Meet Brendon Hayward, the son of a Film production tycoon, leading a life full of adrenaline, extreme sports and multimedia expertise.
Brendon Hayward was 17 years old when he went to the nearest drop zone to fall for the first time. This intoxicating feeling left him hooked. “I went up to 18k, which is pretty high for your first skydive. I figured, if I am going up, I may as well go all the way. It was one of the most exhilarating feelings of my life,” says the adrenaline-seeking filmmaker as we’re jumping on a long-distance Zoom call. Funny word – jumping – especially since Hayward was just about to jump out of a plane straight after our call.
Born in Los Angeles, Hayward always saw himself as the high-adrenaline adventurous type. He’s also adamant that he lives his action-packed life because of his love of nature while defying the laws of nature.
“It’s not just skydiving. You’re flying and using your body like a wing. You’re dynamic in the air – it’s actually really beautiful”– Brendon Hayward
Flying through life, Hayward grew up in a family fueled by the film industry. His father, the leading businessman for Summit Entertainment, an American film production and distribution company, wanted his son to follow a path of his own.
At the age of 17, Hayward decided to study business and entrepreneurship at Loyola Marymount University (LMU). Even though he went on to graduate from one of the most elite, top-ranked private national universities in California, he felt a life chasing money and conditioned ideologies of success just weren’t fulfilling.
From professional skateboarding to surfing and skydiving, he soon was drawn by his love of the natural elements. Water, wind and earth with his fiery spirit taking the lead.
Now, whether he’s skating on a Vasquez Canyon landslide, surfing waves from Malibu to Bali, or skydiving into the Blue Hole in Belize, Brendon’s lifestyle is truly beyond what most others can fathom.
The professional quality of Hayward’s productions was led by his new-age multimedia film technique – something that he continues to expand on. As social media started to take off, everything just fell into place.
By combing his love of adventure, capturing the world, and sharing it on social media, he created a career for himself that has yielded “the most incredible years of his life”. Today, he lives through the simple paradoxes of his day-to-day passions because he doesn’t want to die wondering about any of them.
Here’s his take.
What led you to where you are today?
I grew up predominantly skateboarding and was pursuing a career in it. I competed in the X Games and started to make a name for myself on just a high-level competitive circuit.
I had lots of sponsors and even invented some of my own tricks, but when I was about 18-years-old, I had a terrible knee injury. I just never fully recovered from that. I was just like, ‘ok, my dream of becoming a professional skateboarder is out of the equation.’
This is where I went into this mundane state where I just didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I started searching for ‘success’ in ways that we’ve been conditioned to, but it wasn’t fulfilling for me. That’s what led me to have a life-changing epiphany.
Fulfilment doesn’t come from success, it comes from doing what you love, and success will come from seeing just how far you can take it. I was already doing the things I loved and by combining it with the power of social media, I figured out how to make a career for myself. It was a huge moment for me.
Who would you say are your biggest inspirations?
Most of my biggest inspirations are my friends who brought me into what I do now. We are quite a tight-knit community. From Sam Kolder to Jr Alli, Karl Shakur, Aaron Brimhall, and Ben Thouard.
One of my best friends Jay Alvarrez (@jayalvarrez), inspired me a lot in my earlier days because he was one of the first people who validated the space.
My roommate Johnny (@johnny_fpv), an FPV pilot, is currently putting out some of the most groundbreaking aerial footage that the world has ever seen.
Do you think that the fact your father owns Summit has influenced you in your videography and choosing to go into filmmaking?
Maybe in ways because I was around it my whole life but ultimately I came into my career in filmmaking and this whole industry myself. Through my own journey, combining my love for the world with my creativity.
Growing up my dad always pushed me to build my own future, and I felt I could do anything but film because of it. However, through my own experiences, it came full circle, and I did it on my own. That’s how you know it’s genuine.
What do you think it means to be a content creator in a radically changing landscape?
I think creators are responsible for just trying and changing the world for the better. What we do is unique because we create a feeling through our work.
Feelings have the power to change people.
That’s what happened to me. These initial inspirations gave me this feeling that changed me and forced me to take a different direction in my life.
I want to inspire people to get out there and live their lives. Chase their dreams and not conform to what they THINK they should be doing.
How do you think the travel industry will change in 2022?
Hopefully, in the next year, things will get better. I think travel will see a vast boom just because people have been locked up in a room, afraid and not living their lives.
People will want to make up for the lost time. I also think travel will change to be more environmentally friendly. For example, airlines could become more carbon neutral. I try to limit plastic use and do whatever I can to help the earth.
What part does nature play in your work?
It’s everything. My work revolves around capturing the beauty this world has to offer. Nature creates the playground for me to push my own human experience, which I then share with the world.
When it comes to my skateboarding, skydiving and surfing are kind of like elements of nature. They represent wind, air, water and earth. I am very much a nature-orientated person. I feel peace from it.
What’s one thing you’d like to do before you die, Brendon Hayward?
One thing I would love to do before I die is go to space and see the earth from an outside perspective. Life with no regrets kind of embodies the life I live. Just live fully.