Surf camera leash?
July 17, 2006 12:13 PM   Subscribe

Point and shoot surf photography: how do I hold onto my gear and swim in rough water?

I own a Canon point and shoot camera and this nifty underwater case. I want to take it out at the shore and shoot some wave action, but have two concerns:

1. How do I securely fasten it to my body? It has a wriststrap and a neckstrap, but I worry they are too lightweight, or that the plastic loop they pass through on the case's housing will snap off if I get slammed by a wave.

2. If I have it strapped to my wrist, like this Amazon reviewer / surf photographer recommends, how can I swim? I will definitely have fins on, but there are times when I need my arms too. I've used the camera in still water (no fins) and swimming was tough.

I was imagining some sort of utility belt or chest pack made of webbing. Does anyone know how professional surf photographers hang on to their cameras?
posted by cgs to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total)
Does anyone know how professional surf photographers hang on to their cameras?

I've seen pictures of them having cameras attached to their wrists via a heavy strap. But these photographers were on waveriders anyway.
posted by mrmojoflying at 12:20 PM on July 17, 2006

A small secure backpack?
posted by edgeways at 1:25 PM on July 17, 2006

It's unclear from the question whether you'll be surfing at the same time you're shooting, but if you own a buoyancy compensator (BC) for scuba, that could solve your problems.

When diving, I clip my camera to my BC, so it stays securely fastened no matter what. If you're just going to be shooting and not really surfing, you could wear a BC and clip your camera to it. Not only wouldn't the BC impede your swimming, it would actually help -- you could inflate the BC and save yourself the effort of treading water.

Not being a surfer myself, I don't know if this would work if you actually plan on riding waves. The BC might make it a bit awkward. But if you just plan on paddling out to take photos, this would definitely be an option.
posted by jeffmshaw at 1:37 PM on July 17, 2006

Response by poster: i'm going to be swimming in the surf: no board...just me, fins and camera.
posted by cgs at 2:20 PM on July 17, 2006

Then I highly recommend a BC or even a life vest, which would be less expensive. Many will have the capability to clip your camera to the front of it, which (in my view) is better than a wrist strap -- it's more secure, leaves your hands free for swimming, and keeps the camera in front of you. Plus, you get the added flotation benefits.
posted by jeffmshaw at 2:58 PM on July 17, 2006

Response by poster: thanks, jeffmshaw.... i like the vest idea, but minus the buoyancy. i need to be able to get under a crashing wave...a life vest would keep me on the surface. but the clipping aspect sounds good...
posted by cgs at 3:13 PM on July 17, 2006

Another second on a BC or PFD [life vest.] Bonus if you can tuck the camera inside, so you can swim hard without the camera slapping you in the face.
posted by ijoshua at 4:24 PM on July 17, 2006

You need something like a simple nylon belt so that you can tether the cam to your waist while swimming. I can imagine using something like a marine caribiner(sp) as opposed to the plastic snap buckles. Actually check out a boating/yachting supply store and you'll find hundreds of things to use. You're right, bouyancy won't be cool with what your doing, duck-diving and whatnot.

I just googled Aaron Chang and came up with zip. No wonder your looking here. Can't wait to see the pics!
posted by snsranch at 5:06 PM on July 17, 2006

The cool thing about a BC is that you can deflate the thing, so it won't keep you on the surface. Maybe try a local dive shop to see if one fits your needs? Best of luck!
posted by jeffmshaw at 6:58 PM on July 17, 2006

OpTech makes a cool chest strap which might work for you. It's made of neoprene which will work for shooting in the water. Although it is designed for something like an SLR, it may work for your camera.
posted by JJ86 at 6:22 AM on July 18, 2006

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