Million Dollar Challenge Awardee Baki Zainal has a personality bigger than the smile on his face in his featured clip—and you can’t help but smile, too, as you watch him execute a textbook waterslide launch. 

All this considered, it makes perfect sense to learn that Baki’s day job is working as a TV personality. In Baki’s own words, his current gig has him climbing mountains, trekking through rain forests, riding on water buffalo and more. All in a days work, right?!

Read on to learn more about Baki, his tips on using GoPro and his participation in the HERO8 + MAX Million Dollar Challenge.

GoPro: When did you first start using GoPro?

Baki: The first time I ever used a GoPro was on my TV show. I host a Chinese travel program in Malaysia, and … the crew would constantly get me to hold on to a GoPro as to record my POV and my personal reactions. I really liked the results, so my manager at that time got me a HERO4 as my Christmas present. I remember how excited and how proud I was walking into adventures and outings with my buddies with my own GoPro in hand—plus, it was the latest model at that time. I even got a customized body kit sticker for my HERO4 so that it would stand out from the others. She even had a name; I called her Jane.

For years, Jane followed me on my bike touring sessions, my dives and more. And then, I became part of the GoPro Family, and I remember the moment I got my HERO7 Black. I was working with the latest Sony and Canon cameras at the time, and I was told that the technology was getting so much more convenient on GoPro and it was easier to edit my own videos on the GoPro App. (I am a noob when it comes to tech) So I embraced the challenge and took the HERO7 for a spin, and boy oh boy! By the end of the night, I was in the airport flying home, and I had a two minute video edited by myself and ready to share! … I have not turned back and constantly have a GoPro in either my bag or in my pocket.

What’s your favorite new feature?

Well, I don’t know if this is for everyone, but I realized that, slowly but surely, I begin to have a fave function in the GoPro. For me, my fave in the HERO8 is LiveBurst*. 

I constantly look for opportunities to use the camera to capture jump shots or be the cool guy at parties (🎉) who has a camera with a wide enough angle to fit everyone in the selfie. Or just being able to take nice, pretty selfies with my mom when I bring her on my adventures and travels. My mom can’t understand a selfie pose, so she keeps moving. With the LiveBurst, I get to choose that perfect candid shot of her.

*PRO TIP: LiveBurst is best for capture the action and feelings of the moment. It captures a 3-second 4K video, or the equivalent to 90 12MP still frames.

What inspired your awarded clip?

My Million Dollar video was taken in an extreme waterpark in Penang, Malaysia. A few of my friends and I just came off a shoot, and it was a weekday, so I was like: “Let’s go to the waterpark. It will be less crowded!”

This water slide seemed really crazy because it’s a free fall that ends with you being catapulted into a 5-meter deep pool. I was like: “Yup, that sound like fun!” I had set up my HERO8 by the pool and decided to take my MAX onto the slide. … There were so many things running through my head at that time—the free fall, the pool, etc.—but I knew I wanted to take a selfie of myself midair for the Gram. When I previewed the shot, I knew I need to post the whole video.

Did you think you had a Million Dollar shot?

My friends told me the video was really funny, especially my facial reaction. I was not really satisfied with it because there was a water drop on the lens. But I remembered that a fellow GoPro Fam member, @BareKiwi, once said: “Your ordinary might be some else’s extraordinary,” so I decided to submit the clip. In fact, after those words, I kept sending in clips of me traveling, diving and out with my mom for GoPro Awards—not just for the Million Dollar Challenge but to see if I have improved and if GoPro would pick up my stuff for their social media.

How do you plan to use your $22,222USD earnings?

This is just cray cray cherry on top. For sure, the three things I want do with the money are:

  1. Bring Mom on more of our Mom + Son oversea trips (maybe even Mecca and use GoPro there).
  2. Fund a little project I have going on with the sea gypsy on a little island in Sabah. 
  3. Have a solo trip out to either the highlands of Mongolia, Petra or even Iceland.

Watch the full Million Dollar Challenge HERO8 + MAX video here.