User review: Stealth S3 bodyboarding swim fin

As my Viper V5 swim fins are a few years old (but still going strong) I recently decided that it was time to purchase a new pair of fins and retire the Vipers as a spare/extra pair. Looking around the currently selection of fins was a little daunting as there are so many different brands and models out there on the market. Plus the fact that there is a huge the lack of online reviews and testing it also difficult to know what is good or not.

I originally wanted to get a pair of classic Churchill Makapuu fins. However the ‘original’ version of these fins are very difficult to get a hold of in the right size and the ‘new’ version are notoriously poor quality. After a bit of hunting around I came across the new Stealth S3 fins and they looked perfect. An added bonus was the S3 come in a classic blue/gold Ryan Hardy signature model, or a contemporary black/purple Nick Gornall signature model (a blue/black model is also shown on the promo pics, but it hasn’t been released). Given I was looking for a classic Makapuu style, I decided that the blue/gold would be the best pick!

And here’s what they look like:

s3_hardy_top Stealth S3 fin


So after using these fins for about 3 weeks, here are my thoughts:


  • Great value (around $60 for a pair, I got mine from Toby Player @ Bodyboard King)
  • Easy to buy from just about any good bodyboarding store
  • Comfortable and wide foot pocket (although I still need to wear neophrene fin socks to prevent rubbing)
  • Excellent drainage system, sand grit is no longer an issue (Viper fins have poor drainage)
  • Made out of floating rubber (I tested them and they float well)
  • Plenty of thrust and propulsion (though not quite as much as my Viper fins), as well as good stability on the wave from the angled rails
  • Good for both dropknee and prone styles
  • No more cramps in my foot arches


  • Different foot pocket and fin shape takes a while to get used to if you are currently using a symmetrical style fin
  • Long term quality/durability unknown (my Viper fins have lasted almost 5 years and are only just starting to show small cracks in the rubber around the heel strap)

Bottom line:

Great value and functional swim fins for any type of ocean activity: bodyboarding (prone and dropknee), bodysurfing, snorkelling etc. 10/10


DIY: Pole mount / monopod for GoPro camera

Here’s something I knocked up a couple of nights ago. I found this aluminium pole on the side of the road and instantly saw that I could use it as a GoPro pole mount.

Aluminium waterproof GoPro pole mount / monopod – 75cm long without insulation foam

Aluminium waterproof GoPro pole mount / monopod – 75cm long with insulation foam

Here’s how I made it:

  1. Cut a 10cm long piece of a bike inner tube and wrapped that around the top of the pole.
  2. Wrap and fix the inner tube in place with duct tape.
  3. Then tape over and seal up each end of the pole with duct tape.
  4. Add a wrist tether above the handle from some nylon string or similar. I used an old one I had laying around from a digital camera.
  5. Attach a GoPro bike pole mount onto the end securely, make sure it can’t move around.
  6. Optional: Add some pipe insulation for extra buoyancy and to reduce the chance of being hurt by the pole if you wipe out. I prefer to go without the foam covering though as the pole is lighter and easier to swim with.
  7. Go have some fun!

This cost me nothing, as I already had the bike pole mount on hand and found the pole. You could do this with just about any type of pole material, but I strongly recommend a aluminium pole around 60-100cm long (mine is 75cm) as this gives you good reach, is light weight, rust proof, doesn’t get heavy/waterlogged, not too cumbersome and is buoyant if sealed correctly. Another alternative if you want to make your own is to use some PVC pipe with a tripod adapter or bike mount as discussed here.

I took it out the other day at a local surf break and was very happy with it. You can get some great angles if you are willing to go over the falls of the wave and film people as the surf past underneath you or sit in the inside where people are boosting airs. I’ll upload some footage later once it’s ready. Just goes to show that with some a bit of creative thinking, duct tape and a few attachment accessories you can easily create a lot of interesting mounting solutions for an action camera.

Overview and review of GoPro HD Hero 2 accessories from

I bought a bunch of stuff for my GoPro HD Hero 2 from an Australian website, As you may have guessed they specialise in supplying a whole range of action cameras and accessories, including an interesting selection of their own-brand bodyboard mounts and pole mounts for GoPro cameras. Despite my initial hesitation at buying anything due to the gear looking too expensive, I decided to take the plunge to try it out and see if it worth the money spent.

Here’s some of my initial thoughts. All prices shown are in Australian dollars (AUD) and include tax (10% GST):

Aluminium extended bodyboard mount (large – 60cm version) $129 – Aluminium Extended Bodyboard Mount 60cm

Thoughts: Seems sturdy and well thought out. Ball joint on the head allows a variety of angles and positions and is easy to tighten. I’m a little wary about having something large and solid attached to my board while surfing the heavy close out waves around Perth, even if the pole is thickly padded with foam. Comes with three mounting bolts to attach the stainless steel base plate to the board. Wouldn’t want to use this on a expensive, new board unless I was sponsored and getting boards for free every few weeks. Not sure how long the tube foam will last, but they do provide a spare one at least and it would be easy to find at your local hardware store. A bit expensive for what it is really. Wouldn’t be too difficult to make your own ghetto version if you had some decent tools on hand (metalwork project at highschool anyone?).

SIngle Pin BB camera mount $39

Single Pin BB Camera Mount

Thoughts: Honestly this is just a standard GoPro tripod mount ($13-15) with an extra plastic thread section attached onto it and a suitable bolt with a large head and a bit of rubber to act as a seal. It’s simple and effective, but extremely overpriced for what it is. These guys must be paying themselves $30 an hour for labour while making these. Had I known it was this basic I would have just ghetto modded a cheaper (but still overpriced piece of plastic) standard GoPro tripod mount myself using a long bolt and a large rubber coated washer.

Trigger Handle for GoPro $79

Trigger Handle for GoPro – Yellow handle

Thoughts: Very basic design, but also seems pretty effective while using the camera in ‘one button’ mode. You have to bolt the GoPro onto the handle which requires an allen key and a small spanner to get it tight enough to not move when the trigger is pressed. Not sure how well it will work in practice and if it will be tight enough. Bright yellow handle to stand out in the water and comes with an adjustable, tubing coated wrist leash for extra safety and comfort. Again I have to question the price of this as it is obviously hand made. If you had the tools and access to a CNC machine you could easily make one of these yourself. Of course this isn’t the reality for most people, including myself so you don’t have much choice other than to pay up or buy elsewhere. It’s a good bit of kit don’t get me wrong, but at $79 a pop it’s a bit rich for most people.

I also bought a spare tripod mount, a polarisation filter and a chest harness for my GoPro from this store, as they were selling at a pretty decent price including shipping. But there’s plenty of chatter on this gear already and I figure there’s no need to discuss further. I’ll be hooking the bodyboard mounts up to my old spare Nomad board and take them for a test run in the next week or so. So I’ll provide an update once I have field tested everything further with my thoughts.



VIPER surf fin modification for drop knee

I’ve had my orange dot (flexi) V5 Viper surf fins for about 7 years now. They have always been great fins as they have a wider foot pocket, good flex and power, and big rails for keeping stable while riding prone or drop knee. However as I will be replacing them in the next few months I decided to take the plunge and modify them to make them even easier to use while surfing in the drop knee stance.

The idea is to remove around ~2cm of length from the end of the fin, and also to round off the corners to make it easier when getting up onto your board. Use a pair of large, heavy duty scissors and a box cutter  to cut it down to size and shape. Remember: measure twice, cut once!


I always found the fins to be a little too long while drop knee. Sure, I got used to it and made do, but I am hoping that with one of the fins now cut down a little it will make surfing drop knee a little easier. In particular I’ve always had issues with backhand waves as the longer fin would sometimes get caught in the wave as I was swinging it around onto the board deck. I’ll see how this modification goes and how much of a difference it will make. I’ll post an update after taking it out a few times with my thoughts whether this was a good idea or not…! 🙂





I’ve now worn these fins out for a few sessions. I can confirm that the shorter fin makes getting up dropknee MUCH faster and easier as you have that extra clearance. It’s also easier to get up on backhand waves as the longer fin doesn’t get sucked into the wave. It does slightly reduce kick power in the modified fin compared to the original fin, but this isn’t an issue as I use my right arm when needed for extra paddle power any way. Overall I wish that I had modified these fins years ago.