Since experimenting with numerous methods of mounting cameras onto the kayak for the various videos I've been compiling, I've been through several options in an effort to arrive at the most suitable options for my needs. It was only recently that I dumped pretty much every other option I'd tried for an alternative system, though I'm yet to actually demonstrate it, or show the results. The next episode of Yakass Coastal kayak Fishing will demonstrate my new system nicely though and keen eyes will spot the difference immediately.
All of the experiments I've tried have been cobbled together with RAM mount components and they've all worked reasonably well. Over time though I've become more ambitious and have looked for ways to overcome some of the limitations I was facing. One of these were the various angles I could record footage from and the other (more important one) was the ability to remove the camera from its mount quickly, to allow me to grab a camera for any point & shoot situations that may suddenly arise, which is often.
My initial efforts all involved 1" 'B' size ram balls, sockets and mounting bases. These work rather well and are fairly lightweight, but when it comes to surf or open-water AI sailing, are really only well suited to lighter weight cameras such as the popular GoPros. Because the 1" ball mounts are fairly small, there's only so much surface area for the socket to grip on to, meaning a crashing wave could easily push the camera out of the desired position.
For this reason I then switched to using 1.5" 'C' size socket balls and arms, which most certainly resulted in a much surer grip, a lot less likely to be pushed out of position in turbulent water. For my Sony camcorder with its large and relatively heavy housing, this definitely turned out to be a better option, though it did look and feel like overkill for the GoPro cams.
More and more I started wanting the ability to remove cams quickly for point and shoot applications and arrived at a couple of solutions, both of which I employ today. This has meant replacing most of the components I was using, which has turned out to be a worthwhile move for my ambitions. I now have 2 cams mounted with quick-release options. The first one I tried was a quick-release clip-in system best suited for 'B' size mounts, which I now use on the Gopro cam mounted on the forward deck. The component I've used here is a 'RAP-326' which incorporates male and female parts that clip into each other. A metal or plastic B size diamond mount can easily be attached and used in conjunction with a socket arm, which allows the user to simply unclip the camera from its mount. This is much faster than having to unscrew the socket arm to remove it. While I do trust this system for lighter cams (though I do leash them regardless), I wouldn't be game to try it with anything much heavier.
I've also done away with the standard style socket arms, partly for the same reason. I now use a RAP-B-200 variable swivel arm, which allows me to adjust the angle of the camera where it mounts to the cocket arm without having to undo the positioning of the angle at which the socket arm is mounted to the kayak. So if I need to point the camera in another direction, all I need to do is UN-tighten the top section and swivel the camera to where I want it. When and if I want to return to the original position I don't have to readjust the position of the base.
Based upon the success of this, I've now employed the same system for the larger camera, although I've cobbled together my own dedicated accessory by using 2 single socket arms (RAP-200-1) connected together with a hex button joiner (RAP-280), which gives me precisely the same functionality as the RAP-B-200 system, only in the larger C size. RAM does not make this as a complete unit, which is why I had to purchase several components to achieve it.
I now also use a flexible arm (RAP-105-6DR) for a rear-mounted camera, which gives me a quick and easy means of pointing the camera in various directions. I have this connected to a standard B size socket arm for extra height and filming angles.
Recently I also added a suction-cup mount (RAP-224-1) fixed with a diamond base B size mount into my bag of tricks and this has proven to be much more successful than I was anticipating. This allows me to mount the camera onto any smooth surfaced part of the hull. At first I wasn't sure how well this would hold up, but when I recently attached one onto the side of one of the amas and deliberately buried it at high speeds I was surprised to see how well it held in place.
There really are a myriad of available options within the RAM range for camera mounting solutions. While there aren't too many complete kits available, it’s very easy to piece together your own dedicated system using the various components available from RAM. You just need to do a little digging (the RAM universal catalogue
is the best place to start) and use a little creativity.