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Via Gearminded - Oct 5, 2015

When you spend most of your free time in the water it’s important to find ways to capture these moments in order to share them with your crew. For the longest time this meant risking your equipment by using it in a questionable manner to secure the footage. From waterproof phone cases that truly only work on the surface to rigged GoPro mounts that don’t offer enough adjustability we have tried plenty of methods for recording our ocean adventures. After recently using the new GoPole Bobber ($29.99) we now pack it in our bag on every trip.

With a direct GoPro fit there isn’t a need for adapters and a prepackaged high torque screw we were able to snug down the camera prior to entering the water. The standard GoPro screw fits as well but in a wave heavy environment you definitely need to tighten the unit down. Time and time again we have snugged down our camera only to later view footage of a Hero4 face down with a loose screw barely holding it in place.

The GoPole Bobber Floating Handgrip is a staple for the weekend warrior. As a handgrip the bobber has a larger diameter than your average grip with the dimensions of 5.90″ x 1.57″ x 1.57″and a weight of 3 ounces. The light plastic shell is light enough for anyone to hold onto during even the most demanding situations and is dense enough to withstand pretty significant drops or hits. The no slip rubber matrix surface is money for any paddler, diver, photographer or surfer. The handgrip surface is also very durable and puncture resistant as we found after losing our camera in the rocks on a local dive of Laguna Beach, CA. The real surprise to us while using the Bobber was how well the wrist strap worked during use. We would be lying if we said that we didn’t originally look at yet another strap as a complete gimmick. Instead the strap proved to be the perfect length to allow for operation when around your wrist and also allowed us to snug the strap down for a secure hold. The strap itself screws into the bottom of the grip and can be removed if it’s not needed. We have been surfing with the bobber lately by tying the wrist strap to the pocket on our trunks to keep it attached while paddling. By reattaching the strap from our pocket to our wrist we were able to capture some surfing for our family and friends to check out. Best of all, for those predictable moments where we caught a set on the head and the bobber got away from us it floated high enough in the water to paddle over and grab it.

Speaking of visibility, the GoPole Bobber only comes in a bright submarine yellow color to ensure that it can be spotted in all conditions. We noted earlier that the grip itself is larger in diameter than most other handgrips and this feature proved to be for good reason. Its thickness allows it to float high enough in the water to be seen from a flat plane of sight. If you currently have the orange GoPro floaty you may have noticed that it works well but isn’t always easy locate in the water. The bobber uses the heavier weight of the camera to float with the grip pointing towards the sky. This provides a noticeable advantage when searching for your camera and especially when you’re surfing, diving or whitewater kayaking.

After a few weeks of use we can confidently say that the GoPole Bobber is a superior accessory to own if you spend much of your time in the water. The larger grip diameter and rubber matrix handle makes it comfortable to hold onto in and out of the water. The noticeable advantage to this grip is its ability to float and bob with the handle in the air. In a surf environment we were able to locate the bobber while it “bobbed’ up and down with the current keeping the grip above the surface.

For the water bound traveler that needs a bit more adjustability from a pole we have the GoPole EVO ($49.99) to share with you. The EVO is a floating version of the brands highly popular reach pole. With a detachable Wi-Fi remote clip, threaded screw in wrist strap and no-slip rubber matrix grip, the EVO throws it all on the line.

After taking the EVO into the water we were pleased to experience how much fun it really is to have a pole with adjustable length. Being 14 inches at its shortest length and 24 inches at its longest length the EVO really is meant for capturing the surrounding environment. Where the Bobber excels in close up situations the EVO captures moments that require a greater field of view. For surfing and body surfing the bobber is hands down the most effective option. On the other hand if you plan on going for a dive, fishing, cliff jumping or simply don’t need the floating feature than the EVO is a more effective tool for the job.

Earlier in the review we covered the strengths of the bobber and its unique ability to float with the grip above the water surface for better visibility. Due to the length of the EVO it doesn’t float vertical but rather in a horizontal manner making it harder to spot on the surface but easier to grab when it gets away from you. The transparent plastic construction is an added bonus that you may not appreciate until first submerge with the pole. Once under the surface the pole remains nearly invisible to the camera when taking selfies. More importantly for us, the transparent construction allowed us to get much closer to sea life than ever before.

The twist lock telescoping function on the EVO is yet another design feature that saves room in your pack by packing two sizes of pole into one unit. The telescoping features works smoothly in most conditions and locks the pole into position for reliable support. We happened to be testing our pole during a fairly heavy swell and spent most of our time under the surface to dodge the crashing waves. In doing so we continuously adjust the twist lock under water. When returning to the beach found a good bit of water inside of the pole. Although we will have to test if the dive depth had any effect on this outcome it didn’t appear prohibit the device from floating to the surface. If you are a ocean dwelling individual looking to capture incredible shots of your time in the water than the EVO is a very worthy accessory for your GoPro. It’s just as capable out of the water and is deceivingly light for optimal travel weight.

[ GearMinded ]