A wild new video from The New York Times’ Daily 360 takes us to the streets of San Francisco and shares a perspective most of us have probably never seen before. The 360-degree clip was shot by a team of skateboarders while participate in an activity known as “hill bombing,” which sends them weaving in and out of traffic and a breakneck pace.
For those not steeped in skateboard culture, hill bombing is the act of racing to the bottom of a hill as fast as possible. The skater typically ignores traffic lights and stop signs, while weaving around obstacles and in and out of traffic. Thanks to its multitude of steep hills, San Francisco has become the epicenter of the hill bombing phenomenon, attracting skateboarders from all over who come to test their nerves and skill. Usually they come out relatively unscathed, but on occasion things can go terribly wrong.
The video that the Times shared on its website earlier in the week was shot by filmmaker Ryan Gershell, who is a legend in the skating community. He carried a 360-degree camera with him on the descent and followed a group of skaters who showed off their skills by deftly weaving around cars, past walking pedestrians, and through busy intersections.
Gershell narrates the clip as well, offering insights as to what is happening along the way. For instance, at one point he explains that the skaters in front of him are power sliding across the pavement to generate friction that allows them to control their rate of descent. Maintaining a safe speed helps them to make turns and avoid accidents by staying more maneuverable. The skateboard icon even talks about one of his previous hill bombing experiences, which nearly ended disaster when he was hit by an SUV.
One of the things that makes this clip so interesting is that we the viewers get to look around as the skaters make their way down the hill. Thanks to the 360-degree camera, we can pan in any direction as Gershell zooms past cars and glides effortlessly around corners. It will definitely give you a better appreciation for the hill bombers and the skills that they’ve developed.
Don’t try this at home, kids.