How to use your Hexo+ above water : Venezuela and kite surfing with Alex Caizergues

Alex Caizergues is a pro kite surfer who is a 3-time kite speed world champion, 3-time kite speed world record holder, and 2-time outright speed world record holder. Lately he traveled to Venezuela for a…

Alex Caizergues is a pro kite surfer who is a 3-time kite speed world champion, 3-time kite speed world record holder, and 2-time outright speed world record holder. Lately he traveled to Venezuela for a week in paradise and he brought his Hexo+ along to capture footage and mix it in with other angles. The result is nothing less than a cool edit that will make you want to book a flight right after you’ve watched it. We decided to get more info from him on how to capture footage above water while kitesurfing –and get to know him a bit better.

 

Hexo+: What’s your discipline and what gets you pumped?

Alex Caizergues: I started kitesurfing in 2002 and became a pro in speed kite in 2005. Like any other action sports athlete I’m seeking the adrenaline. Whether it’s trying to go as fast as possible, which is my main discipline where I hold the speed record at 104,8 km/h on half a kilometer distance, or looking for amplitude with jumps 20 m above the water, it’s just crazy to think about doing it all just using the wind.

Hexo+: What is video bringing into your world?

AC: Like any pro rider I started to create some content to communicate, feed my social networks. Once I started it also helped me keep nice souvenirs from perfect trips with nice people, and I started to spend more time on it as a real passion. What’s cool is you don’t need a heavy setup to capture and share your session. My setup is composed of 1 Hexo+, one GoPro and a pole, and few accessories (remote, lines mount,…). With this I can already produce really cool footage.

Hexo+: How did you discover Hexo+ ?

AC: I saw it on facebook during the kickstarter campaign and decided straight away to back the project. The idea of shooting myself from the air is such a big step forward when it comes to creating your own content and it was solving such a big problem for people traveling as much as I do.

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Tips on how to use it above water

Hexo+:  What is so special about using Hexo+ while shooting over water ? What is your process ?

AC:  Shooting above water while kite surfing requires a bit of training but isn’t as complicated as it might sound. The most important thing make sure your Hexo+ is not too close from your kite.

To make sure I do things right, here is the process that proves to be efficient.

  • I always define and check what I want to do before doing anything and launching the Hexo+
  • I visualize the path I want to take and where I want to position the Hexo+, once set it up and in position, I will not change its position or use the phone. I want to keep simple scenario that works, it proves to be the most efficient.
  • I stay against the wind and position the Hexo+ with wind at its back, so I face the Hexo+ and its camera. This helps to place the drone right away in the position I want when I will navigate.
  • I take off and select the position that seems the most appropriate for the type of shot I want.
  • Then I put my kite in the air, previously you can put it in the sand or water, already in position ready to go if you feel more comfortable or fast this way.

I always put the Hexo+ in the air before my kite, to avoid it to get into my lines. I can easily change the position of my kite if needed.

Then I get in the water and start riding while Hexo+ is filming.

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Hexo+: Many users are asking about the stress of flying above water, what is your advice on this specific use?

AC: Like any other drone it’s not recommended to give your Hexo+ a bath. To limit the risks here is how I do it:

  • I always fly with a full battery
  • I always set the drone in a position that I will keep, from landing to take off.
  • I use a watch with a timer to get a signal after 6 min after take off so I know it’s time to think about coming back to the shore
  • I use it mostly when the wind is offshore to get away from the beach in no time or when it’s side shore so I get amazing footage without being too far from the beach.
  • I use it mostly when there are not too many people neither on the beach or in the water as that’s when the footage is the best to watch.

The only stress comes if you drop your kite in the water and your board drifts far from you, as it takes time to get everything together and come to the shore. So I would recommend to use Hexo+ for people who feel confident they can ride without falling.

 

Hexo+: What has surprised you about Hexo+?

AC: What surprised me the most is how short of a session you need to get a lot of really cool footage.
We stayed about a week in Venezuela and I only flew once during half a day as the wind started getting really strong. The shots people always mention as “magical” are those captured by Hexo+.
It really brings a new dimension to my edits, whether it’s while riding or showing the spot to the people I’m with.

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Hexo+: What would be the other tips you would like to share with our community?

AC: Keep your phone waterproof.
At first I used a Lifeproof case, waterproof Model Fre, for my first sessions. I had one with a protection glass and I added an aqua pack armband. I experienced trouble reading the app as I had couple extra layers with the protection system, way too much sun reflection!
So I opted for a different system without the protection glass called “Lifeproof Nüüd” with the special armband and it works flawlessly.

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I always take off on a spot that is NOT protected from the wind, so Hexo+ can manage it right away. It’s better to have your Hexo+ compensate the wind from the get go. If you take off from a sheltered spot, once you move your Hexo+ into the wind, it might get surprised and be affected for few seconds before counterbalancing it which could to lead to a crash if you’re in a crowded environment. It almost happened to me once I took off aside a car with the car as a wind protection. Don’t risk it.
When I take off from the beach I do it on sand that is compact and firm so the gopro doesn’t get into the sand.

 

Travel Tips

AC: I flew with the Hexo+ in its cardboard so I could bring it into the cabin, and I kept the LipO Batteries in a LiPo bag in my backpack. I didn’t experienced any problem doing so.
For more infos on Alex here is where to find him

http://www.alexcaizergues.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlexCaizergues
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alexac21/

 

Comments/Discussions

  • Andrew

    Now maybe you should try actually shipping some units to your backers. You know, the people who actually made all this possible with their money.

  • Keith Greig

    Paradise looks wonderful, the Hexo+ and the other footage looks so clear and focused. The Hexo+ seems to be a young person’s UAV as it is aimed, quite rightly, at the more mobile generation. George Bernard Shaw once said “Youth is the most precious thing in life; it is too bad it has to be wasted on young folks.” I must admit I totally agree with the first statement and, due to age and jealousy, only to a tinsy winsy bit of the second statement. Nothing like this was around in the 60’s, 70’s & 80’s so most of our antics were either caught on cameras from the ground or not at all. Everyone under 40 should have a Hexo+ to record themselves and their family growing up and being active.

  • Karit

    Never ever rely on using the Hexo+ over water. This drone is completely unreliable and get easily totally autonomous. It happened to me an both my drone and my GoPro are gone. On top of that, even if you have proof that it wasn’t the users fault, you won’t get support because Hexo+ don’t cover crashes over water!

Matthieu
Matthieu is a co-founder of the company and has a long history in making things happens in the snowboard industry. He's been the producer of all Xavier's movie and he handles everything that has to do with communication. He also sets the bar very high in terms of footage quality ;)