If you're shooting surface stuff in relatively controlled conditions, I'd go with a Canon Powershot SX200, or whatever the recent version is, with a waterproof deck box. It isn't a waterproof unit but is very compact and boasts a 12x zoom which is great for nailing wildlife shots.
I have a Go Pro for whitewater and rough ocean action but seldom use it because the case muffles sound. I have been through a series of Optios, which were decent for either handheld or deck mount, and you could also take them under with you or just hold over the side to get shots of wrecks or whatever. None of them survived much more than a year of heavy use. I switched to a Nikon AW 100 for the latest round and photo/video quality has been better.
However, in cold mountain whitewater situations, the Optios and the Nikon are subject to internal fogging, especially the Nikon. Still looking for the perfect solution.
I always biner the strap - if deck mount, do a grab loop or security bar; if handheld, to the PFD.
Touring Kayak Paddles
PFD's (Life Jackets)
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