Action Cams for Windsurfing. GoPro vs Insta 360

Capturing the thrill and excitement of windsurfing can be challenging, but with the rise of action cameras, it has become easier than ever to record your sessions on the water.

I’ve had a GoPro for many years. I got my first one back in 2010 when they released the first HD version of the camera. Since then I’ve had a few different versions as I’ve replaced ones that I’ve broken or that have stopped working. They are quite durable, but I guess the ravages of windsurfing put them through their paces.

I was in the market for a new one as my current GoPro was getting a little worse for wear. The new versions looked good but didn’t really offer much in the way of new features. On the other hand, the latest offering from Insta360, the X3 looked very interesting indeed.

360º Shots

Obviously, the most obvious difference between the Insta360 X3 and a GoPro is the fact that it shoots an entire 360º view. It does this by filming from two 180º fish eye lenses on each side of the camera and then stitching them together. Its ‘invisible selfie stick’ technology even removes the selfie stick that it’s mounted on for you to give some amazing views.

Drone shot
Drone shot

You can then export the videos as 360º files that allow people to explore the entire view themselves. Or, you can ‘reframe’ the footage using the Insta 360 editing software. This allows you to focus on a particular part of the entire 360º view. This is perfect for windsurfing and other action sports. It means you can simply film the entire 360º view the whole time and then just pick and choose the bits you want to see after the fact. If you pull off a move that looks good from a forward-facing view you can just show that in your video. If it looks better looking backwards then you use that view instead. Sailing in front of a friend who suddenly stacks it in spectacular style? Usually, you’d miss the moment unless you were lucky enough to have the camera pointing at them at the right time. However, with the Insta360º you’ll catch the action and can focus on it when you reframe the footage.


One of the standout features of the Insta360 X3 is its ability to capture 5.7K resolution video at 30 frames per second. This means that you can record incredibly detailed and lifelike footage, whether you’re filming a scenic landscape or an action-packed adventure. Of course, once you edit this footage and re-frame it to show just the section of the 360º view that you want the resolution reduces. This isn’t an issue though thanks to the fact that it records in 5.7k which in my experience has been plenty for most footage.

Another impressive feature of the Insta360 X3 is its advanced stabilization technology. The camera uses a six-axis gyro to keep your footage steady and smooth, even when you’re on the move. This is especially useful when filming action sports or fast-paced activities such as windsurfing. It ensures that your footage remains clear and focused even when you’re moving quickly. The horizon fix stabilisation is amazing, you can move the camera around as much as you want and the horizon just remains level. This is ideal for windsurfing as I often have the camera mounted on the rig which can be at all sorts of angles but this just doesn’t matter as the camera and its software keep the view level at all times.

Mounting Options

I always used to mount my GoPro either on my helmet for POV shooting or right at the top of my mast for a birds-eye view. None of these were perfect but they worked well enough. I’m still experimenting with Insta 360 mounting options but so far the best option seems to be using the Back Bar mount attached to my harness. This puts the camera at head height just behind me and creates the impression of having a small drone following me around.

It does mean I can’t see or control the camera as it’s out of reach but the shots are great. I’m going to try a few other options mounting it to my boom and mast, as well as on my helmet.

Unfortunately, the Insta360 accessories feel a little flimsy and there have been quite a few reports of them failing. Not ideal and it does make me a little reluctant to use the camera in crazy conditions but I’m sure I’ll get used to it. I do of course have it tethered to something just in case the mounting accessories do break. I’ve managed to do this by putting the camera into a utility case. This is essentially a metal frame for the camera that has an attachment point for a tripod mount and a GoPro mount. More importantly, it allows me to attach some kite line to it that acts as a tether. It’s still a little worrying though as the lenses themselves look quite vulnerable so I wouldn’t really want the camera flying around attached to a tether for too long.

Other Uses

The Insta360 X3 is small enough to fit in your pocket, making it easy to take with you wherever you go. It should therefore be a good camera for all sorts of uses and can produce some unique results with its 360º view. The footage I’ve got from my surf ski has been good, especially when paddling with others as the 360º view means I’m always filming everyone wherever they are. It’s also nice being able to pan and zoom after the fact to make the video a little more dynamic.


Overall, the Insta360 X3 is an impressive camera that offers a range of advanced features and stunning image quality in a compact and portable package. For action sports, the Insta360 X3 is definitely worth considering. The only real downside is that it doesn’t feel quite as robust as the GoPro. The lenses are vulnerable to damage, the accessories aren’t great and despite being waterproof I do feel as though it’s a little too delicate for the beating it’s likely to take whilst doing high-energy watersports.

1 Response

  1. Avatar forComment Author Mum x says:

    Boys and their toys!
    Looks good though
    Does it take very long to edit etc ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Avatar forComment Author

Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

You may also like...