Red Bull Wake Pool

A wakeboarder competes in the Red Bull Wakepool event at Kits pool in Vancouver.
A wakeboarder competes in the Red Bull Wakepool event at Kits pool in Vancouver.

Red Bull keeps me shooting interesting events. In August this year they held a wakeboarding event in Kits Pool in Vancouver. For those of you who aren’t in the know, Kitsilano pool is a 137.5 meter outdoor swimming pool by Kits beach in Vancouver. It’s too small for a boat but that wasn’t the point anyway, instead they wanted to use their new high speed winch that mounts on the back of the Sugga, a 1957 Volvo SUV. There were 3 different rails and a jump that were built by Ivan Traas and put into place along the length of the pool with help from a lot of people. Actually this part had to be done twice as there was a pre event test the night before as well, just to make sure everything would go smoothly on the big night. And it was a good thing I went the night before to test the lights…

Pocket Wizards and Water

I set up three alien bees lights, and a few Nikon SB800’s around the pool, all hooked up to Pocket Wizard Multimax’s. My normal range for the Mulitmax falls into the 500-1000 foot range area, and although I had heard that the range could be affected by water I assumed that it wouldn’t be too bad. The pool is 450 feet long, so even if I had trouble from one end I should be able to shoot from the middle no problem. I was wrong. I found that shooting across the water I was limited to about 100 to 150 feet, no where near enough to shoot with the number of lights I wanted. I packed up all my gear and went home to spend some time figuring it all out.

The next morning I went by Beau Photo and Home Depot and bought enough gear to stadium rig the entire perimeter of the pool, 800 feet of wire and household to mini and household to pc sync cables for all the flashes. This was my backup plan, I still had one more trick I wanted to try. I attached the pocket wizard receivers to the tops of tall light stands and ran the sync cables down to the lights. I hoped that the added height would get the pocket wizards far enough from the water that the range would increase to 500 feet again. It worked amazingly well and saved me a lot of wiring. With the receivers at about 6′ off the ground the range was less than 150 feet, however with the receivers about 12′ off the ground I managed to shoot the entire pool from about 600 feet away. Check out some of the photos below.