Skydiving from tiny planes thousands of feet in the air. Dangling feet off the edge of skyscrapers. Flying down the sides of mountains in the Alps.
Over 750,000 subscribers later, junior Josh Neuman never could have anticipated that the tutorials he shot at 12 years old on his dad’s video camera would lead to some of the most-watched skateboarding videos on YouTube.
Neuman, a filmmaker, downhill skateboarder and adventurer, wakes up each morning with the goal of pushing himself out of his comfort zone and getting the most out of his life.
He has collaborated with well-known names and brands like LG, Suspicious Antwerp, GoPro, MVMT, and most recently, EDM artist and producerDon Diablo.
“That guy will go to sleep editing and wake up at the crack of dawn and continue editing his films. He will fall asleep on his keyboard, he will have coffee at every single corner of his room,” Ariana Luterman, one of Neuman’s closest friends, said.
Neuman said the feeling of going viral is indescribable — as some of his videos gain thousands of views in minutes, articles come out about him and he is able to interact online with people from almost every continent.
“(Going viral) is a pretty cool and weird feeling, but it’s something you can’t get too caught up in because it’s not always there,” Neuman said.
Neuman said that, like anyone else, his social media accounts do not tell the full story of his life.
“It’s interesting. I get comments all the time saying my life is this, my life is that, but I always tell people that that’s just the five percent. That’s just the highlights,” Neuman said.
Although Neuman is frequently doing activities that some consider terrifying, he said he has plenty of fears — he just chooses to face them head-on.
Neuman has always been a daredevil. When he went mountain biking with his dad as a child, he learned that if he wasn’t falling, he wasn’t pushing himself hard enough or reaching his full potential.
“The older I’ve gotten, I’ve realized just how much it applies to every other activity I do, whether it be an extreme sport or with my business,” Neuman said.
Luterman said one of Neuman's biggest fears used to be heights, which would surprise many, considering he has gone skydiving 60 times. But Luterman said he is actively trying to conquer that fear — since then, he has jumped out of hot air balloons, skydived out of airplanes and longboarded down steep mountains.
“I think Josh is just trying to live a life where he’ll have no regrets. That’s in multiple aspects— adventure and having a higher purpose to help other people as well,” Jake Kuick, a fellow downhill skateboarder and Newman’s close friend, said.
Neuman made it a priority to get over his fear of heights. He would go ‘roof-topping,’ a common activity of photographers, where the photographer sits on the edge of tall buildings to grow more comfortable with being up high.
“It’s cool to see how I’ve transformed something I used to be terrified of into something I actively seek out and enjoy," Neuman said. "It’s about getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.”
Failure and pushing forward
Neuman said he used to compare his success to that of others, but recently, he's tried to reframe his mindset to focus on progress rather than the end result.
“I realized I’ve progressed more in the past year than I could have ever imagined. If I just keep on that track and keep a positive mindset about it, I can be there within a few years,” Neuman said.
Neuman has fallen hundreds of times while skateboarding, but it wasn't until this summer that he suffered his worst fall yet. While skating down a hill at 55 mph, he was thrown from his board, resulting in a visit to the emergency room two weeks into a six-week road trip.
Neuman struggled both mentally, in maintaining a positive outlook, and physically, with the amount of pain he was in. But he took the opportunity to shift his outlook and make the most of the rest of his trip.
Looking back, he said his takeaway from the trip was ultimately greater than if he'd never gotten hurt.
As always, he persisted.
“I think everything happens for a reason," he said. "Sometimes it seems really weird and you don’t really get it, but I think you’re taught certain lessons through doors closing and doors opening and just what you go through.”
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