You’re going to want one.
I do. And this was before seeing it in person, up close and in high def.
Santa, are you listening?
The GoPro wearable HD camera is shockproof, waterproof, crashproof and perfect for those with an active, outdoor lifestyle. And it’s affordable.
The "baby" HD Hero 960 is $179.99 — before tax — and has the same professional grade 960p, 720p and 480p (WVGA) video and 5MP timelapse photo modes, and sound recording system as the original HD Hero camera.
But if you want to splurge, you can get the Hero Naked ($259.99), Surf Hero ($269.99) or Helmet Hero ($299.99). Of course, as with most "toys," there are plenty of accessories, with various wide lenses, mounts, memory cards and batteries.
Can’t decide? Talk to the folks at the Bikefactory Honolulu (740 Ala Moana Blvd). They actually prefer that potential customers come into the store rather than ordering over the phone or online.
"We can help them decide based on their activities," sales associate Jase Kawasugi said. "They might think they need something (extra) when they really don’t. We like to talk to them in person."
Kawasugi has used his helmet cam on skateboard runs down Tantalus. It likely will help him win a court case as well.
His car was rear-ended recently, with the other driver claiming that Kawasugi caused the accident.
"I had the camera in the car, took pictures of the damage at the scene and even have the policeman saying that the other guy hit me," Kawasugi said. "If I didn’t have the footage, it would be my word against the other guy’s. I can easily put it up on the computer to show when I go to court."
The USB cable (included) makes it compatible with any computer, PC or Mac. Uploads are a breeze, making it very popular with YouTube users.
Although GoPro has been out for about eight years, it was only introduced to Hawaii a little over a year ago. Wally Parcels, president of Bikefactory Hawaii, Inc., said it’s been hard to keep the cameras in stock.
"We jumped at the opportunity to be one of the Hawaii dealers," Parcels said. "What I like about it is how easy it is to use. It’s adaptable to what you want to do … surfing, skydiving, skateboarding, paddling, river rafting, 4×4 (offroad).
"It’s so forgiving and so affordable. You don’t have to be Steven Spielberg to use it."
Or even Kalani Robb … although the pro surfer from Hawaii is one of the featured users on the GoPro.com video channels. The HD Surf Hero is mounted to the front of his board with a slow-motion view inside a barrel at Pipeline.
Among the practical applications is paddling instruction. The camera can be mounted on an outrigger canoe to shoot a paddler’s technique, and then be used by a coach to correct form and timing.
And then there are those "hero moments" that everyone wants to capture. That first Molokai paddleboard race, a hang gliding experience off Makapuu, the dare-you-to-do-it bike ride down Haleakala or providing proof that there really were whales not far off the Mokulua islands during that Sunday paddle.
The camera can be used underwater up to 180 feet and is light enough to attach to a paddle, turning it into a pole-cam. It is so lightweight (3.3 ounces) that it was used at last weekend’s Breeders’ Cup as the helmet cam worn by jockeys for the first time.
"The only thing stopping you from your hero moments is your creativity," Parcels said.
And how creative that letter to Santa might be.