He was trying his luck experimenting with entrepreneurial ideas, with the hopes to start a surf-focused company that was successful enough to provide him a humble living by the age of 30.
There was still four years until he reached the self-imposed deadline, but pressure was already mounting so he decided to head on a surf trip across Australia in search of inspiration.
To say the adventure was a success would be an understatement, because on the trip Nick Woodman developed an idea that would turn him into a billionaire. He created GoPro.
"It goes all the way back to my digital arts major in San Diego. I had graduated, but had no idea what to do with my life. I just knew by the age of 30 I wanted to be a successful entrepreneur," he told news.com.au.
"I was 26 and had already failed at online gaming business funbug.com, so I saved money to take a three-month trip across Australia and it was on the holiday I went to work on a wrist strap to allow me to wear a camera when surfing."
The initial prototype worked so well, Woodman continued to work on the concept during every spare moment on the road of our sunburnt country.
"We got a Toyota panel van in the parking lot of a Mitre 10 in Kings Cross and some 57,000 miles (91,000km) later, everything was pretty well baked," he said. "So Australia was the original catalyst for the GoPro."
Even though he knew he was onto something special, Woodman had no idea he would be developing what would later become the world's best selling camera or that it would make him worth $A1.2 billion (NZ$1.3b).
"My initial idea and goal was to start a small, successful surf-focused business employing a few friends," he said.
"I never expected to be working with 13,000 people sharing the same vision and collective reinventing how we capture and share our lives."
While the company began and still has strong roots with adventure sports, Woodman said GoPro's appeal has extended to mum and dads wanting to capture family moments.
"The only way to become the best-selling cameras outside of smartphones is to make sure you are appealing to the mass market," he said.
"The most attracting thing about GoPro is it is convenient to use with a smartphone. Over time we have improved the software so users can easily offload photos and videos to the app, edit content and quickly share the moment.
"Gone are the days of having to wait until you get home in front of a computer to edit and share thanks to our automated story telling experience."
Just allowing videos to be easily shared isn't enough to keep the company successful, with the hardware always being innovated to offer the best quality content.
"We always have room to improve and this is seen with the new HERO 6, which offers video stabilisation that is approaching gimbal-like performance," he said.
"The GoPro KARMA drone has also seen updates that allow the camera to tilt upright and film what's happening above - that's unique to our product."
All in all though, Woodman knows he wouldn't be a self-made billionaire if it wasn't for the support customers show GoPro.
"Other companies can't replicate the brand and our movement because we have millions of passionate customers sharing amazing videos shot on our products. There's no advertising or social media campaign that can beat this type of exposure," he said.