Surfer Joel Parkinson may want to think twice about flipping another surfer the bird during the Bells Beach, Australia, ASP event this week, especially if he hears the not-so-faint buzz of a flying weedwhacker overhead. In the finals of the first ASP event of 2013, a photographer caught Parkinson offering a one finger salute to Kelly Slater as the 11-time champ dropped in on him. This wednesday, FOX Sports' eight-propellor "octocopter" will drop in on surfers to offer online viewers live, up-close, aerial coverage of the 52nd Rip Curl Pro.
"Never before has a surfing broadcaster been able to provide live vision so close to the heart of the battle,” said FUEL TV's Adam Howarth. “The addition of Foxkopter to FUEL TV’s live Rip Curl Pro broadcast will significantly enhance our coverage providing greater depth and quality of the prestigious surf event.”
It's not the first time the drone has been used to record live footage of a sporting event. Fox Sports used the octocopter to shoot a Big Bash League cricket match in December, 2012. It's also not the first time a drone has been flown above an ASP event. In 2011, an Extreme Aerials quadrocopter was used to record the action at Bells Beach. The FoxKopter is equipped with a 1920 x 1080i HD camera with a stabilised lens, 3D GPS positioning, and 360 degree panning.
For more on the history of drones in adventure filmmaking, check out "How Military Drones Are Changing Adventure Filmmaking," and "Seminal Moments in Drone-Assisted Adventure Filmmaking."