Ever since GoPro popularized wearable HD personal cameras (and spawned a legion of imitators), the internet has been flooded with videos of people doing awesome stuff. Brave adventurers risk broken bones, cranial trauma, and speeding tickets to give us a window into their death-defying, adrenaline-fueled lives.
What this means is that we get to live vicariously through their first-person videos from the safety and comfort of our homes (or workplaces, let’s be honest).
Want to jump out of a plane? Break the speed limit? Fly like an eagle? The internet’s got you covered.
Skydiving is the go-to action sport, and you’ll have no trouble finding videos of people jumping out of planes and freefalling to the earth. Thanks to this video, you can pretend you’re one of those people. The sound cuts out about halfway through, but it would be full of yelling and cursing if it was us up there.
Wingsuit flying is the next logical step after skydiving—at least until science perfects personal jetpacks. Here we have a GoPro-equipped wingsuit jumper showing us normal, ground-dwelling civilians what it’s like to sail through the sky in a superhero costume.
Wingsuit flyers are required to have completed 200 freefall skydives before they get to wear those suits, but the reward of internet fame is clearly worth it.
Working on a Radio Tower
You’ve probably seen a radio tower before, but have you ever wondered if there are people who have to climb them to perform routine maintenance and repairs? As it turns out, there are! While we’re sitting safe in our cubicles, repairmen like this guy are out climbing towers on a regular basis.
Words simply can’t capture the experience the way this first-person video does. If your arms aren’t hurting and your hands aren’t clenched into tight fists after watching that, you may be qualified for retail work over Thanksgiving weekend.
Driving Fast (Illegally)
We’ve all wanted to do it: just jump on a motorcycle and go suicidally fast, weaving between cars without any regard for traffic laws or personal safety. The fear of getting pulled over and having our insurance rates skyrocket (and also, death) usually keeps us firmly under the speed limit in our Honda Civics, but not this guy. Putting other drivers in danger is frowned upon by law enforcement, though, and this rider eventually turned himself in. Surely there are better ways to satisfy a need for speed?
Driving Fast (Legally)
There are, if you're a professional. Here’s another video of someone driving crazy fast, but in this case, he’s doing it legally. Even though we’re in a car this time, we don’t feel much safer. The fact that it’s night and it’s raining probably has something to do with that. Most of us wouldn’t drive like this even on a bright, sunny day, so we’re glad there’s a video out there to show us why we probably shouldn’t.
Sledding Without Snow
There are all kinds of ways to get down a hill, but riding a street luge board is not one of our top choices. Thanks to this intrepid rider, we can all be happy keeping it that way. Now we get to experience the fun of sledding on a crisp, autumn day without the risk of suffering a nasty road rash.
If you ever wanted to try to hang ten or some other surfing term you learned from watching Point Break, you’ll probably be a fan of this video. You get a keen sense of the sheer size of the waves, and you don’t even have to get your feet wet. Big-wave surfing is no longer limited to ninja turtles or Keanu Reeves.
Racing an Avalanche (and Losing)
Sometimes, we find videos of things going horribly wrong. This one has a happy ending, though. If you like snowmobiling and getting rescued from avalanches, this video is for you. The footage really captures that sense of claustrophobia of being caught in an avalanche. After the initial panic, it’s just eerie silence and the sense of walls closing in.
Some people don’t need any sort of vehicle or equipment to get around. These people are ninjas, and this is how they move. While we’re celebrating our choice of taking the stairs instead of the elevator this morning, remember there are people out there who treat gravity like it’s just a suggestion.
Representing 'Murica Abroad
OK, this one is a little unfair, but it’s too cool not to be included in this list. Here is a video from the point of view of an eagle, soaring majestically and representing democracy, in what appears to be the Swiss Alps. You can’t see it in the video, but this bird is actually leaving red, white, and blue contrails.
This list is by no means exhaustive: action camera users have thought of many other creative things to do with their toys. There are videos shot from the point of view of weather balloons, remote-control cars, and even pets.
As camera technology improves, we’ll be able to get even greater picture quality and higher frame rates to better capture first-person videos like these. And we can be assured that there is no shortage of brave, gutsy people who will do risky, dangerous, and borderline stupid things so that we don’t have to.
[Hero image: Flickr user “stevecadman”]