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Friday, October 19, 2012
GoPro's Hero 3 adventure

By Tadashi Yamaoda
ESPN.com

A few weeks ago I pretty much won the lottery by being invited to GoPro's "Mystery Media Event" in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, Oct. 17.

I first caught scent of the "Mystery Media Event" via email from Gopro saying they were launching a new camera with a promise of an adventure for attendees. They kept details vague, hence the name "Mystery Media Event," and before all invitees arrived they had to choose their own adventure from Land, Air or Sea.

After careful consideration I decided the sun will keep shining on me in the Air.

The evening before my adventure began, there was a welcoming reception (with plenty of food and wine), at which time we were presented with their new Hero 3 camera. They went over all the bells and whistles of the Hero 3, like the smaller size, lighter weight and higher video quality. They also announced the details of our adventures. My choice, Air, consisted of a morning-time hot air ballon ride and a gut wrenching thrill ride in a jet airplane. All attendees were also given a Hero 3 to record the happenings.

Tons of hot air in Byron, Calif.

The next day our Air group trekked out to Byron, Calif., for our morning time hot air ballon ride. Our ride was nearly thwarted by the high winds, but we finally lucked out and saw the landscape from a whole new perspective. The roar of the flames keep the balloon afloat but it's amazing how quite it is to float with the wind in a balloon.

Next was our ride in the L-39 jets flown by the Patriots Jet Team! This was definitely the best adventure and something very few people can they've ever done. Admittedly, I was already nervous before when the crew ran us threw the safety precautions, using terms such as the ejection seat, G-forces and then passing out vomit bags. Perhaps those free cocktails from last nights reception were going to make me pay.

Once in the air there were 4 jets painting the skies. Immediately they assembled an arrow formation and proceeded to do a number of aerobatic maneuvers. It was quite a rush and the sweat started pouring. We broke off from the group and "Sticky," my pilot, did a few more spins and loops then showed me how to roll the jet and let me handle the controls for a go. One time was enough, as I fought the urge to pull out the puke bag. Soaked in sweat and trying to keep my eye on the horizon -- to avoid any more disorientation -- we landed back at the hanger.

I captured bits and pieces of my adventure with the Hero 3, but I have to admit that I was a bit preoccupied with trying not to die. If you ever get the chance to participate in one of GoPro's "Mystery" events then roll with the punches, hold on and prepare for an adventure of a life time.