Pro Sound News:
By Steve Harvey

Southern California--About 12 years ago, Tim Denmark realized that surfing was the one televised sport without a soundtrack. Denmark, who has been in sports television for 20 years, decided to develop a waterproof wireless microphone system. "My first rig was a plastic box that I put a Radio Shack transmitter in. We put the transmitter and the microphone on the surfboard, so all you heard was water rushing over the element, like a toilet flushing!" laughs Denmark, who operates under the company name H2audiO.

He next tried a system developed by James Stoffo at Professional Wireless Systems in Florida, but that box was too big. "It was obvious that the system had to go on the surfer," says Denmark, who would periodically try out ideas over the ensuing years.

He continues, "This time last year, I heard that they had surfing at the X Games, and that Fox Sports, my primary work, was starting Fuel Television, which was an extreme channel. I thought, between these two new opportunities for surfing, it's time to get this going."

Denmark incorporated an Aqua Pac modified by Mike Silverman of Hydroaudio into a modified walkie-talkie harness, adding a Lectrosonics transmitter and Countryman mic with waterproof connectors. "That allowed the surfer a lot of freedom and kept the transmitter up high." The application has a patent pending.

A job with ESPN last December took Denmark to Hawaii, where he hooked up with Peter Noble, an Australian producer with sports programming packager TWI, and Randy Rarick, director of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. With help from pro surfer Jamie O'Brian, Denmark demonstrated his system: "You could hear all those things that I knew could be heard--the sound of the breaking waves, the paddling, the talking, that ambient sound that's been missing all these years from surfing on television."

Enthusiasm began to build: Noble invited him to Australia, where he met with the Association of Professional Surfers, then Denmark was taken to Fiji by sports apparel manufacturer Quicksilver for the Kelly Slater Invitational. Slater had Denmark wire-up guest celebrities, including Jackson Browne and Nick Lachey, for the broadcast event.

Then, at ESPN's recent X Games X competition, Denmark got to wire a couple of surfers per heat. "The audio was fantastic. I was receiving using my Lectrosonic 211s and the multi-coupler. I used James Stoffo's helical antennas and the [Lectrosonic] MM400 transmitters, with DPA microphones specially modified to be waterproof. [DPA's] Bruce Myers has been a great help."

Denmark is now working with the makers of the Lycra contest jerseys to incorporate a mic and transmitter. "The biggest problem I've been having is getting the surfers used to wearing the contest jerseys, with the microphone, and getting someone to send me to these locations," he reveals.

But momentum continues to build, he reports. "I'm currently getting ready for the MTV show, Made , in which Brad Gerlach is going to teach a girl how to surf in just one month. And I've been entered into the budget for the Triple Crown, starting November 10 in Hawaii."