GoPro Is The Perfect Gift For The Traveling Race Fan

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Ever seen a first person, point-of-view of a surfer paddling hectically into the oncoming path of a giant wave, hopping to their feet just in time to catch the crest, picking up momentum and barreling downward into the watery tunnel?What about a skier, bombing down the side of a snowy, white-capped mountainside, cutting from side to side as they carve their way across the face, snow spray flying out behind?

Or, what about a man leaping off the side of a cliff, seemingly nothing but a backpack strapped to his body, hands and arms splayed out at right angles, the rushing air and rapidly approaching ground halted only when the cord is pulled and the parachute billows out behind, bringing the downward ascent to a sudden halt, as the, then suspended flyer, eases gently down to the ground.

All of these situations and vicarious online experiences are possible thanks almost solely to a handy, versatile little product, which has taken the action sports world by storm in recent years – the GoPro camera.

The Company

A short missive under the “About Us” page on GoPro’s website offers the most simplistic and concise description of what exactly it is the company does, “GoPro makes the world’s most versatile cameras.” Short, sweet and to the point – also, wholly accurate. Owner and CEO, Nicholas Woodman founded GoPro, which was originally named Woodman Labs, Inc., in 2002. He had just returned home to San Mateo, California after a surfing trip to the sandy beaches and azure waves of Australia. While there, he attempted to capture high quality pictures of his surfing adventures via the help of amateur photographers, but found that the results – and the photographers access to equipment capable of taking high-resolution pictures and more – were less than ideal.

He, like any great entrepreneur, approached his problem as an opportunity to find a solution, not only for him, but also for action sport enthusiasts worldwide. The 37-year-old Woodman – now one of America’s youngest billionaires – initially raised money for his fledgling endeavor by selling belts and camera straps made of beads and shells out of the back of his VW van. By 2004, the company had sold its first camera system, which used 35mm film. Now, a decade later, after the company’s sales continually doubled on an annual basis, GoPro is valued at approximately $2.95 billion.

The Product(s)

Think it. See it. Do it. This is the GoPro motto – well, less a motto and more a way of life – and they’ve created a line of camera systems built for this exact approach to the world. Everything, from the company name, GoPro – named so because of Woodman’s focus on a professional quality recording product he wanted to produce for professional grade athletes – to the name of the actual cameras – they call their camera systems, HERO – belies a company focused on going out and making the world – and life – your own.

Achieving, dreaming, finding, seeking, trying, feeling – living. The camera systems themselves, which started from the lowly 35mm offering, have gone through a number of iterations over the years. The original, called the GoPro 35mm Hero, All-Season Sports Camera was first introduced to the world in September 2004 at San Diego’s Action Sports Retailer trade show.

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The first digital version of the GoPro, the Digital HERO 3, was introduced in 2007 – it boasted a three mega-pixel camera and shot in standard definition 512 x 384. By 2010, GoPro had given us its first high-definition offering – the HD HERO 960, which – surprise, surprise – shoots in a maximum of 960p.

Advances came hard and fast after the initial HD HERO, as the last three years have seen the releases of the HD HERO Naked, the HERO 2, HERO 3, HERO 3+ and the companies latest offering, the HERO 4, which boasts all kinds of new upgrades and comes in both a Black and Silver edition. GoPro, beyond simply offering the cameras themselves, also now offers a variety of mounts, accessories, apps and software.

The Future

Woodman, as a young entrepreneur and idealistic dreamer, of course sees no limitations for the potential of both his product and his company. “The vision now is just to enable as many stoked consumers as possible with GoPro’s so they can document their lives and share it online,” Woodman says in a clip on their site entitled, “The GoPro Story.”

He claims that his greatest joy comes from logging onto GoPro’s Facebook page and seeing all the people across the world using the rugged little cameras to document their forays into some of the most amazing corners of the globe. His dream, beyond continuing to build the GoPro brand, is for everyone, young and old, to have a GoPro of their own, so that they too can share their experiences and communicate with the world.

As the company site tagline says; “Be a HERO…GoPro.”

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