At the Hapuna Rough Water Swim Saturday, an eye in the sky hovered hundreds of feet above, watching as nearly 300 participants headed out for the one-mile race.
For those stuck on the shore, following the race was a difficult experience, trying to catch a glimpse of a familiar swim cap through the splashing water. But recent Hawaii Preparatory Academy graduates Hiro Ueno and Bo Bleckel had front row seats to the action.
Ueno controlled the drone from shore, with live video being instantly transmitted back to a pair of goggles. “We see exactly what it sees. That first person view is incredible,” said Ueno. “It can sometimes be a bit disorienting, but I think our biggest opposition is the wind.”
Hapuna Rough Water Swim Race Director Mark Noetzel — who is also a dean at HPA — was glad to have the duo and their drone on-site for the event. “It’s pretty cool because it gives us such a different perspective,” said Noetzel. “As a swimmer you are surrounded by water and have no idea where you are in the layout of the scene around you. It gives us an opportunity to show the swimmers how it actually looks.” … (Read more)