One of the beautiful things about the present day is that video and photo capture technology is continuing to see advancements exponentially.
For surfers, bodyboarders, and ocean enthusiasts alike, it is more than possible to catch all of the tricks, wipeouts, and underwater excitement, in dazzling 4k.
The best waterproof cameras for surfing can provide surfers with footage that not only looks cool, but can help them to review their surfing to see how they can improve.
These camera's are perfect for mounting on your board, helmet or holding while surfing. If you plan on shooting surfers from land, video or photography, check out our article on that here.
Because every body of water is unique, it is important that you have a waterproof camera that is built to combat the wild blue.
That being said, sifting through the hundreds of options out there can be daunting. Luckily, we’ve done it for you, and have come up with a list of some of the best waterproof cameras for surfing out there. Ready to get some sweet new surf vids?
Top 8 Cameras
Our #1 Pick - GoPro HD Hero6
GoPro cameras are some of the easiest and most practical cameras for capturing moments in action sports. Because of their tiny profile and wide variety of features, they can be used for quite a wide variety of applications. One of the places that they excel is in the surf. It’s strange that people underestimate these cameras so often, as the 4K60 and 1080p240 video can produce some pretty incredible results.
With every GoPro reiteration, they seem to upgrade their stabilization. With the Hero6, you get nothing but smooth footage every time you use it. You even get touch zoom and an updated UI for versatility. It’s also completely waterproof up to 33ft, making it a perfect surfing camera. If you do want to take it deeper, you can pick from one GoPro’s many housings. Want to upload your surf videos to the web on the go? Make use of their updated 5GHz Wi-Fi that gives you the ability to shoot videos to your phone or laptop in minutes!
#2 Sony DSC-RX0
The Sony DSC-RX0 is an awesome little storyteller and incredibly powerful when it comes to making movies. Though it isn’t necessarily classified as an action camera, and is more marketed towards commercial use, it has many characteristics that make it perfect for use in surfing. You get 15.3MP stacked 1-inch CMOS sensor all wrapped up in a beautifully compact and shock proof body. The 16 FPS burst mode helps to capture photos in RAW is a major advantage as well.
While it doesn’t have the same stabilization qualities as the GoPro Hero6, it does have a much wider rectilinear ZEISS lens that helps to capture more of the ocean around you. You also have the ability to connect an external mic and control the sound levels with ease. If you want a good surfing camera, though also want something that can double as a camera for production, the SONY DSC-RX0 is a solid choice.
#3 Ricoh WG-50
The Ricoh WG-50 has been upgraded a lot since the WG-30, with many improved specs, waterproof protection down to 14m, and increased durability. More than any other camera, this bad boy is a tank, making it perfect for hardcore surfers. It is totally freeze and shockproof, as well as has a tough and ergonomic grip. Featured in black or orange, each of these is made with a 16-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor and complete HD video recording.
The wide-angle 5x optical zoom lens is pretty solid and utilizes the camera’s digital shake reduction instead of optical. There are 6 included LED macro lights for close-up situations, as well as built-in flash when the light is low. The underwater mode is excellent for capturing the nuances of the ocean, as it gives you a much more natural coloring than most cameras.
#4 Crosstour Action Camera Underwater Cam
Crosstour has created a spectacular, yet easy to use, little camera that comes in a wide variety of colors including blue, black, silver, and yellow. It is a 12MP camera and has a resolution of 1080p. Even with the small size, you can actually produce incredibly high-quality images, especially when you pair that with the 170-degree lens. The included app helps you to connect with Wi-Fi, allowing you to use your phone to upload or delete your photo and video files.
Just like many underwater cameras, you can take this bad boy down to 30m, making it great for the gnarliest of surfers. You get two rechargeable batteries in the package that actually last quite a long time. While you definitely don’t get the sort of image stabilization and quality features that you would with a higher end camera, for the price, we can’t complain. You also have the ability to buy an array of accessories, just like you would with a GoPro.
#5 Fujifilm FinPix XP80
Fujifilm is a top-notch camera brand that has been making quality cameras for quite some time. Their FinPix XP80 is tons of fun to shoot with and is incredibly durable, making it perfect for all kinds of water applications alongside surfing. They label it a ‘4-Way Proof’ camera, meaning it is resistant to water, dust, shock, and cold. You can put this thing in up to 15m of water, drop it from almost 2 meters, or work it down to 1-Degrees Fahrenheit.
It is a 16.2 Megapixel camera with 5x optical zoom, giving you quality photos at a fraction of the cost of higher-end cameras. The display is also much bigger than other waterproof cameras at 2.7 inches. Our favorite feature onboard is the continuous shooting mode, allowing you to get those action shots that you often see in surf magazines. Thanks to the free app, you can also connect to Wi-Fi for remote shooting.
#6 Campark ACT74 Action Camera
For surfing and underwater video, the Campark ACT74 is easily one of the best inexpensive options on the market. It has 4K shooting at 30fps, making it an excellent sports action camera in general. You can even enjoy loop recording and slow motion capturing if you want to get creative with it. If you’re looking to shoot still photos, the 16MP quality and 170-degree wide-angle lens is more than enough to get full, top-tier photos.
Just like many of the others on our list, the Campark works in conjunction with your phone to upload photos straight to social media without hassle. You also have the ability to review your files on the 2-inch HD screen. The camera comes with a few rechargeable batteries, each with a lifespan of 180 minutes. If you want to go deeper than the surf, you’ll be happy to know that the casing allows you to go up to 30m below the surface of the water.
#7 Akaso Brave 4 4K
Just like many of the high-end sports action cameras, the Akaso Brave 4 captures 4K video at 25fps with 12MP of resolution. You’ll also be stoked to shoot at 2.7K at 30 fps; pretty great considering the price. With tons of wireless and remote controls, this makes capturing surf content extremely easy. The camera comes with 2 rechargeable batteries that can remain in use for up to 180 minutes each, great for those longer sessions.
If you need to share with your social media friends quickly, you’ll really dig the Wi-Fi compatibility that works up to 10m. It’s also pretty rugged with the shockproof, freeze-proof, and waterproof design of up to 30 meters. The wrist remote is a great little addition to the camera too, allowing you to mount it to the front of your board and begin shooting as soon as you pop up.
#8 Nikon COOLPIX AW130
The Nikon COOLPIX AW130 is both incredibly stylish looking and tons of fun to use. It is safe in the water up to 30 meters, is shockproof for up to 7 feet, and is completely freeze-proof, making it a great surfing camera for just about anywhere in the world that you could think to paddle out. The 5x optical zoom lens has a nice wide angle and can take up to 5 photos a second for solid, continuous shooting.
You have built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, as well as an NFC connection, making it easy to connect with your phone in a number of ways. The adventurous surfers will love the built-in GPS, mapping, and electric compass. The 3-inch OLED screen makes it easy to see the photos and videos that you’ve taken as well.
Things To Consider When Looking for A Waterproof Camera
Even if your camera has an insane number of megapixels, if you don’t have a great lens, your pictures won’t turn out great. You need to make sure that when you are getting a waterproof camera that you don’t get sucked in by the Megapixel marketing and make sure to look at the lens. Is it a wide angle for capturing a larger environment? Is it clear? Does it come with optical zoom? What is the number on the optical zoom? These are all very important questions to ask when you’re looking for a good lens.
While many of these cameras come with removable internal storage, such as Micro SD cards, not all of them do. In this sense, you’ll want to be able to transfer your files out quickly, especially if you are looking to shoot a ton of content. 4K video files are massive. After a 3-hour session of continuous filming, you’ll run out of room on your camera’s storage. Being able to transfer out your files will help you to shoot more than you thought possible. It’ll also help to move your content to social media quickly too!
Photo and Video Quality
While Megapixels should never define a camera, in general, the more megapixels you have, the better your photos will turn out. If you’re big on high-quality photos, do consider getting a camera with more megapixels. As for video, we’re lucky enough to live in a time where 4K isn’t incredibly expensive to produce anymore. If you’re serious about video, you should definitely look to shoot in 4K for that extra clarity. Otherwise, 1080p or 720p should do you just fine if you don’t want to spend the extra cash.
Depending on what it is that you want to use your camera for, you might want to consider the depth rating of your camera. If you only plan on attaching it to your surfboard for surf video, one with a 10m-depth rating will be more than enough. If you are looking to dive however, you’re likely going to want one with a 30m depth rating or higher. Some of these cameras even allow you to buy waterproof casing to help increase their depth ratings, so consider that too.
While you might not buy these all at once or with your initial camera purchase, it is important to consider accessories if you ever want to upgrade your camera or use it for different applications. Accessories can be anything from straps, to housing, to mounts, and beyond. Try and look for a camera that can give you room to work with as you grow into a better surf videographer/photographer.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Mount My Camera for Surfing?
There are several ways you can go. Many of these cameras come with mounts that use stick-on disc attachments. These allow you to mount your camera on the nose of your board. If you’re dead set on filming and want to get a little more serious, you can also install a fin mount on your board for those sweet POV shots.
If your camera does not come with a mount for your board and you cannot find one on the market, try a head mount! These are best for shooting POV in barrels. You can either get a strap to attach your camera or wear a helmet with an attachment.
Is Water Resistant the Same as Waterproof?
There is a common misconception that these two are the same thing, though that’s not the case at all! ‘Waterproof’ means the camera can survive complete submersion into the ocean while water-resistant means it can handle a bit of splash and rain. For surfing applications, make sure that you ONLY get cameras that are waterproof if you ever want your photos and videos to survive post-session.
Final Thoughts – Which Should I Get?
Though they might not be the most budget friendly, GoPros are still at the top of the market for action sport shooting.
They are also the most surf-friendly with their high-resolution video, ultimate stabilization, rugged design, and GPS metrics.
We hope that our guide was helpful in finding the best waterproof camera for surfing.
Capturing those moments on your surfboard can help you to create lasting memories, as well as help you to become a better surfer than you ever thought possible.