Nick Woodman still remembers the day he decided to become a surfer. He was eight years old, standing in his friend Brian’s bedroom. Brian’s family had a house in Hawaii, and his walls in California were plastered with tearouts from Surfer magazine depicting palm trees, beautiful people, and the curling turquoise waves of the North Shore.
“I didn’t even know that world existed,” recalls Woodman, who grew up surrounded by tech startups in the wealthy Silicon Valley community of Atherton. “But from then on, I knew I wanted to live in that world.”
Thirty years later, Woodman is still in Silicon Valley, but he’s tan and fit and has a cheeky freckled grin that suggests he’s living the good life. He should be grinning. He’s the founder and CEO of GoPro—one of the world’s fastest growing camera companies, now worth an estimated $2.25 billion. He’s created a device that helps people capture and share their passions from the North Shore and way beyond.
(Cover story of the September 2013 issue of Triton, the UC San Diego alumni magazine. Won Best Article of the Year in the CASE Awards of Excellence for the western division)