A quick guide to your next skate camcorder…

This week I decided to review three potential skate camcorders!

GOPRO HERO HELMET WIDE

The GOPRO Helmet can make even the best dressed, discerning individual, look like he is just about to take his canary down the mine. A camera that can attach to most things, enables riders to film for nearly an hour, using a 2Gb memory card, and capture a whole bunch of photos at 5MP, cannot be frowned upon. The helmet cam is waterproof and wireless and therefore demands a price tag of $299 (£191.96 approx). Designed and tested by a combination of scientists and sportsman, the camera is practical as well as robust. The fact that the camera is detachable, allows the GOPRO to double as a hand-held camera as well, thus catapulting up the video camera league and into the limelight.

PURE DIGITAL PSV-352 POINT-AND-SHOOT CAMCORDER

Next on my list… The PSV-352 Point-and-Shoot from Pure Digital. This one stood out to me for a number of reasons. Not only is it highly recommended amongst online reviews for its video capabilities, but it also has a very slick, stylish look about it. The in-built software on the camera allows users to upload skate videos quickly and easily to YouTube and therefore is a favourite amongst “guerrilla” directors. A further benefit of the PSV-352 is its size and ability to fit into your average trouser pocket. The camcorder does look a little bit like a phone, but don’t be fooled the picture quality is nowhere near as bad. The price? $179 (£114.92 approx)! Bargain

CANON GL1 CAMCORDER

Third and finally, a more conventional looking skate camcorder. This is what we think of when we see online videos…a guy holding a camcorder that, believe it or not, actually looks, sounds and tastes like a camcorder. We don’t end up looking like we’re about to dig up some coal (GoPro), or like we’re sending a text message (PSV-352), we look like we’re filming our friends skateboard…simple. The GL1 can fall back on a rich ancestry of skateboarding camcorders, although this version seems to be simpler, and more affordable for even the most ‘professional’ unprofessional director. The camcorder has all the features you’d expect, like 27 different shutter speeds, manual focus as well as digital effects. The GL1 is a little dated on the market, but we don’t care. We love the look of the thing, it’s traditional, simple and its anything but trendy.  At $2699 (£1732.79 approx), it’s a lot more expensive than the previous contenders, but you pay for quality, as well as the knowledge that you look like a skateboard director, instead of a clueless amateur. With the GL1, everyone will want to be your friend… If you do get one, get ready for your life to change. Expensive winner!!

If you would like to add to my suggestions then feel free!!

If you have any extreme sports photos (that you took yourself), why not enter the XTC photo competition for a chance to win a Solar Powered Backpack?! Check it out at XTC Photo Competition

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XTC Photo Competition – Are you a budding Bailey?

Here, at XTC headquarters, we are proud to announce the ‘XTC Photo Competition’! The prize; a Solar Powered Back Pack. A “must-have” necessity in a modern world, whose undefined boundaries and super-high speed means that it is more important than ever to be able to connect, charge and surf whilst on the move.

How many times have you been caught short? Without battery on your phone, you turn from being a Paris Hilton socialite, into a Lord Lucan loner. Without music on your i-pod, one is forced to listen to old ladies’ conversations about how much heat M&S pantaloons can generate. And without one’s camera, we would have no chance of recalling what/who we did the previous night!

That is why, in return for a photo of what extreme sports mean to you, we are willing to part ways with one of these super-charged transporters. Photos of you flying through the air on your pogo stick are great…but if it also portrays, in an artistic manner, the reason why you love extreme sports…then you’re onto a winner.

So, if you’re a budding Bailey, or a capable Caissie, then let’s see what you can do!

Post photos at the Facebook Fan Page

Check the rules at the XTC website

Happy snapping!

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Is that a Wenger Giant Swiss Army Knife in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

As I sit here, Wenger Giant Army knife held in both hands, I suck on my impeccably cut cigar, quaff on my freshly opened Peroni, gorge a fish and repair my Smith and Weston with the special self-centering screwdriver for gunsights, I think to myself “if your pen knife cant remove the wax from your ski’s, then it probably ain’t a pen-knife”.

The ski wax scraper, however, is not its only feature… not by a long shot. The limited edition knife was released to celebrate 100 years of Swiss Army craftsmanship, and practically has a function for each preceding year. The website www.wengerna.com lists 87 implements for this monster army knife, stating “What it does not have, you do not need”. And by the looks of it, this comment is true.

The army knife is nearly as long as a London Bus, and is as heavy as a walrus, but it needs to be in order to house its full range of handy tools. For the fisherman there is a nifty ‘Fish Disgorger’, for the Golfer there is a “Golf Reamer”, and of course it wouldn’t be a pen knife without the customary “corkscrew”. But apart from people like me, who’s going to buy one of these pocketable pen-knives?

The knife caters for a very niche group of consumers. It is in fact intended for collectors of army knives, as it is too impractical to carry on a day to day basis, and therefore scares away normal people. Nevertheless the impracticality of transporting the knife is surely balanced by the assortment of instruments on board. The knife is four times as large as the classic knife, and consequently broke into the 2008 Book of Guinness world Records, for the “most functions on a pen-knife”.

But at $1,400, we don’t have enough cash in our pockets, let alone enough room.

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Traceur or Artist? You decide.

The art of movement…

Picasso, Monet and van Gogh…all great European artists. Belle, Foucan, Vigroux…all great European Parkour athletes (traceurs). But what separates these two sets of individuals? Or are they more similar than first thought?

If you didn’t already know, Parkour is a non-competitive, physical discipline of French origin in which participants run along a route, attempting to negotiate obstacles in the most efficient way possible. Beautiful. So, like great artists, traceurs express themselves in modern society, like a salmon swimming up stream in a world of conformist fish.

Unlike most sports, but akin to art, Parkour is non-competitive. There are no World Championships to decide the definitive “Traceur of the World”. It is a sport, nay an art of movement, whose beauty is subjective. Parkour is supposed to be about efficiency, and fluency of movement, and as a consequence is compared to martial arts, as it involves athleticism, agility and strength. However instead of round-house kicking Jackie Chan, traceurs navigate their way round houses by vaulting and climbing walls. They see every day impediments, such as staircases and walls, as facilitators of flux.

The best traceurs make their movements in a style that seems effortless, but the professionals say that Parkour is not only physical, but it is also mentally and emotionally draining. To Foucan, Belle and Vigroux, the streets are their canvas. Their vision and fleet of foot are their brushes, and their speed and effectiveness in traversing urban landscapes are their art.

So what is the difference? Simple. Great artists attempt to replicate and portray movement, traceurs live it.

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What makes Pastrana, Pancho and Knoxville cool, is it just their names?

 The explosion of popular extreme stunt series’, such as Nitro Circus and Dirty Sanchez, has spat out groups of men (and the occasional woman), who enjoy throwing themselves through the pain barrier…and love videoing it at the same time! And for this, we thank them…

…without programmes like Jackass, we would have no Jonny Knoxville tazering his nipple…no Travis Pastrana breaking the World Record for the longest jump in a rally car… and of course no Pancho falling asleep. But what do we really love about these maniacal warriors who seem to throw themselves on MTV every single night? Is it their definitive bravery? Their ultimate stupidity? Their desire to please and entertain? It may even be their love for all-in-one animal suits. Or is it that they’ve all got cool names; Pastrana, Margera, Passemante, Pancho, Wee Man…the list goes on. Sounding more and more like an Italian soup recipe.

Where were the Knoxville’s and (steve) O’s at my school? They definitely were not in my Religious Education set. Oh no…God had a plan for this class of dangerous and daring prodigies. This began with their names, and from then on they were destined for television greatness.

…just a thought.

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I have seen the future and it is spokeless…

Alberto Del Biondi’s Spokeless Concept Bike.

I have seen the future and it is spokeless…

When I was young, I had a little, rusty, red bike. It had a horn instead of a bell, and trailing behind were big old stabilizers. The stabilizers transformed my tasty two-wheeler into something that looked more like the complex innards of a clock tower. It had more spokes than you could shake a stick at. Suffice to say, the beautiful morning in ’91, when my father sawed off my stabilizers, became the first day of the rest of my life. I was as fast as Mansell, and as trendy as Hill. Then, 20 years later I saw this…

The Spokeless Concept Bike, courtesy of Alberto Del Biondi. The bike took its place in storecrowd.com’s ‘Top 25 Gadgets for Men 2009’, not only for its novel concept, but also its bold and revolutionary design. Leaving the audience baffled as to its practicality, the bike is a work of art. The bold, black frame is in contrast to the ‘void’ created in the wheel, casting an imposing silhouette.

But this is what we want to see from the creators and craftsmen of this world. An everyday object, recreated with an innovative concept, and beautiful design. All we need now is one of those hoverboards (like out of ‘Back to the Future’), and life will be perfect. Now, where did he put those stabilizers…?

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Can we have a G-1 Glass-Top Pool Table please?!

What we want for Christmas and Birthday combined…

…a G-1 Glass-top Billiard Table!

Over the years I’ve had the chance to play on all sorts of pool tables. Fast, slow, green, blue, drink stained, ripped, sloping. The list goes on. But never have I played on a glass top table. Heck, I’ve never even seen one.

So, when the uber-inventive guys at Nottage, from Australia, came out with a new, futuristic pool table, I had to have a look at it. But how does it work? Surely I won’t be able to screw the white ball off the yellow to leave me on the brown, right?! It turns out I am wrong. It works, apparently, because the playing area is “composed of the patented Vitrik transparent playing surface on top of a 15mm toughened glass top.”

So it plays well, and of course it looks aesthetically orgasmic. The glass is not just for style, it serves a practical purpose as well. Like slate, glass “isn’t prone to sagging or warping, so provides a great alternative…for a game of pool.”

So it’ll stay flat and rigid…great…but what about my backspin? What’s this Vitrik stuff then? Nottage say it “replicates rolling resistance of an average-speed cloth, is hard wearing and allows spin to be applied and retains consistent roll characteristics over it’s lifetime.” Lovely…just what I wanted to hear.

So let’s talk business. How much do you want for it? Their website, http://www.nottagedesign.com/, asks me to shell out $43,900 (AUD). I go to an online money converter and find myself writing an imaginary cheque for a cool £24,668.80!

When you get one, let me know, I’ll come knocking, Jimmy White signed cue in hand.

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