Some kayaking action for the new year

Kicking off the new year with a new clip! and one where I am in front of the lens rather than behind. This footage has been sleeping on my hard drives for a while now. Every now and then I would open the project, tweak something here and there, play with the framerate, try to pick the right soundtrack for it. Well here it is, finally; it represents one of the things that I like best in kayaking – surfing a tall static wave that is located near downtown Lyon, in France, with my super-fast-super-sleek composite Element from Fluid Kayaks. What a blast! here’s what I wrote about this session and this boat:

This kind of waterlevels on this wave happens quite rarely – 3 to 4 times a year only I’d say, and you have to be around when it’s there because it never lasts too long. I cannot think of another boat I’d like to be in when it comes to this kind of conditions. On this glassy wave the Element surfs, carves, spins, airblunts where most freestyle kayaks on the market couldn’t even front surf. It’s just another world. This was only my second session on this wave and in that boat. More time and more sessions like this one would open new doors and new combinations of moves and speed. For the past years the emphasis in kayak designs has been on slow boats that could bounce high. We’re now seeing the limit of this as we’re hitting the roof of physics. Time to explore other dimensions.

Big thanks to Mickael Flacher for the footage. The whole clip was shot using my semi-retired, trusted sony Z7 and its super slow motion function which films at 120 frames per second (at the price of a loss in quality and resolution however – but still a nice feature at the time). The shallow depth of field that is noticeable on certain shots is obtained with the stock lens and a very handy iris ring on the Z7 that puts the camera in a sort of “Aperture priority” mode. A very nice feature that I wish was implemented on more recent camcorders as well because it’s so handy to use in those run and gun situations, where you want that certain type of shot yet remain in auto exposure. The HDV codec of the Z7 may be outdated by today’s standard (especially when I compare the picture quality to my FS700) but the footage is still very enjoyable I believe – it’s not all about pixels and bitrate after all.

Yet I wouldn’t mind shooting some of that cool stuff on the FS700 now! Let’s hope 2013 will bring plenty of flood levels and big waves – among other things.