Wed - September 26, 2007

How to Mount a Camera on a Kayak Deck with Suction Cups from Sticky Pod

I have been using different approaches to mount my camera or camcorder on a boat deck: mini tripods, clam pods, and mounts improvised with a foam, bungee, and duck tape. For last two years, I have almost entirely used a suction cup mount from Sticky Pod Camera Mounts. I have created several variations of mounts using these suction cups. Here it is a short review of my collection.

You may be also interested in my review of the sticky pod written a few months ago and the follow up post.

1. Single suction cup + knuckle.
suction cup camera mount pentax optio w10 waterproof camera suction cup camera mount
This is my basic setup, compact and easy to carry. It is suitable for a small camera like my Pentax Optio W10. I don't recommend to use it with any extension on a kayak deck. It may work with extensions only on a not moving surface with a self timer.

The simple knuckle does not provide a lot adjustment movements. It your camera does not have a centered tripod mount it is a little tricky to keep a symmetrical view of a kayak int the picture frame. Flipping the camera from looking forward to backward view would require remounting the suction cup if you want to have everything centered. It is one of the reason why I am often shooting asymmetrical views of my kayak. I suppose it wouldn't be too difficult to create some sort of adapter for the tripod mount to keep the camera centered over the knuckle.

Most of my recent video clips were shot with this setup, e.g., Sisson kayak in the Glenwood Canyon or Thunderbolt on Horsetooth and on North Platte River.

2. Single suction cup + 2 knuckles .
suction cup camera mount suction cup camera mount
I added a second knuckle (Giottos mini ball to my basic setup. It provides much more flexibility in adjusting the camera and allows me to mount the camera on a side of the deeply flared Thunderbolt bow.

It is a little less stable than the setup #1. The movie from chasing a sailboat on the Boyd Lake is still acceptable though it is a little bit shaky when paddling through small waves. The camera was mounted just in the front of the Thunderbolt cockpit.

3. 2 or 3 suction cups + extension + 2 knuckles .
my sticky pod my sticky pod my sticky pod
I used some narrow leftover scraps of carbon/kevlar material to connect two or three suction cups together. The idea was to built a stronger mount for use in waves and rapids.

It is not so stable as the original "my pod" with an aluminum base. It would be more stable if I use aluminum bars to connect suction cups as in my two cup GPS mount. However, it is easier to carry and easier to adjust to a shape of kayak deck.

I used this setup with a short extension and two knuckles in the middle of the Thunderbolt front deck to shoot pictures during the Colorado River race in Glenwood Canyon. However, when mounted on the Thunderbolt bow the camera was getting wobbly and not all pictures from my shooting during the 5 mile time trial on the Beaver Pond came sharp. I suppose I really didn't need that extension when shooting from the kayak bow.

4. "My sticky pod" - 3 suction cups on aluminum plate + any accessories .
my sticky pod my sticky pod
The original "my sticky pod" with an aluminum base and three suction cups. It comes with a single knuckle and a short extension. You can disassemble it to create simpler mounts.

This setup is very stable even with a longer extension. I used it in my towing and paddling video clip. I am going to experiment with a Gitzo monopod as a camera mast mounted with this setup.

I am also using sticky pod suction cups for mounting GPS devices on my kayaks. I will review three different GPS mounts from my collection in one of the incoming posts.

I highly recommend the sticky pod camera mounts and you are welcome to order them through my afiliate links. However, there are other similar mounting solutions. ChaseCam is offering a mount based on three smaller plastic suction cups. You can find a nice single cup mount from Cullman. I believe that Peter Unold is using one. There are also much more expensive suction cup mounts oriented for professional photographers.

Please share your experiences if you are using the sticky pod or another similar mounting system for paddling photography and video.

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