The World's Newest Billionaire: A 36-Year-Old 'Surfer Dude' Named Nicholas Woodman

by James Gilbert

The exclusive club of billionaires has inducted a new member, as a 36-year-old surfer has spearheaded his way into the 10-figure club.

Nick Woodman is the founder and CEO of GoPro, the company that makes wearable and mountable HD cameras at an affordable price.

Last week, it was announced that Foxconn had purchased 8.88% of Woodman’s camera company for $200 million.

Forbes revealed that Woodman is the majority owner, and even if he owns the minimum of 51%, that would pin his stake in the company at $1.15 billion.

GoPro came about when Woodman was surfing in Australia and Indonesia for five months in 2002, when he was frustrated that he couldn’t take good action shots of himself while surfing.

At the time, surfers were using disposable cameras strapped to their wrists with a rubber band, with the cameras often flying off in the middle of the action, hitting them in the face.

Woodman wanted to invent a strong, adjustable, elastic band that could secure a camera to a person's body as they participated in an extreme sport.

To fund the project, Woodman and his now-wife purchased 600 belts made of seashells from a Bali market, each costing them $1.90 to make.

When the Woodmans returned to the states, they drove up and down California's coast selling the belts for as much as $60 a pop.

With that money and a $35,000 loan from his mother, Woodman created the first GoPro camera straps.

The company's first break came in 2004, when a Japanese company ordered 100 items at an action sports tradeshow.

Woodman eventually began creating his own cameras, and now skateboarders, rally car drivers, and all sorts of extreme athletes use them religiously.

Now, GoPro's cameras retail for $300 with all sorts of add-ons that can be purchased to capture amazing moments in real-time. The company has grown to 150 people, and Woodman is rolling in cash.

Bravo, Mr. Woodman, for being a true entrepreneurial success story.

James Gilbert | Elite.