As we head to the lake and take part in various water activities, we want a camera to capture all of the moments. With so many options out there, it is difficult to find which is the best camera for wakesurfing? Are you going to spend too much and go overboard with features you’ll never need? Or perhaps too little and the camera under performs and lacks the results you are looking for. We’ve taken the guess work out and found cameras will capture the full shot – from the expression on your riders face when they nail their first 360 to every droplet of water splashing when they face plant in a failed attempt. Here is our list of which is the best camera for wakesurfing.
Advice From the Pros
Just in case you were looking for a more professional level setup, we reached out to professional photographer, Pete LaGregor, to get his thoughts on a great camera for shooting wakesurfing and here’s what he had to say…
“You really can’t go wrong with the GoPro Hero 8, so I really like that pick for most people. However, if you are looking for more professional level still images or cinematic video, then you’ll need something with a little more quality and shot control.
First off, don’t go shooting out on the lake without a polarizing filter on the front of your lens. It cuts down on the glare off the water and gives you higher quality images and more vibrant colors. If you want to learn more about filters, check out my guide to the best lens filters.
For still action shots, the two most important factors are shutter speed and continuous shooting (a.k.a. “burst mode”).
Shutter speed is how fast the shutter opens and closes when you take a shot. In order to freeze fast action like wakesurfing, you need to shoot at a fast shutter speed such as 1/1000 of a second or faster. You can also try slowing it down to about 1/100 or 1/250 of a second if you want to create some motion blur on purpose for a more creative look. But having the ability to change that yourself is important in choosing a camera.
Burst shooting is how many and how fast your camera can take multiple shots with a single press of the shutter button. This is usually measured in frames per second. Some of the top cameras today can reach bursts of 20 frames per second or more. This allows you to fire off a burst as someone hits a jump or something else so you can be certain you capture that perfect moment.
So with all this in mind, a great option for aspiring sports photographers that want to shoot their friend’s epic wakesurf moves is the Sony a6600.
It can shoot at shutter speeds as high as 1/4000 of a second and continuous mode will give you 11 frames per second.
In addition to that, it has one of the best autofocus systems out there as well as being small and compact compared to larger DSLr cameras.
It is an interchangeable lens camera which means the sky’s the limit as far as upgrading your lens to get the perfect shot. Sony has a great selection of high quality zoom lenses and other manufacturers like Tamron and Sigma make amazing lenses for less money.
In addition to still shots, the Sony a6600 is the camera of choice for on the go videographers. So if you are looking to mix video in with your action stills, this camera has you covered.”
What makes a good wakesurfing camera?
You may wonder what classifies a good camera for wakesurfing. First off, you’ll want a high definition camera that captures the small details just as well as the large ones. Next, you’ll want one that is easy to operate and made for both kids and adults. Also the camera needs to be waterproof since you are going to be on the water recording these memories. Finally, you’ll want a camera that focuses fairly quickly and efficiently as you’ll be shooting a moving rider.
Where should I mount the camera?
There are a few different places that are good for mounting cameras or GoPros. The first place being on top of the power tower. This allows you to see all of the action and gives a great angle downward toward your rider. If you end up with a GoPro, you can always attach the GoPro to the bow of the board. This allows the camera to get a great angle of the surfer as well as the wave crashing in behind them. Just make sure you have the correct camera mount, floats, and materials needed.
Are there any special lenses I should buy?
Yes, there are different lenses you should purchase in order to capture the best shots. If you are looking for lenses to attach to your phone there are multiple to choose from. Most allow you to get a clearer close up photo of your subject or a wider angle. Our favorite (which is also a favorite among other Amazon users) is the Xenvo Pro Lens Kit. It fits all iPhone models, Samsung Galaxy and Note, Google Pixel, Huawei and more. This uses a Clarus 15x Macro Lens which allows you to capture all the details of your shot with crisp macro photos every time.
Is there any additional stuff I need for a photo camera or a video camera?
Eh….there is always something more to buy. Do you need it? No, but somethings are nice to have. For example, you can use a selfie stick for with a camera. If you do try that, make sure you get a flotation device like the one pictured on the right. This will allow the camera to float on the surface otherwise your selfie stick and camera will be at the bottom of the lake if you drop it surfing.
Do I need any waterproof equipment?
Yes, you always need waterproof equipment because at some point the equipment will get wet. In case the camera or GoPro falls in the water be sure to have a type of flotation device attached like one above. Another attachment that is handy is a waterproof case. The camera or GoPro just fit inside the case. While using the case you will still have the same quality as it would be outside.
Where is the best place to shoot from?
The best places to shoot from with a photographer is a low angle to catch the height of the wave or a straight on angle. If you want to mount the camera, you can put it on top of the power tower to capture all of the action. Another place that you can mount it is on the board rack. This allows you to catch mainly the rider and the wave.
We love the GoPro Hero8. My daughter wears the “chesty” when surfing which is a harness type apparatus that shoots from her chest. It is so easy for her since it is voice activated, she simply says “GoPro record” and off she goes. It shoots awesome 4k Ultra HD video and 12MP pictures and is completely waterproof. There are so many attachments you can get for it as well which are much cheaper on Amazon.com then elsewhere we’ve seen. It has Hypersmooth 2.0 video stabilization, 8x slo mo, Time Warp 2.0, night lapse photo, live burst photos, live streaming and more. This camera is built for adventure and it is our top pick.
- Image stabilization is improved
- Automatic horizontal leveling
- Easy to access internal elements
- Improved LCD (Liquid Crystal Display)
- Camera heats up quickly
- Average battery life
- Video transfers take longer
- Smaller screen
- No front facing display (need accessories)
Xenvo Pro Lens Kit
We like the Xenvo Pro Lens Kit so much we listed it as a camera. We know it’s not, but with cell phones and their already built in cameras nowadays, its hard not to think to use them. They do give great shots, but this little attachable lens that is compatible with all iPhone models, Samsung Galaxy and Note, Google Pixel, Huawei and more is a serious add on. The Xenvo Clarus 15x macro lens takes your pictures to the next level. Its hard not to like it’s sleek design, has a .45x Wide-Angle Lense and clip on design to make it easily transportable. A solid choice if you don’t want to invest a lot but want to take your pictures up a notch.
- Wider picture angle
- Easy to operate
- Fits most cases and phones
- Low quality video
Akaso Brave 6 Plus
The Akaso Brave 6 Plus offers a lot at an affordable price. We really like the fact of the 4K/24fps, 2K/30fps and 1080P/60FPS video resolution and 20MP photos. AKASO Brave 6 action camera is great for shooting video from the boat because of its Hypersmooth Image Stabilization. Additional specs on this guy are numerous including: 2″ Touch Screen, Voice Control, 8x Zoom, Adjustable View Angle, Remote Control, Wi-Fi, Burst Photo, Self Timer, Time Lapse Video, Diving Mode, Special Effects, White Balance, Loop Recording, Driving Mode, Motion Detection, WDR, Audio Record, Micro HDMI, USB-C and more.
- Affordable Action Camera
- Better quality feel
- Accessories included
- Usable through smart phone/tablet
- Non adjustable brightness
- Low screen sensitivity
- Must use case at all times when wanting to use accessories
Olympus Tough TG-6 Waterproof Camera
The Olympus Tough TG-6 Waterproof Camera is possibly the most compact rugged camera on the market. The camera is waterproof to 50ft, shockproof from 7ft, crush proof from 100kgf, and freeze proof at 14 degree Fahrenheit / -10 degree Celsius. It comes with a hefty price tag, but this is one camera that you should get if you are looking for something for wakesurfing pictures and beyond. This is a 12MP camera that shoots great even in low light and has a maximum 8x zoom with high resolution F2.0 lens. The Olympus camera also allows for 4K and full HD 120 fps high speed movies to be recorded. This is solidly built camera that can seriously take a beating all the while giving you razor sharp pictures and video.
- Easy to use at all levels of experience
- Sensors and tracking abilities
- Close up features
- High resolution screen (LCD)
- Highly versatile camera
- Wireless capability is not good
Nikon W300 Waterproof Underwater Digital Camera with TFT LCD, 3″
Similar to the Olympus Tough TG-6 Waterproof Camera, the Nikon W300 Waterproof Underwater Digital Camera with TFT LCD, 3″ is waterproof (to 100ft), freeze proof (14 degrees F), shock proof (to 7.9′), and dustproof. It can delivery 4K Ultra HD videos, time lapse videos, super high resolution photos and even music montages. These can all be accomplished with the help of its Nikkor lens with telephoto power, 5x optical zoom and VR image stabilization. Some additional features include altimeter, depth gauge, GPS, eCompass, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.
- No external waterproof case needed
- 4k video recording
- Easy to use
- Close focus macro mode
- Manual controls not offered
- Battery life shortened
- App not up to date