide. Action sports are at their all time high, and it is without any shadow of a doubt that to stand out from the crowd will take something special. Big moves, big names and big video productions are all a part of it, but someone has to be there to capture the action. This is where Flymount provides. We caught up with Flymount’s founder and put together a tale of where it all began and where it is going…
I’ve been windsurfing since I was a kid in the eighties, when my bedroom wall used to be covered in Darrell Wong photos cut out of the magazines. The images showed a very different side to the sport I knew, which was always done on gravel pits around Nottinghamshire.
|Mark Angulo using an early Flymount with a Pentax compact.||Testing a Flymount on a microlight|
Living in the East Midlands meant I had to travel quite a distance to get any decent windsurfing conditions, and in my late twenties I decided I wanted to see a bit more of the world and spend more time windsurfing, so I packed in work and headed south, in an old Ford Capri with a board and a couple of sails.
About a month after leaving the UK, I completely ran out of money and found myself down and out, living on a campsite in Tarifa, with no way of paying the campsite bill, or feeding myself. Luckily, someone I’d met lined me up with some work just as things were getting really desperate, and everything turned around. I was able to rent a small place in the old town, and things just got better and better.
|Fede La Croce||John Skye (photo Darrell Wong)|
I spent some time in South Africa and New Zealand, but kept going back to Tarifa. Then a spring trip to Morocco was cut short after trashing all my kit, and I ended up meeting my wife.
We set up home together in a small village up the coast, and it was there, half way between Tarifa and Cadiz, that we started Flymount. We made the first mounts from things that were available in the local hardware shop, and tested them from the beach at the end of the road. It was great.
|Trying out early prototypes near Zahara, Spain.||BMX testing|
The concept started after buying one of the early digital waterproof compacts made by Pentax. I spent a lot of time in the nineties trying to get mast mount shots out of disposable cameras, so I was determined to fix this new camera to my mast and get some footage. The problem was, I didn’t want to cut a hole in my mast sleeve, and didn’t want a heavy metal mount at the end of my mast. So I used Gaffa tape!
|First ever Flymount||Tarifa|
The results were pretty amazing considering the setup, and it started to get quite a bit of interest from other sailors on the beach - one guy was so desperate to film himself that he kept offering me ridiculous amounts of money for the camera, which he could have easily bought in one of the local hypermarkets.
Those first mounts were very different to the Flymounts people buy now, but they worked, and we were able to hone the concept into what it is today. We wanted to make a product that would allow any compact camera to be fixed to a windsurf rig, and other action sports equipment, without it affecting performance.
|Fede La Croce||Me in Carro, France, with a prototype of the current design.|
The POV market wasn’t really there at that point, and we were still developing our mounts around the waterproof compacts made by Pentax and Olympus.
Then a friend of ours told us about some waterproof cameras he had just bought for his shop, made by a company called GoPro. He was convinced that this new camera would make our product obsolete. Luckily for us it had the opposite effect.
|Using one of the first full production Flymounts and a mainstream waterproof compact.||Flymount as it is today, with a prototype of our GoPro Adapter.|
The current POV cameras are unbelievably good, and it’s now the fastest growing sector of the camera market by a mile. The mounts that come with these cameras are sometimes a bit of a compromise, and that’s where we come in! We still make the world’s only dedicated POV mount for any camera, and it’s such a great product. It’s strong, it’s light, it’s compact, and it doesn’t damage your kit.
We moved to France after Spain, and now run Flymount from here with an office in the UK too. The UK office is run by my dad, Chris, who joined the company a few years ago, bringing his expertise and knowledge as a pro photographer.
|A design that we were working on, but never put into production.||Yann Rifflet|
Our largest market is still windsurfing by a long shot, which is great, because that’s why we started Flymount in the first place, and it’s a nice industry to be involved with.
A lot of the big names in the sport use Flymounts now, and a lot of pro photographers do too. Darrell Wong bought a couple of the first production Flymounts from us, and it’s a massive honour to see him using them.
|Ben Proffitt||Andy King|
There are now 69 Flymount dealers around the world, and the list keeps growing.
We also have a completely new product due for release late summer, which is like nothing else on the market, and will open the possibilities of POV photography to an even wider market.