I get asked every couple weeks about the underwater monopod / polecam pole I use with GoPro HERO cameras while SCUBA diving. There are probably quite a few options out there, but the monopod I’ve been using for over a year now is the Quik Pod DSLR Monopod, a $36 telescoping monopod made of aluminum and plastic. The Quick Pod is 18 inches when retracted and 53 inches when fully extended. At the tip is a quick-release camera plate with a standard 1/4-20 mounting screw.
Quick Pod DSLR Monopod with GoPro Hero 2 mounted, retracted and extended
The monopod is fairly sturdy, although I’d never use it with a heavy camera like a DSLR (I wonder why “DSLR” is in the name—totally bizarre). The extendable legs lock in place with a lock that is easy to engage and disengate, even with gloves on. After dozens of dives, the telescoping pole is in great condition—it still looks new. However, the metal screws in the tip and quick-release mount are not made of stainless steel and are slowly rusting away; at some point, they will probably break or disintegrate, at which point a repair or replacement will be necessary.
Because the monopod comes with a standard 1/4-20 mounting screw on the quick-release plate, you’ll need to buy mounting accessories to attach a housed GoPro. The easiest way is to use a GoPro Tripod Mount, which will allow you to attach standard GoPro articulating segments or the GoPro itself. If you want something more sturdy, Ultralight GoPro accessories work very well. The Ultralight AD-GO puts a ULCS ball on a GoPro, and the GP-Cage puts a ULCS ball on the housing without relying on the strength of the GoPro’s plastic tabs. A ULCS clamp holds the two together.
Right to left: GoPro mounted with standard GoPro parts, ULCS AD-GO and AD-1420 tripod ball, ULCS GP-Cage
One of my favorite things to do with the Quick Pod is to mount my GoPro to my tank, which shows the viewer my exact view while diving. I’ve been using my GoPro / Quick Pod setup to collect context footage for use in Wetpixel Expedition slideshows, and for playing with sharks. A few examples are below—enjoy! Special thanks to Terry Schuller of Ultralight Control Systems, who originally suggested that I take a look at the Quick Pod.
Me, with GoPro mounted on my back. Photo: Don Kehoe
NOTE: Be sure to use a GoPro housing with a flat port. The standard GoPro housing uses a tiny dome port and will not focus underwater.
This video was done with a more robust pole setup: