Canton resident’s entries in million-dollar international GoPro competitions have shone brightly with judges
Of the tens of thousands of people around the world who enter the annual GoPro $1 Million Challenge, a relative handful — usually 50 to 70 — see their jaw-dropping video snippets appear on the 3-minute video that consists of the most-compelling action.
Canton resident Andy Gryzcan has made the final cut in two of the three competitions he’s entered, cementing his unofficial status as a GoPro superstar.
Founded in 2002, GoPro, Inc. is an American manufacturer of action cameras. Used widely by extreme-sports enthusiasts, if used with a decent level of imagination, the compact, durable devices — that can be attached to helmets, motorcycles or a tricycle — can make even a child’s ride in a wagon compelling.
How has Gryzcan been able to reach such incredible success in a hobby that is embraced by millions?
“For me, it’s been about what I’m passionate about and what my talent is — namely snowboarding, riding motorcycles, activities like that — and filming it in an exciting way with beautiful backdrops,” he explained. “If you watch the winning videos from the past four years, the winning clips can range from someone playing a piano to hang-gliding off a cliff.
“The biggest piece of advice I’d give to people is you don’t have to be an extreme-sport enthusiast or professional athlete to make a winning video. I can’t do backflips off a ramp on my snowboard, but my winning snowboard clip had unique composition and it was displayed well, which is what the judges are looking for.”
Grycan’s 2019 winning entry of him snowboarding through a gauntlet of trees appears at approximately the 33-second mark of the 2 minute, 8 second winning video. It you want an andrenaline rush while simply looking at your iPhone or desktop computer, check it out here.
You won’t be disappointed.
Gryczan was one of 45 people to split the $1 million prize, earning him $22,222.22. His winning snippet was edited out of a 69-second video he sent to GoPro judges.
“If your video is beautifully done and jaw-dropping, the judges will give it a look,” he said.
He followed up his 2019 success by making the cut for the 2020 $1 Million Challenge video, which features him riding a motorbike across a sandy plain. He can be seen at roughly the 24-second mark.
An engineer for Plymouth-based Ilmor Engineering, which builds IndyCar engines among other high-powered items, Gryczan bought his first GoPro camera in 2013. The more he experimented with it, the sharper his skills became.
“Once I learned how to use the camera, I started building different mounts for the cameras,” he said. “I engineered and designed one for a motorcycle helmet that literally spun around. That actually helped me win the 2020 challenge.
“When I submitted my snowboarding clip in 2019, I had no expectations of winning. But once you get notified you made it, the feeling is pretty exhilarating. I didn’t win last year even though I’m not disappointed in my effort. You realize, hey, you’re going up against thousands of people from all over the world.”
GoPro releases upgraded models on an almost-annual basis.
Gryczan said there are no secrets as to how to excel in the $1 Million Challenge as GoPro lists what it’s looking for on its website.
The trick is producing a can’t-take-your-eyes-off-this video, which Gryczan has mastered.
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