Using the best GoPro for surfing is one of the most satisfying ways to capture videos and pictures while surfing. This way, you can relive those beautiful moments, assess your development, and share them with fans and friends.
There are several GoPro cameras on the market, all flaunting their tempting capabilities and price tag. If you have no idea of what to look for, you might get carried away or become confused.
In this article, I have selected the 6 best GoPro for surfing available and comprehensively reviewed them for you. I have also included a simple buying guide on how to choose a suitable choice for your needs. Let’s proceed.
Table of Contents
- My Top Picks
- Comparison Table
- The 6 Best GoPro for Surfing Reviews
- How to Choose the Right GoPro for Surfing?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- WindSurfingMag Overview
My Top Picks
Take satisfying surfing videos and photos with a GoPro. Do you need options on which GoPro to buy? Below are some of the best GoPro for surfing in 2021.
- Best Overall: GoPro HERO9 Black
“23.6MP sensor, front color display, large rear screen, top-notch picture quality, removable lens cover, shoot 5k videos.”
- Best Budget: GoPro HERO7 Silver
“Great value for money, 10MP photos, rugged construction, 2-inch touch display, easy to use, 33ft water depth.”
- Best for Kitesurfing: GoPro HERO8 Black
“Removable battery, decent battery life, useful image stabilization, high picture quality, live streaming at 1080p, comes with mods.”
- Best Value for the Money: GoPro HERO7 Black
“Easy to use, impressive image stabilization, captures 4k, live streaming, incredible audio quality, easy to connect with smartphones.”
- Best for a 360 Camera: GoPro MAX
“Horizon leveling, excellent audio capture, user-friendly, useful mobile app, take 360 videos and photos.”
By settling for the best GoPro for surfing that suits your needs, you must be content with some features. Therefore, it is ideal to take your time when deciding what option to buy. Below is a table containing the 6 reviewed GoPro for surfing and some important attributes.
|GoPro Cameras||Dimensions (inches)||Weight (oz.)||Waterproof Depth (ft.)|
|GoPro HERO9 Black - Best Overall|
|9.08 x 5.42 x 3.25||5.6||33|
|GoPro HERO7 Silver - Best Budget||1.75 x 2.44 x 1.1||4.2||33|
|GoPro HERO8 Black - Best for Kitesurfing||1.14 x 1.89 x 2.6||4.4||33|
|GoPro HERO7 Black - Best Value for the Money||1.75 x 2.44 x 1.26||4.2||33|
|GoPro MAX - Best for a 360 Camera||2.52 x 0.98 x 2.72||5.4||16|
|GoPro Fusion||1.61 x 2.6 x 2.87||8||16|
The 6 Best GoPro for Surfing Reviews
Without enough knowledge about a tech gadget, your decision-making is more likely to be flawed. This scenario applies to the surf camera, especially when you want the best GoPro for surfing.
I have collated the six best GoPro for surfing, but you need to understand every aspect of each reviewed model. There are several features embedded in each model that you should know as well as their pros and cons.
GoPro HERO9 Black
(Best Overall – Editor’s Choice)
The recently released GoPro HERO9 Black is apparently the best GoPro for surfing. It is a massive upgrade of the Hero8 Black. The significant features are its 1.4-inch front color display and the massive jump to a 23.6MP sensor.
This new flagship maintains the built-in mount and 33ft waterproof depth like its predecessor. However, the lens cover is removable for easy replacement and accessory support. Also, the rear touch display is larger at 2.27in diagonally.
With the new sensor, surfers can capture neat 20MP images with better image stabilization. However, the HDR process seems sluggish, and night pictures may appear less perfect. Besides the 4k resolution, the GoPro HERO9 Black can also capture 5k videos.
Aided by the Hypersmooth 3.0 and Timewarp, videos appear incredibly smooth even while surfing. It can capture 4K 60fps, 5K 30fps, and 1080p 240fps videos in many different modes. The mics also offer impressive noise reduction.
The HERO9 Black is bulkier, and its accessories, including its battery, cannot fit older models. The left door houses the bigger replaceable 1720mAh battery, USB-C, and SD card. It offers a simple UI, easy connectivity, and a user-friendly app.
- Captures 5k videos.
- Front-facing color display and 23.6MP sensor.
- Removable lens cover and larger rear screen.
- Simple user interface.
- Excellent image stabilization and video quality.
- Incompatibility with older model accessories.
- Touch may lag sometimes.
GoPro HERO7 Silver
The GoPro HERO7 Silver is a budget-friendly, watered-down version of the HERO7 Black. It’s got many features that make it a great surf camera. It has a reliable waterproof, rugged body with a slim chance of flooding at 33ft.
There are similarities with the HERO7 black design except for a front screen and removable lens cover. Instead of a front screen, you get a LED that tells you when it’s in operation.
The HERO7 Silver captures 10MP photos individually or in burst mode. Its Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) feature helps to maintain shadows and highlights. An intriguing feature is the 4k30-video high-detail capability. You can also record 1080p and 1440p videos.
Image stabilization is decent, but it isn’t as perfect as those with the Hypersmooth feature. Also, files take much space owing to the compression type. The camera features dual mics that reduce wind noise.
The 1220mAh battery in the GoPro HERO7 Silver is non-removable. You’re grounded once it’s dead. The camera features Wi-Fi for wireless connectivity, app usage, and remote control. Although it has a simple user interface, it may seem unresponsive sometimes.
- Supports 4k recording and 10MP photos.
- Great value for money.
- Waterproof, rugged body.
- Wireless connectivity and remote control.
- Easy to use.
- The battery and lens cover is not removable.
- May become unresponsive.
- Lacks Hypersmooth image stabilization.
GoPro HERO8 Black
(Best for Kitesurfing)
As a former flagship, the GoPro HERO8 Black can still be revered as an excellent surfing camera. It has a slimmer, stylish, streamlined design that includes built-in mounting fingers and rubberized skin for grip. Its waterproof depth is 33 feet.
There are two screens – a front-facing screen for camera status and the 2-inch primary screen. Its lens is fixed; hence, it might be difficult to replace if damaged. The HERO8 Black’s 12MP sensor is the HERO7’s but smaller than HERO9’s.
It captures fine images with its enhanced HDR. Pictures often possess great details and less blur with nice color tuning. Conversely, images appear muddled in low-light. To take videos, there are many shooting modes starting from 4k 60fps to 1080p 240fps.
For image stabilization, it features the HyperSmooth 2.0 and TimeWarp 2.0 (for time-lapse videos). It has an impressive microphone performance. It features mods that include a shotgun-style mic, 200-lumen flash, and front-facing external display for versatility.
The GoPro HERO8 Black has a simple UI, easy app integration with mobile and PC via Wi-Fi. It supports live streaming (1080p) and 256GB SD cards. The battery life is decent except in intense modes like 4k.
- Built-in fingers for mounting.
- Impressive microphone and mod attachments.
- Decent battery life.
- Many shooting modes.
- Simple UI and easy app integration with mobile and PC.
- Fixed lens.
- No mic jack or HDMI port.
GoPro HERO7 Black
(Best Value for the Money)
The GoPro HERO7 Black signaled an improved start to better action camera performance that further continued into the newer models. Considering its performance and price tag, it’s become an excellent camera with great value for money.
The HERO7 Black is almost similar to the HERO6 Black; hence, it can reuse old accessories, including special mounts. Designed to be waterproof at 33ft below water, it has a rubberized skin for grip and a removable lens cover.
It’s got a 2-inch rear screen, a front-facing status screen. It shoots 12MP photos perfectly with punchy colors in good light, especially using HDR. It features a night mode and a superphoto mode for auto-detecting smiles, faces, etc.
You can record at 4k-60fps, 120fps in resolutions up to 2.7K, and 240fps in up to 1080p. The Hypersmooth, for image stabilization, and Timewarp, for time-lapse videos, were debuted in this model. Hence, they may be less perfect than in new GoPros.
The GoPro HERO7 Black supports live streaming with better noise-reducing mic performance. It offers seamless integration with smartphones via Wi-Fi. It features a replaceable battery, HDMI port, and USB-C port. It has an updated but sometimes unresponsive user interface.
- Supports many accessories including those from its predecessors.
- Waterproof body.
- Live streaming and HDMI port.
- Seamless integration with smartphones.
- Can record 4k and 2.7k 240fps videos.
- May become unresponsive or sluggish sometimes.
- Requires a special mount.
(Best for a 360 Camera)
For options on a 360 camera, you should take a look at the GoPro MAX. To tolerate harsh conditions, it has a sturdy construction that is waterproof at 16ft below water surface. It has rubber coatings that ensure maximum grip.
It has a 1.7-inch touch screen with a 16:9 ratio and comes with lenses on either side. It has an integrated mount for tripods and sticks. It has a left door that seals the battery, SD card, and USB-C port.
The MAX captures exceptional 360 videos in 5.6k resolutions, so you have everything around you. The stabilization is consistent, and picture quality in good light is superb. The details are impressive, but image stitching is below par.
The camera resolution caps at 1440p 4:3 or 1080p 16:9, and features horizon leveling. It allows you to digitally select from four focal lengths – 27mm, 19mm, 16mm, and 13mm. You can also use a single lens at 24fps, 30fps, or 60fps.
With the GoPro MAX mobile app, you can perform numerous editing. You connect via Wi-Fi and also live stream. The six-microphone set up offers excellent audio quality. Despite its decent battery life, you can also purchase spare batteries for increased uptime.
- Excellent audio capture.
- Sturdy, waterproof construction.
- Responsive screen and easy to use.
- Useful mobile app.
- Top-notch image stabilization.
- No 4k video.
- Fair image stitching.
- Lacks subject tracking.
Here is another 360-camera for surfing enthusiasts looking for a budget-friendly option. It is a simple camera yet with advanced capabilities. It is bulkier with a rubberized skin and a rugged body that is waterproof at 16ft in water.
Like the GoPro Max, it comes with two lenses. However, it comes with two screens where the front-facing screen displays the camera status. It has built-in fingers that are compatible with most GoPro mounts.
As you shoot 5.2K/30p or 3K/60p 360 videos, you can also capture 18MP 5K 360 photos. Vibrations and juddering are effectively smoothened, thanks to its digital stabilization. Image stitching is excellent, but video stitching could be better.
Photos have accurate color fringing but suffer sharpness. One major win for the GoPro Fusion is its easy-to-use OverCapture. The camera’s app for mobiles and desktops is pretty simple, but connectivity issues are prone to occur.
Audio quality is top-notch with the four-mic system. The GoPro Fusion comes with a removable 2,620mAh battery, enough to provide more than 75-minute uptime. It comes with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB-C port, GPS, and two SD cards.
- Excellent digital stabilization and image stitching.
- Features two SD cards.
- Impressive OverCapture.
- Useful mobile and desktop app.
- Decent image, video, and audio quality.
- No live streaming.
- Connectivity issues.
- Large file sizes and slow file transfer.
How to Choose the Right GoPro for Surfing?
Surfing as a water sport needs a durable, high-performing, waterproof camera. You don’t want a camera that will stop working a few days after purchase. GoPro manufactures some of the best surf cameras in the market.
These excellent tech accessories flaunt impressive features that get many people confused. I have discussed a few things you can consider when choosing a GoPro for surfing.
Your budget is the most deciding factor when choosing a surf camera. The same applies to when selecting a GoPro for surfing. You need to consider how much you can afford without wrecking your pocket.
Generally, newer flagships are expected to be rolled out at higher prices while the older ones witness a reduction in their price tag. Interestingly, the older GoPros remain in the market for a long time should you want to buy them.
Most GoPro cameras have an identical design; however, few differences still exist. For instance, the lens covers of some models (e.g., HERO8) are non-removable. Once they get scratched, they are difficult to replace.
The HERO8 Black and HERO7 Black come with a front screen that displays the camera status. The HERO9 Black has a front screen but a color LCD that makes it a good choice for selfies and vlogging.
You also need to decide whether you want a 360 camera or an ordinary camera. The 360 cameras are great for selfies, cinematic shots, and they capture every action better. Ordinary cameras are easy-to-use and do not require serious editing or consume much memory space.
Unlike the newer models, which have foldable mounting fingers, the older GoPros don’t have any. They rely on a particular casing to mount them on your surfboard, windsurfing board, bodyboard, or surf helmet.
Water and electronics are big enemies. Since surfing is a watersport, your electronic gears must be protected from moisture. GoPro cameras have different levels of protection, which is indicated by its waterproof depth.
All GoPro cameras released after the HERO4 are waterproof with no need for an external case. The most recent models have a higher waterproof depth. The GoPro Fusion and Max have a smaller value of 16ft.
Although this waterproof feature is reliable, it is best to get extra protection in the form of a waterproof casing. This particularly important if you will be performing other watersports (e.g., snorkeling) besides surfing.
Image and Video Quality
Since the main reason for a camera is to capture interesting moments, image and video quality play a crucial role in your decision-making. You need to take into account the allowed resolutions, frame rate (fps), and megapixels (MP).
Higher-resolution implies greater details and more refined quality. The HERO9 Black can record 5k and 4k videos. The HERO7 Black and HERO8 Black can also shoot 4k videos at 60fps and slo-mo videos at 1080p/240 fps.
The HERO7 Silver peaks at 4k-30fps and 120fps in slo-mo. The MAX and Fusion can shoot 5.6k and 5.2k 360 videos, respectively. In single lens mode, the MAX can shoot 1080p videos.
Of course, picture quality differs. The Hero7 Silver tops at 10MP, the Hero7 Black and Hero8 Black at 12MP, and the HERO9 black at a massive 20MP. You need to consider image stabilization, which is continuously improved in every new GoPro model.
Thankfully, the newer HERO series has HyperSmooth to smoothen out vibration and “shaky hands” 360 GoPro cameras are best for those with shaky hands. All you have to do is focus on what you’re doing while you keep capturing.
Considering the numerous functionalities on GoPros, it may not take long to exhaust their batteries on a single charge. Not all GoPros have a removable battery (e.g., HERO7 Silver). Therefore, if you are engaging in long, intense surfing sessions, it will be best to consider GoPros with a removable battery.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
In case you need some clarifications or answers to some quick question, check this section. I have compiled some questions here for you. Below are some of the frequently asked questions on GoPro cameras for surfing.
GoPros have excellent surf cameras. The presence of many interesting features and functionalities makes them fascinating and tempting. However, it also makes the decision-making process difficult.
A look through the included buying guide can give you an idea of what to expect and consider. From my review, the best overall is the recently released GoPro HERO9 Black with a 23.6MP sensor, front color display, and large primary screen.
Do you still have some questions apart from the FAQs above? Do you have comments or suggestions concerning this article or GoPros? You can drop them in the comment section for a quick response.
You can help other surfers understand what to look out for and which choice to make. All you’ve got to do is share this article on Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other social media platforms.