So having invested in a Go Pro camera, I then turned my attention to the issue of mounting it onto sea kayaks. I’d already picked up a RAM ball-mount for the Go Pro however realised that as part of a Kayalu Gear Navbeam system that I reviewed a while back actually contained all the ingredients I needed for a versatile mounting system similar to the specific Kayalu Suction Mount and Tough Bar package.
Kayalu Gear sell a power suction mount system and a tough bar extension pole – a rigid pole with Ram mounts at each end and NClamps to attach to the suction mount at one end and the GoPro camera at the other end. The same equipment is included in the NavBeam system I have so simply removing the light provided everything I needed for the camera. The beauty of this is I only need to carry one system to cover both filming duties in the daytime and then lights for night paddling.
The suction mount is awesome and holds fast on smooth surfaces. Testing it on the bonnet of the car whilst driving proved nerve wracking but it coped perfectly at the lows speed of driving the track to the put in point for a paddle. On composite sea kayaks it holds beautifully on any flatter surface. Extreme curves on the hull will cause a problem however I was able to find multiple spots to mount on almost all the sea kayaks I tried the system on. On plastic kayaks, smooth surfaces allow the mount to grip however textured surfaces will not allow the seal required for the suction mount to function.
The tough bar combined with the NClamps allows for a great variety of different shooting positions and angles and is available in 8.5″, 10.5″ and 14.5″ lengths. With an NClamp at each end it is possible to have the camera set high, low, out to the side or at a wide variety of angles. There is very little movement through vibration in the tough bar when the NClamps are tightened correctly – a common issue with other extension bars. Even rolling with the camera extended on the tough bar provided footage with little movement.
However, there is always a chance that something could dislodge the system from the kayak so a retaining cord with stainless clip is clamped securely through the suction mount end of the system. The bungee cord used allows for some stretch with this ensure you can reach decklines or secure spots on the deck.
In terms of durability, all the Kayalu gear I have used and abused over the last 2-3 years has remained in perfect working order and stood up to all year round paddling in a wide range of conditions.
It seems my initial, positive impression of Kayalu Gear system is one echoed by a large number of of sea kayakers – take a look at the ‘buzz page’ of the kayalu website to see snippets and links to a wide range of reviews of the system. You can also see some of my initial footage in the P&H Hammer video I posted recently.
Images of Kayalu Gear Suction Mount System
www.kayalu.com – Kayalu Gear Website and online store.