11 July 2010

Wrist Shot Camera Case Review

I've been using my Pentax Optio W80 waterproof camera to take photos and video on the water for almost a year, but hadn't found a good case to keep it secure yet accessible while I'm surfing. Until now.

First I tried the Surfing Camera Case, an abject failure that I reviewed here. Next was the Olympus Neoprene Armband Case, which made re-stowing so difficult with one gloved hand that I became hesitant to use the camera, lest I end up missing waves while fumbling to get it back into the case.

A few weeks ago, the San Francisco-based company Golden Hour sent me a Wrist Shot case. It's primarily made of neoprene, velcro, and what appears to be seatbelt strapping. One strap wraps around your wrist and attaches with velcro, with two extra velcro tabs additionally securing it. The camera mounts via its tripod socket, and another padded strap wraps over the top of the camera and attaches with more velcro. Because the W80's tripod mount is off to one side, I had to use the farthest of the three riveted holes to attach it; while the camera is not centered, the lens is mostly covered by the outer strap.

So how does it perform? The camera's position on the back of my wrist isn't uncomfortable, and It doesn't get in the way while paddling. I've taken the Wrist Shot out in overhead waves, and it kept my camera secure during wipeouts. With all that velcro, I have no worries that the case will detach from my wrist, and with it screwed firmly to the camera through the tripod mount, it's not going to let go of my camera. At the same time, it's quick work to pull off the velcro strap that covers the camera face, flip the camera up, and take photos or video on the water. And if I see a wave coming that I want to catch, I simply wrap the strap back over the camera and velcro it down, then turn around and paddle for the wave. My only minor complaint is that the Wrist Shot has perhaps too much velcro; it doesn't seem needed on top of the tab on the outer strap, where it tends to catch on my wetsuit and collect wax and sand.

I'd still love to see a chest-mount arrangement that would allow forward POV filming while riding a wave (a viable incarnation of the Surf Camera Case). But until that product arrives, I recommend the Wrist Shot to anyone who wants to record their surf sessions on the water.

Update 19-Feb-11: After months of twice-a-week use, I encountered some wear issues with my Wrist Shot. The fabric was deteriorating adjacent to the attachment hole. Also, the velcro "fingers" had worn off of the end of the top strap to such an extent that it didn't stick well anymore, so the strap would detach during wipeouts, leaving the camera exposed and flopping. Golden Hour sent me a new Wrist Shot from their latest production run, in which they used better materials and made the mounting bracket thicker and stiffer so the camera won't move around as much. I've been testing it for over a month, and the new Wrist Shot does seem to perform even better than before.

Update 2-Jun-11: The Wrist Shot is now called the Wrist Pod (I'd been wondering about trademark issues with the first name). The new case has been performing better than the original, with no issues thus far. Surfing sans wetsuit in Hawaii, I found the strap to be too long, but as I've got unusually small wrists I can't fault the design for that. Visiting Golden Hour's website recently, I realized that the stiffer bracket has an added benefit: it supports the camera in an upright position, so it may be possible to take video while I'm surfing. I plan to try that out soon.


  1. Hi surfergrrrrl,
    Nice review. My wrist shot arrived yesterday (5 days from SF to spain!!!). I can't wait to shoot some photos this weekend while surfing. It feels very good beeing back home in spain with a swell on its way...

  2. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)