Soloshot 3 Review & Tips & Tricks + Surf Training Benefits

Soloshot 3 Surfing Robot Video Camera

Surfing is one of the sports with the longest learning curves – for real!  I’ve been surfing for about 10 years now and I still have MUCH room for improvement.  It would help if I could surf more, but I’m constrained to weekend warrior status (except for the summers, because I just can’t do mornings).

I’ve taken a few individual and group lessons, have watched countless surfing tips videos, etc. and I know what I should be doing out there in the lineup.  However, there’s a difference between knowing what you need to do and actually doing it.  I’ve ready that sometimes you need to visualize yourself doing something to help you learn how to do it better.

I’ve definitely tried this tactic with using the GoPro cameras and even more recently the 360 Fly 360 degree action camera, however it’s still hard to evaluate all that you need to do to catch and ride a wave from such a close up shot.

Enter the Soloshot 3!

This video camera (& the earlier versions of Soloshot and Soloshot 2) has been on my radar for a long time as it was one of the first robotic devices that would allow your camera, and now the camera it comes with, to automatically film you surfing from the shore without needing a photographer/videographer.

Although it can film a wide range of action activities, it was developed by surfers with the original intention of filming surfers. I’ve had myself filmed before surfing but family members won’t always catch everything if they set their camera down just as I catch a massive wave (white washer – ha) and therefore it’s always helpful to have a camera that just follows you on autopilot, through all sets when it can be really flat and boring!

I’m typically an early adopter as I bought the GoPro, RipCurl Search GPS watch, and 360 Fly cameras when they first came out, but the Soloshot was a pricier item and you had to buy a camera to go along with.  The Soloshot 3 simplified all of this and offers the robotic base along with the camera and is much easier to use in setting up and calibrating, so I’m actually glad I waited around to buy this one!

So here are some of my tips/tricks on using the Soloshot 3 and a video of my first successful mission filming with it, along with a self critique and WSL type contest commentary of my surf session!  It’s always fun to share the surfing stoke with others, so if you are a surfer in the San Diego area and want to share a Soloshot 3 session, send us an e-mail and if you’re going out on a sunny weekend afternoon, we’ll be sure to try and meet up with ya!

 Tips & Tricks with in setting up and using the Soloshot 3

  • Follow the steps on the instruction guide, it is pretty straightforward and easy to follow, I just had a few issues based on my own actions which I listed below, for anyone that’s reading this, so they can learn from my mistakes.
  • Buy everything that is Soloshot recommended:
    • Tripod: I already had a tripod so didn’t think I would need a Soloshot tripod but my tripod didn’t have the right screw on it and in addition I lost the screw that came with the Soloshot 3, so that was one setback in initially getting mine used faster.
    • Memory cards: Just buy the SD MICROCHIP that they recommend here, (not regular SD cards) as that was another delay in me getting mine up and running
    • K-Lock (allows the base to be locked to the camera for theft prevention): I thought I could find one cheaper and I did, but when it got delivered to me I realized the cord was too thick to fit through the opening on the camera
  • Get a non-coiled type of bike lock to secure the Soloshot tripod to a nearby pole, etc. for theft prevention

Below is a picture of how I finally figured out how I could easily lock the Soloshot tripod to a nearby object.  I was initially confused as to how this could be done since wrapping something around the legs of the tripod wouldn’t be effective if someone simply slides the cable down and out of the bottom of the tripod legs.

Soloshot 3 anti-theft device
The little loop on the bike lock can simply be inserted over the top of the tripod and then put around a pole of sorts and the other side looped also looped back onto the tripod. Then when you lock the base and camera to the tripod, the loop cannot go over them, as the loop is too small.
  • Testing it out – testing the camera calibration: As the directions say, make sure you are in a completely open area with no tall cliffs or parking garages. I initially tested out the calibration in the middle of a parking lot which I thought shouldn’t be a problem.  However the parking lot did have a two story garage right behind it close by which is what initially made that test fail.  I took it too a wide open beach break after just to test and it calibrated perfectly.  The first time I successfully used the Soloshot 3, the initial part of my surfing sesh was a bit cut off because when I tested out the calibration I wasn’t walking further enough to the right and so I think that’s why I was cut out of the footage at the beginning of the below clip.

First successful mission surfing with the Soloshot 3

As I mentioned above, sometimes it’s best to visualize yourself doing something to learn how to do it better, I think it’s especially true with surfing. The Soloshot 3 is key for really analyzing where you are in the lineup and in relation to the wave and the timing and position you have on the wave in trying to catch it.

So many of the surf videos out there always cut that part out of the surf videos, as it may not be as interesting and entertaining to watch, but paddling and catching a wave and popping up, is one of the hardest things (at least for me) in surfing and it deserves more attention.

That’s another reason why I love watching the World Surf League events, as you watch all aspects of surfing, not just the money shots!  You also learn about surfing from watching the WSL events and information the commentators might say about the given surf break and conditions and key things surfers are doing right or wrong on the waves.

That’s why I tried to take a stab at commentating on my own surf session filmed with the Soloshot 3.  I always thought that you could be a surf instructor and just say, do as I say, not as I do – ha.

So here it is, my first successful mission with the Soloshot 3 + my surf analysis/commentary.  It was a super small ankle biter day, but a beautiful, warm and sunny one as well, so the perfect conditions for me to test the Soloshot 3 out!  I hope you enjoy and maybe even learn something from it!

I think the Soloshot 3, will especially be helpful for surf teachers and surf instructors, as it’s a very valuable tool to have at your disposal and you won’t need to hire an additional photographer and can charge more for surf lessons because you also include a surf analysis of their surf session!

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Surf Tech, Surf Training/Lessons

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