GoPro, the versatile brand of camera you often see attached to helmets, cars, and drones, has captured some of the most incredible footage of the past decade. With the growing popularity of GoPro cameras among athletes and daredevils, it’s little wonder that some of the most unbelievable marvels of human determination and bravery have been caught in high definition. GoPro even has an award-winning YouTube channel dedicated to showcasing some of the best footage submitted from users. These are some of the most breath-taking, death-defying and heart-wrenching stunts ever caught on a GoPro.
In March of 2014, French Rally Cup driver Guerlain Chicherit attempted to break the world record for the longest ramp jump in a car. The target for the incredible final jump was a distance of 110.5 yards (101 meters) taken at almost 100 mph (160 kph). On the day of the jump, Chicherit looked visibly nervous. “When I woke up the morning of jump day, I called my wife and told her that I had a bad feeling,” he said afterwards. But with a two-year effort put into building the car for the jump, he couldn’t afford to turn back.
The GoPro camera inside the car captured the moment in Chicherit’s eyes where he realized he had made a mistake and truly believed he was about to die. A second later, the camera shows Chicherit thrown around in the cabin as the car goes into a nose-forward roll. Despite the horrific nature of the crash, Chicherit came away mostly unharmed. He may not have shattered the world record, but he came away with footage of one deeply personal experience that now has touched the hearts of millions.
On August 16, 1960, Joe Kittinger, Jr. made history by jumping from 102,800 feet with a parachute. On October 14, 2012, Felix Baumgartner followed in Kittinger’s footsteps by jumping from nearly 24 miles above the Earth in a stratospheric capsule. As he opened the capsule door to stand at the edge, looking down at the hills and valleys miles below, Baumgartner made one small speech before he jumped: “I wish you could see what I can see. Sometimes you have to be up really high to understand how small you are. I’m coming home now.”
At first, everything appeared to be going well, but then Baumgartner revealed that he had gone into a deadly spin. You can see his heart rate drop to zero several times in the video as the force causes him to pass out momentarily. Thankfully, he managed to correct himself, much to the relief of ground control. Baumgartner deployed his parachute at 8000 feet and landed safely on the ground below, to congratulations from Kittinger himself. He set three world records, including the feat of becoming the first diver to break the Mach 1 sound barrier. His incredible jump inspired millions to reach for the stars and beyond.
The 2013 Red Bull Rampage, an event where professional mountain bikers navigate a narrow cliff to the finish line, saw a pretty spectacular stunt from rider Kelly McGarry. The New Zealander showed off for the crowd by pulling a backflip over a 72-foot-long, treacherous canyon gap, to roars of applause from the crowd.
Kelly McGarry finished in second place, and while he may not have won the race, he certainly won the crowd, taking home the best trick award for his canyon gap backflip. McGarry died on February 1, 2016, three years after his stunt, of a heart attack while biking on the Fernhill Loop Track in Central Otago in New Zealand. Perhaps he would best have liked to have been remembered as the free, adventurous spirit that he was: a person who would take a backflip over a canyon just because it was there.