For those of you that have no idea what that weird bondage looking thing in the picture is, that’s a mouth mount. So what is a ‘mouth mount’? Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 10 years you will undoubtedly be aware that the majority of surf footage in the world is now shot on a GoPro camera. And over the past few years various accessories and devices have sprung onto the market which hold or ‘mount’ the GoPro to give new and exciting angles to shoot from. The mouth mount is one such device and Ho Stevie! is one of the leading brands.
Out of the box the Ho Stevie comes with a float to stick on the back of your GoPro and a leash. Both are essential bits of kit ‘cos no-one wants to lose a £200 camera in the sea! The bit that goes in your mouth looks like the mouth piece from a snorkel and is attached to a plastic mount which fits on the standard GoPro waterproof case. So in about 30 seconds the camera is fixed on and you’re ready to ‘Go-Pro’. The first thing we noticed was when the camera is fixed and in position it looks like it’s mounted upside down?! This is apparently the correct way to mount it and instructions for flipping the image on your camera are on the Ho Stevie website.
So we have our GoPro and our Ho Stevie set up and we’re ready to test it. Now, we know there is loads of footage out there from the likes of Kelly Slater, charging barrels at Teahupoo with one of these in his pie hole, but we’re all about the novice here at The Surfing Sumo… so we gave it to a kook. Well, not quite a kook, but an average surfer. No sponsors, no championship titles under his belt, just the average UK surfer doing his thing on British beach breaks. We wanted to see what the everyday surfer could do with it. So while we were in the Canary Islands a few weeks ago, we handed it over to one of our staff to take out on a beach break, on an average day.
In the water the Ho Stevie feels pretty comfy, like having a snorkel in your mouth. However, gripping it in your teeth for a prolonged length of time is gonna make your jaw ache, and that’s where the leash comes in handy. You can leave it dangling while you’re sat out back, or even let it drag behind you when you’re paddling. Then you can switch it back on, put it back in your mouth and paddle for that set you see coming. The real beauty of the mouth mount is that you don’t need your hands to hold it, meaning you can still paddle easily, pop up and catch waves without it getting in the way. It also gives a great ‘surfers eye view’ so you can show all your friends what it’s really like to be a surfer. Also, when you get a bit better and you’re already up and riding, you can take it out of your mouth and get some cool selfies while surfing!
First thing we need to say is – we’re not video experts and we’re not pro surfers. Like we said, no deep barrels, no terrifyingly big waves, just an average days surfing with an average surfer. So what was the footage like? Well, take a look for yourself below. It’s a lot less shakey than we thought it would be and with a bit more practise, we reckon if you play around with the angle of the camera and zoom etc, you could get some pretty awesome footage. It’s also an easy way to get a camera out back and great fun to get a few shots with your mates!
We thoroughly enjoyed playing with the Ho Stevie and also enjoyed our first dip into making a surf video (even if it is a bit amateurish). We’ll definitely be using it again on our surf trips!
A quick note on safety: If you’re heading out for your first surf lesson and thinking of stuffing one of these in your mouth from the get go, please don’t! Hand it to a mate and they can get some action shots from the water for you. Then, when you’re more confident and can get out back on your own, that’s when you’ll be ready for one of these gizmos.