Let me first start by saying this is NOT a paid advertorial. It’s important to state this upfront because when it comes to featuring travel products, people wonder.

Anyway, after going on a waterfall trek with my friends Joey and Tarquin last weekend, we’ve been talking about investing in a GoPro camera. The good thing about a GoPro – I’m told – is that you attach it to you, like on a helmet or wrist, so that both your hands are free to climb or engage in whatever extreme sports you’re crazy enough to attempt.

Check out the shots you can get from a GoPro camera:

I guess with adventure travel or extreme sports, you really don’t want to be handling a fragile Lumix LX7 camera while you’re scrambling up a vertical cliff, skydiving, skiing or surfing!

My previous Lumix LX5 was badly battered and bruised when I returned from my RTW trip in 2011. And for this recent jungle trek to Pelepah falls, I ended up leaving my camera on the bus and keeping my iPhone in a Ziploc bag in my camel pack.

I checked out the GoPro HERO 3 cameras online, and they do look solid. But what’s holding me back is: Where do you attach the camera? I do not intend to wear a helmet when I travel. Plus, it’s an actual camera. Do I really want to carry another camera, charger, and wires etc., in addition to my Lumix LX7 and iPhone?

GoPro HERO 3, white edition

GoPro HERO 3, white edition

Having said that, it’s quite affordable for a hardy kickass camera. This HERO 3 white edition (above) goes for US$199. The silver edition for US$299, and the black edition for US$399! That’s excluding shipping, but I reckon I can find a store here that sells these cameras.

Additional accessories include a wrist housing or a skeleton housing (for waterproofing), which adds on to the cost.

GoPro HERO 3 Wrist Housing

GoPro HERO 3 Wrist Housing

GoPro HERO 3 Skeleton Housing

GoPro HERO 3 Skeleton Housing

Because I seldom travel just for adventure or extreme sports, the thought of having to pack this extra camera isn’t too appealing. I like to travel light.

Judging from the footage in the YouTube link above, I see the GoPro more as a hands-free video recorder than an actual camera. I mean, how do you activate snap shots, right? I reckon you just start the recording and go!

And since I’m more a travel writer than a travel photographer or videographer, I’m not particularly thrilled about having to sift through loads of video footage and doing post-production work. Except maybe when I went skydiving in North Shore, Hawaii, in 2011. I had to hire a videographer to jump off the plane with me at 10,000ft and he cost more than my jump!

A GoPro would have been perfect then!

So with these questions and considerations dancing in my head, it was no wonder I sat up and paid attention when I came across this awesome photo by my Instagram friend Jus aka @ahh_lose_money this morning.

Jus is a surfer dude from Oahu, Hawaii, and I’ve been following his Instagram feed for a while. This latest picture totally grabbed me:

watershot

I asked him how he managed to take such an amazing shot while surfing, and he surprised me with his reply. “With my iPhone 5 in a waterproof housing,” he said.

With an iPhone?!

“But when you’re out in the ocean surfing, with waves 10ft high, how do you even keep an iPhone secure in your hand?” I asked.

“I’ve definitely had it ripped out of my hand a few times!” Jus said, but explained that the housing has a pretty good grip (sold as accessories). “And there’s also a lanyard that goes around your wrist.”

My Hawaiian surfer friend gave me a link to the Watershot housing website, and I wasted no time in checking it out, zooming in on Underwater Housing for iPhones.

Watershot Underwater Housing for iPhones!

I still own an iPhone 4S, and a waterproof housing like this would set me back US$99.99. For iPhone 5, the same housing costs US$109.99. Of course, I’m not considering the PRO version. But if you are, it would cost you US$189.99 (*See below for specs)

I have friends who use waterproof cases for their iPhones and iPads, and I was wondering if there’s a difference between cases and housing. According to Watershot, “cases cover; housings protect”.

For the benefit of tech geeks, here’s a bit more info:

  • Watershot is built to live in the water and withstand rocks, reefs, salt, sand and extreme pressure.
  • Full suspension system “floats” your iPhone inside the housing for maximum protection.
  • Waterproof performance to 40 m / 130 ft deep
  • Watershot PRO depth rating 60 m / 195 ft deep

This tells me one thing: I can take my iPhone snorkelling and scuba diving!

Screen Shot 2013-08-10 at 1.28.40 PM

And wait.. caving and waterfall trekking too!

Screen Shot 2013-08-10 at 1.27.50 PM

Other than the waterproof housing for your iPhone, you can add on special accessories like grips (in 5 different colours, for US$19.99) and a lanyard to secure your phone to your wrist (US$15.99)…

grips_1

iphone-housing-buoyant

… so that even if you’re surfing in Hawaii and being bashed by rip curls, you’ll still be able to take those awesome shots like Jus!

I’m still in the process of researching on these two options, but as it stands, I’m leaning towards the Watershot housing. The only thing is that I reckon I should get my iPhone 5 before I invest in one.

Well, if you already use the GoPro camera and/or Watershot housing, do share your reviews with me. I’d like to hear them!

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