We Visited London's Biggest Trampoline Park And Found Out Why It's UK Freerunner's New Home....
Chima Akenzua tells us how Flip Out trampoline centre is so exciting for London's freerunners and snowboarders....
When was the last time you went trampolining?
Unless you're a regular gymnast, we're guessing not for a few years. While climbing, ping pong and other sports have been adopted into the London social scene, trampolining is seen more in school P.E lessons, than in place of after work drinks.
Trampoline park Flip Out in Wandsworth is changing all of that.
Far away from the simple square trampolines we all remember from our school days, this awesome centre's 240ft space has over 120 different trampolines, a freerunning section to leap from space to space, basketball trampoline to slam dunk higher than ever before and skatepark inspired multi-leveled zones.
In short, this huge centre is a full on playground, as much for adults as it is for the kids, with fitness classes, late night DJ sessions and London's best freerunners regularly filling the huge space.
An hour at Flip Out is far more than just bouncing around, the centre's integrated trampoline system involves all kinds of different activities to get stuck into.
From a swinging punch bag in one corner, to a bouncing basketball court in the other, to human ping pong section and a huge foam pit at the back to jump and flip into without fear of injury, you cant help but get carried away with playing around.
"Even though this is a new concept we’re already seeing some really neat moves being pulled out."
While it might seem the centre is just an excuse to play around with your mates, (which is wicked) it's also amazing exercise, an hour on the trampolines burns over a 1,000kcals, with trampoline cardio and yoga classes.
London's freerunning crowd has been quickly spreading over the last few years and at Flip Out they've found their new home.
We talked to award winning freerunner and Flip Out ambassador Chima Akenzua to find out more about the centre, how it's become so involved with parkour and freerunning and whether anyone can come down and have a go.
"We've got a lot of people from the stunt community, as well as cheerleaders and freerunners who come here" says Chima. "Free running has been in London for a while and Flipout adds a whole new dynamic."
"Before, we would take our inspiration from the concrete jungle, woods or beaches, but now we've got artistic movement using trampolines and more. Outside we don't have the privilege of getting a huge amount of air."
"Even though this is a new concept and this whole design is a new thing, we're already seeing some really neat moves being pulled out."
"We're used to jumping in-between walls and buildings and railways, but having a bounce and being able to take the same distances, five and ten meter jumps and then being able to ricochet of a trampoline and land to your specific destination - its totally new ground."
The freerunners leaping from surface to surface and bouncing between trampolines around the centre look amazingly agile compare to the average person, but it seems that Flip Out's features make it a lot easier for anyone to come and give it a go.
"You just need a basic awareness, social awareness, peripheral awareness ad to understand the basics of muscle and photographic memory" he says. "Once you get that it just mean that you get really proficient with movement."
"The first thing you learn is how to land. Landing is important for many reasons, you prolong your joints, you look after your body overall and it adds to the beauty of movement."
"The second thing is learning how to bail out. If i was going for a move and miscalculated it, there are about four other moves I could go for before I actually crash out."
One other section of Flip Out are snowboarders looking to perfect their tricks before they hit the park in Winter.
Flip Out's snowboards fasten onto your feet and allow bouncers to try out poses that you're not confident enough to execute on the slopes, with the comfort of knowing there's a soft landing ahead of you in the huge foam pit.
"You'll get some people who come to try flips on snowboards because they can try the tricks in a safe environment" says Chima.
The other aspect is that with snowboarding, everyone is looking for big air. On a trampoline it does give you a bit more time. It's not the same as when you're out in the alps, but it does give a bit more time to practice those movements and try transitioning from one pose to another, to another grab before you land."
Whether you want to give freerunning a go, practice your park riding before you hit the slopes or just want a new after work hobby, we'll see you at Flip Out soon.
A session at Flip Out costs £12 and the prices of classes and events differ. Check out their website here.