Wednesday April 23, 2014

Record this: turn it off

For those who thought today’s culture of narcissism reached its zenith with Facebook, meet GoPro.

Skiers, snowboarders, mountain bikers, skydivers — none are immune to the desire to record humdrum soft adventure and attempt to turn it into a Warren Miller-style flick.

From kiddies on the bunny slope to oldsters downhilling at Sun Peaks Resort, the urge to strap a tiny video recorder to a helmet and push “record” — on what is otherwise an everyday occurrence — is growing.

It doesn’t stop there, however. Like the uncle who forced you to watch his vacation slide show 30 years ago, the self-obsessed are compelled to show the world their ride-bike-ski through YouTube — to the boredom of their friends and family who click on the link sent through email.

Sure, the technology can be used to improve sports performance. Even cellphones can be used to provide slow-motion recording for sports — letting dad fix his golf swing or helping junior to improve his slapshot.

But more than anything, video is about one thing: me.

In a feature on helmet cams this week, The Daily News spoke to a longtime enthusiast with Kamloops Skydiving Club who said the small size of the new video technology makes it an invaluable teaching tool for technique.

Dean Schryver added, however, “a lot of it is used for a kind of ‘look at me.’ ”

Through Facebook we’ve learned to post our best selfies and become obsessed with personal image-making. Now the simple pleasures of skiing or mountain biking must be put on video and shared with the few who care.

For decades we’ve taken photos to remind us of a peak moment on a mountain or the post-thrill at the bottom of the hill. The ride was the goal itself, not the self-aggrandizing recording of the moments.

Timothy Leary once advised us to “turn on, tune in and drop out.” Today, outdoor sports
enthusiasts ought to tune in by turning it off.

We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.

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