Best GoPro for Surfing

Catching huge waves is fun, but it can be a bummer when you ride one out, and there’s no one around to see. This is why a GoPro is every surfer’s best friend. However, picking the right GoPro camera can be tricky if you’re new to the action market scene. 

Hi, my name is Larry! I’ve been surfing for over 10 years and have recorded hundreds of GoPro videos. Throughout the past decade, I’ve used over 15 different GoPro cameras while surfing.

In today’s comprehensive guide, I’ll share my top GoPros for surfing based on my experiences and discussions I’ve had with other GoPro fanatics. I’ll also share my key takeaways, answer a few common questions, and explain what makes the best GoPro for surfing.

Let’s dive right in!

Key Takeaways

  • If you only go surfing once or twice a year, it might not be worth investing in a GoPro action camera. 
  • Waterproofing capabilities and video quality are two of the most important factors when choosing the best GoPro for surfing.
  • The HERO10 Black is the best GoPro for surfing since it has the best camera technology and recording settings.
  • The HERO7 Black is the best budget-friendly GoPro for surfing since it shoots 4K video at an affordable price point.

The GoPro HERO10 is the best GoPro for surfing. This is because it offers the best battery life and recording resolutions out of all the available GoPro cameras. Furthermore, this camera has the best image stabilization on the market, which makes for smooth and amazing GoPro surfing videos. It’s also waterproof down to 33 feet or 10 meters.

The GoPro MAX is great for surfing because it’s waterproof and features a 5.6K video resolution. Therefore, you can capture incredibly high-detailed footage of your surf adventures with the GoPro MAX. Furthermore, since it’s a 360 camera, it offers unique and captivating footage you can’t record with other GoPro cameras. 

All the newer GoPro models, like the MAX, HERO8, HERO9, and HERO10, can be used in salt water. Therefore, these are the perfect companions if you want to record amazing surf footage. However, I recommend rinsing your GoPro with fresh water after you take it out of the ocean to clean off the hidden residue and particles.

You can secure your GoPro to several places while surfing. In terms of body mounts, I recommend using a head strap, chest mount, or wrist strap. You can also mount your GoPro to the body of your surfboard using an adhesive or suction cup mount. Nonetheless, my favorite is the GoPro Performance Chest Mount because it’s comfortable and secure. 

The best way to prevent yourself from losing your GoPro while surfing is using a secure body mount. In this case, I recommend either the wrist strap or GoPro Performance Chest Mount. These mounts stay secure to your body despite tumbling into waves and falling into the water. After dozens of surf trips using these specific mounts, I’ve never lost my GoPro. 

What Makes the Best GoPro for Surfing

Since there are over 20 different GoPro camera models, discussing what factors to look for in your new GoPro is essential. This way, you can pick the best GoPro based on your personal needs and preferences. While waterproofing and video quality are important factors, you should also consider video stabilization and the LCD touchscreen display.

  • Video and Image Quality: Although every GoPro camera looks similar, they have varying image and video resolution capabilities. Therefore, you should get the GoPro camera with the ideal footage quality for your needs. For example, if you want to record only at 1080p, you don’t need a GoPro HERO10 Black.
  • Electronic Image Stabilization: Surfing videos are prone to a lot of shakiness as you traverse the waters. This is why electronic image stabilization (EIS) is a key trait to consider for your new GoPro camera. EIS is a built-in technology that automatically stabilizes shaky footage. Newer GoPro cameras offer more advanced video stabilization. 
  • LCD Screen Display: Most GoPro cameras feature an LCD touchscreen display you can use to change your video settings and delete old clips. However, newer GoPros have larger LCD screens, which are incredibly convenient while surfing.
  • Waterproofing Capabilities: Every GoPro camera on today’s list has built-in waterproofing capabilities. Therefore, you can safely bring your camera into the water with any of the options below. 

Top 5 Best GoPros for Surfing

Now, it’s time to hit the surf and discuss the 5 best GoPros for surfing. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve tested nearly every GoPro model while surfing and curated the ultimate best of the best. 

However, even though the list is ranked from 1 to 5, some GoPros are better for different surfers. So, make sure to take a close read and find the best option based on your personal preferences and budget. 

1. GoPro HERO10 Black (Best Overall)

  • Max Video Resolution: 5.3K at 60fps
  • Max Photo Resolution: 23MP (Megapixels)
  • Screen Size: 2.27 inches
  • Waterproof Depth: 33 feet or 10 meters 

The GoPro HERO10 Black is the best GoPro for surfing because it simply has the best technology and recording capabilities. Therefore, you should get the HERO10 Black if you want the make the best surfing videos possible.

This camera is loaded from top to bottom with innovative features. First of all, the HERO10 Black has the all-new GP2 camera processor. This processor enables faster camera speeds, a more responsive touchscreen, and better image quality. It’s the only GoPro camera with the GP2 processor.

The HERO10 Black features the best video resolution and camera sensor out of every GoPro camera. This means you can easily capture unbelievably high-quality surf footage. With the built-in mounting fingers and waterproofing capabilities, the HERO10 Black is the ultimate surf camera.

Furthermore, the HERO10 Black is equipped with HyperSmooth 4.0 electronic image stabilization (EIS). This is GoPro’s latest EIS technology, and it automatically stabilizes and smoothens out shaky GoPro videos. You’ll be shocked at how impressive this technology is when recording unsteady surf videos. 

However, the main drawback of this camera is that it’s relatively more expensive than previous HERO line camera models. This is because it’s the newest GoPro camera and features exclusive technology and recording settings. Nonetheless, in my opinion, the slight price difference is completely worth it if you want the best GoPro for surfing.

My Verdict: The GoPro HERO10 Black is easily the best GoPro for surfing because it has the best recording capabilities and camera technology. In fact, the HERO10 is the best action camera on the entire market for surfing. 

2. GoPro HERO9 Black (Best Runner Up)

  • Max Video Resolution: 5K at 30fps
  • Max Photo Resolution: 20MP
  • Screen Size: 2.27 inches
  • Waterproof Depth: 33 feet or 10 meters

The GoPro HERO9 Black is slightly older than the GoPro HERO10 Black but almost just as good. This incredible little action camera features the GP1 camera processor and HyperSmooth 3.0 electronic image stabilization technology. Although these are older GoPro technologies, they are better than anything else you can find in the action camera market.

Therefore, the GoPro HERO9 Black is an outstanding choice for all surfers. This camera can record up to 5K at 30fps. However, you probably won’t use this video resolution too often since it drains your battery and creates massive files on your SD card. Furthermore, you can snap beautiful pictures with the HERO9 Black’s 20MP camera sensor.

Let’s talk about HyperSmooth 3.0. Even though it’s older than HyperSmooth 4.0, it still offers unbelievable video stabilization. I’ve recorded many surfing videos with my HERO9 Black, and the videos always come out buttery smooth, even when I’m shaking and riding the waves.

The HERO9 Black also has a better battery, a bigger LCD touchscreen, and more advanced camera settings than older GoPro cameras, such as the HERO8 and HERO7. Therefore, it’s an excellent middle ground pick if you don’t want to pay top-dollar for the HERO10 Black but want a top-of-the-line action camera to record surf videos. 

My Verdict: The GoPro HERO9 Black is an excellent second choice for surfers because it offers nearly as much recording power and camera features as the HERO10 Black. This is a more budget-friendly option that’s still packed with power.

3. GoPro HERO8 Black (Best Value)

  • Max Video Resolution: 4K at 60fps
  • Max Photo Resolution: 12MP
  • Screen Size: 2.0 inches
  • Waterproof Depth: 33 feet or 10 meters

The GoPro HERO8 Black came out in 2019 and is still one of the best action cameras for surfing. This camera features HyperSmooth 2.0 image stabilization, a 2-inch LCD touchscreen, waterproofing capabilities, a 12MP camera, and 4K video resolution at 60fps.

This top-notch camera records at several different video settings. You can choose from 4K wide or 4K linear, 2.7K at 120fps, 1080p at 240fps, and much more. Therefore, after a little bit of testing, you can easily find the best video settings for your surf videos.

In comparison to GoPros older than this camera, the HERO8 Black has a better battery life, built-in mounting fingers, and twice the impact and shock resistance. The built-in mounting fingers are essential because you can attach GoPro mounts and accessories without needing an additional case or housing unit. 

So, you can attach a GoPro Performance Chest Mount or wrist strap to the HERO8 Black itself. However, it’s important to remember that this is an older GoPro camera. For this reason, the HERO10 and HERO9 offer better camera features and a slightly bigger LCD touchscreen.

Nonetheless, if you want an all-inclusive GoPro camera with incredible camera power, you can’t go wrong with the HERO8 Black.

My Verdict: The HERO8 Black offers incredible value as a surfing camera because you can record 4K videos and shoot 12MP pictures. It’s also waterproof down to 33 feet and has a responsive 2-inch LCD touchscreen.

4. GoPro HERO7 Black (Best Budget)

  • Max Video Resolution: 4K at 60fps
  • Max Photo Resolution: 12MP
  • Screen Size: 2.0 inches
  • Waterproof Depth: 33 feet or 10 meters

The GoPro HERO7 Black provides all the features you need in an affordable and powerful GoPro for surfing. This camera records ultra HD 4K videos at 60fps. It also has a lightweight and compact design with incredibly rugged build qualities. Furthermore, you can bring this camera 33 feet or 10 meters underwater.

This GoPro features HyperSmooth 1.0 electronic image stabilization technology and a 2-inch LCD touchscreen. Although HyperSmooth 1.0 is GoPro’s first iteration of its innovative image stabilization technology, it produces smooth and stable surfing videos.

You may have also seen a GoPro HERO7 White and HERO7 Silver. However, I only recommend the HERO7 Black out of the three options because it’s the only one with HyperSmooth 1.0, live streaming capabilities, 8x slo-mo, HDR recording, and 1080p resolution at 240 fps.

Compared to older GoPro cameras, the HERO7 Black offers better image quality, audio performance, and processing power. 

Therefore, if you need an inexpensive way to capture amazing surfing videos, the GoPro HERO7 Black is an excellent option. However, you must also remember that the HERO7 is an older GoPro camera and better models exist. So if you want better battery life and more recording capabilities, I recommend either the HERO10 or HERO9 Black.

My Verdict: The HERO7 Black is the best budget-friendly option because you get 4K recording capabilities at a reasonable price point. This is the oldest generation GoPro I recommend since it’s still one of the best action cameras on the market.

5. GoPro MAX (Best 360° Camera)

  • Max Video Resolution: 5.6K at 30fps
  • Max Photo Resolution: 16.6MP
  • Screen Size: 1.7 inches
  • Waterproof Depth: 16 feet or 5 meters 

The GoPro MAX offers some fantastic footage and unique perspectives for surf shots. However, since it’s a 360-degree camera, you might wonder what kind of videos this camera can record.

Here’s an example from Brett Barley:

As you can see, the GoPro MAX produces incredibly immersive and detailed surf videos. But it’s important to note that it may take some time to get the right settings and learn how to properly use the 360-degree video settings.

Another unique feature of the GoPro MAX is that it has 6 built-in microphones, more than any other GoPro camera. Therefore, you can capture high-quality sounds from the ocean directly from the camera. 

In terms of how the GoPro MAX works, this camera uses two 180-degree fisheye lenses to record everything around the camera. Then, the camera combines the two hemispherical videos together to produce a 360-degree video. 

However, you don’t always have to record 360-degree videos. This is because you can crop the videos to any resolution you’d like with the GoPro Quik mobile app. Simply pair your smartphone with your GoPro and transfer the videos wirelessly. Then, use GoPro Quik’s editing tools to create the perfect surf video.

The only downside of the GoPro MAX is that it’s the most expensive option on today’s list. Nonetheless, the price is justified since the MAX uses innovative camera technology to produce 360-degree videos. 

My Verdict: The GoPro MAX is a unique action camera since it can record 360-degree videos. Therefore, this is an excellent choice if you want to record captivating surf videos with a unique point of view.

Final Thoughts

Every GoPro in this guide is perfect for the surf. In fact, there is no need to ever head out into the ocean again without having a good camera with you. All of the above options are small, portable, and rather affordable. In today’s list, you learned what each option offers, so get the one that’s best for you.

If you want the latest and greatest GoPro camera, you can’t go wrong with the HERO10 Black or HERO9 Black. However, the HERO8 Black and HERO7 Black are great options if you don’t need maximum video resolution or are shopping on a budget.

However, now I’d love to hear from you! Which GoPro from today’s guide are you bringing to your next surf trip? Do you have any more questions about GoPros or surfing? I’m all ears! Let me know your thoughts by replying with a quick comment down below.

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  • LAN CHESSEY

    Did you compare these w/ the Hero9, and Hero10?

    Reply