Mike Gatzios (left) and Tim Denmark hold up one of the specially outfitted surfing jerseys.
Huntington Beach, CA (August 26, 2011)--A1 mixer/sound designer Gary Vahling looked to the Lectrosonics MM400c water-resistant wireless transmitter to capture the recent U.S. Open of Surfing.
"I knew we needed something lightweight, reliable and most of all, water resistant; the Lectrosonics MM400c is absolutely perfect for a job like this one," mentions Vahling. "I was looking for a transmitter that could deliver great sound quality, but wasn't cumbersome to the surfers. These athletes are not as used to being wired for sound like the actors in Hollywood, so it was really important to find a solution that wouldn't hinder them in any way during the competition. The Lectrosonics MM400c transmitter is small enough not to add any of those further distractions."
Surfers were paired with a Countryman B6 that was strung along the inside of the contestant's collar. Tim Denmark of H2audiO and A2 Mike Gatzios were in charge of field operations during the surfing competition and relayed their audio cues and notes to Vahling in the production truck a few hundred yards away.
"It's incredible to help build a new audio platform in sports," says Denmark. "We were pioneering innovative techniques to bring the viewer closer than ever before. One of the surfers mentioned to me his mother called them up after a heat and was so excited that she could actually hear him while he was on the board. The stuff we can do now is just amazing."
The MM400c's were used in combination with Venue receivers to help transmit the "gnarly" sounds of the surfers from 150 yards away. "We gave T4 IFB transmitters and R1A's to our sideline reporters, which coupled with ALP-620 antennas, which worked out great," adds Gatzios.
The U.S. Open of Surfing was a nine-day event that ran from July 30 to August 7 and was one of the world's largest competitions on the ASP (Association of Surfing Professionals) tour for both men and women.