Mounting your GoPro camera directly onto your kite provides a fantastic aerial perspective for kitesurfing photos and video. There are specially designed strut mounts available for this purpose, but all utilise a strap which must be wrapped around the centre strut. That’s fine unless your kite uses a ‘Split Strut’ system, whereby the strut is sewn into and forms an integral part of the canopy. Slingshot Kites use such a system. Whilst kite line mounts are available which bypass this problem, these need to be positioned some way down toward the rider, and provide a much lower and quite different viewpoint. Having enjoyed filming at the high aerial perspective that kite mounts permit before I started using Split Strut kites, I decided – in the absence of anything commercially available – to make my own.
It became evident that the best option was something which clamped onto the centre strut. As kite struts are inflated, this does not require any moving parts, just an appropriate sized part-circle of something reasonably stiff.
I purchased a metre length of aluminium strip from a hardware store, in my case 20mm wide and 2mm thick. I measured the diameter of the strut I wanted to mount it to, and looked for something rigid of similar size and slightly smaller to bend it round (a bottle of late-bottled vintage port did the trick!)
I made two such pieces, cutting the length appropriately so the gap at the bottom was sufficiently wide for the sewn area of the strut to fit into without pressure on the seams. A third piece of aluminium, about 20cm long, was used to complete the clamp. The three pieces were bolted together with stainless steel bolts and lock-nuts.
Now, call me over-cautious, but sharp metal and rip-stop nylon and not a winning combination, so I filed and sanded everything really smooth! In addition, and to further ensure a secure mounting, I affixed some thin grippy rubber (the material used to provide additional grip to open tight bottles and jars with) all the way round the inside and wrapped over the ends. I cut this slightly wider than the aluminium in order to ensure no metal at all touched the kite. I stuck it to the metal with double-sided foam tape for even more padding.
Finally the GoPro mount itself. I used a standard ‘J-piece’ clipped into its self-adhesive base. I carefully drilled through this entire assembly, and bolted it – again with a locking nut – to the centre spine of the clamp. Note that the GoPro, when attached, is aligned in ‘landscape’ mode with the centre strut. This means a landscape view from the camera when riding with the kite in a vertical position.
Mounting the camera in this way means that it is not possible to use a floaty back door. For this reason I strongly suggest some sort of leash arrangement just in case the mount comes away or something breaks.
In use I found this system held my camera completely solid – it was practically impossible to move it at all once the kite was inflated to operational pressure. The only tricky part is getting the clamps just the right size. Again I found that a few millimetres smaller than the strut you intend to fix it to is perfect once the rubber is also attached.
I made this mount for my Slingshot Turbine 17m kite, as its slow moving characteristics and long 27m lines make it perfect for aerial filming. However, I also found the mount fitted well on my Slingshot Rally 12m kite as well, albeit not quite so tightly.
Some pics and a video of the result. Enjoy
GoPro Kite Strut Mount for Split Strut Kites
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