I’ll never forget the first time I saw a surfer paddling out with some foreign object clutched between his teeth. It was at Diary beach several years back on a particular grubby mid-summer afternoon. The surfer in question had a pair of scissors lodged between his teeth. This was shocking to me, not only because it just looked so negligent and out of place at the time, but also because I could foresee the chaos that would ensure after he used them to cut the web of fishing lines, inconsiderately cast directly into the line-up by the throngs of heaving pack of fishermen on the Durban piers.
Nowadays, while fisherman have been relegated back to Blue Lagoon, surfing with accessories seems far less out-of-place, in the mouth or otherwise. In fact, as we humans continue to develop ways to stroke our own narcissism, it’s common to see all sorts of hand or mouth held camera contraptions in the water. Like it or not, this new-found means for every Joe-surfer to capture his/her own personal surfing moment of glory for the entire world to see, is the reality of our times.
It is for this reason then that we decided to test drive one of the most popular and locally accessible surf camera accessories on the market today, the Dummy Mount. Like the name suggests, this simple mouth mount allows you to carry your compact camera between your teeth. The advantage of this, besides the obvious hands-free efficacy, is that the front-on face angle is ideally suited for line of sight point of view (POV) angles. And unlike other hand-held mounts, the dummy mount is about as close to replicating your own POV vision as possible. Just a few minutes perusing the videos of Kelly, Koa Smith, Jamie-O etc using mouth mounts and you’ll soon see the expedient purpose of holding a camera in between your gnashers.
So how easy is it to produce a POV video for your mates of oneself getting spat out a backdoor drainer? Well, beside the elusiveness of such a barrel, using the device is fairly straight-forward.
In the barrel POV
Assembling the Dummy Mount is as easy as any camera mount. The actual mount itself is based off the old gum guard you used to wear on Saturday mornings for the U15D rugby team. The only gripe I had with assembly was that the float sponge that sticks to the back of your housing for comfort and flotation blocks out the back screen display of all new generation Go-Pro’s. This means that unless you have a spare housing, if you intend using your Go Pro camera without the Dummy mount, you’ll need to do so with the float-sponge stuck onto the back, which obviously isn’t ideal.
On my first water-test, I selected a mellow day of surf to get a feel for the device. Even with the leash around my neck, my apprehension going into the first duck dive was tangible. But I soon found that the dummy mount easily harnesses the vice-like grip we create with clenched fangs and I stroked out to backline with ease. In between duck dives, breathing is easy through the hollow neck of the mount and even in more vigorous conditions, I found that I could easily suck in O2 with the camera securely in my mouth.
Dale Staple’s GoPro tips
Once you get comfortable with this ‘mouthful’ sensation, and the bizarre ‘Darth Vader-esque’ sounds you inevitably produce, catching waves is pretty unassuming. With hands-free ease and a clear line of sight, you’re up as normal and the camera does the rest by capturing whatever it is you point your eyes at.
Retailing at R380, the Dummy mount is affordable and if you’re an eager enthusiast R670 for the full kit (Dummy Mount, float and leash), it’s unquestionably a worthy addition to your accessories basket.
Personally, I enjoy mine most when the surf is small, clean and running. And if you’re not altogether amped on filming your own wobbly cutbacks to the beach, at least the Dummy Mount will allow you the hands-free convenience of having your own camera out in the line-up, for when the sunrise peaks over the horizon and the dolphins drop in on your mate.