As anyone who’s watched enough action flicks will tell you, if you want to be a spy, you’ll need a set of skills that ordinary people just don’t have.
Some of these can be taught. Terrence Young, the director of the first James Bond film, famously introduced a scruffy-looking Sean Connery to his tailor and his hairdresser then taught him the ways of London high society in preparation for playing the role.
Aspiring super-spies need skills that action sports stars have in spades
But aspiring super-spies also need a whole load of other skills. Things you couldn’t teach in a million years. But things that action sports athletes have in spades…
Think about it, they’ve got everything it takes to be perfect secret agents:
1) They Can Drive Like a Badass
“Is it really necessary to drive quite so fast?” asks James Bond’s lady passenger in Goldeneye. “More often than you’d think,” comes the laconic reply.
Yep, to be a super-spy you need to be shit-hot at driving. But anything James Bond can do, surely Ken Block can do better? How’s this for power-slides?
2) They Can Break in Undetected
Breaking and entering is not a skill most nicely brought up young men learn from their mothers. But as Tom Cruise learned over the course of four Mission Impossible films, it’s an essential part of being a secret agent.
But while Tom needed a team of three, sophisticated computer systems and some insanely complicated abseiling equipment, these two Ukrainian daredevils broke into – and scaled – the tallest tower in Shanghai using nothing more than a backpack and some badly-made ninja masks.
Oh and Tom nearly fucked it up. You don’t see that kind of sloppy amateurism from Mustang Wanted and his mate.
3) They Can Take a Beating
OK so he’s not in intelligence, but when it comes to taking a beating, there are few agents of the law who can match John McClane, the cop played by Bruce Willis in the Die Hard series.
But when it comes to sucking up proper physical punishment even Mr Yippee-Kay-Yay himself pales in comparison to your average BMX or skateboard pro. I mean just look at this…
And yes, he did get back on his bike, eventually.
4) They’re Fast on Their Feet
James Bond may be the benchmark for super-spy suaveness, but his attempts at parkour in the opening sequence of Quantum of Solace left a bit to be desired.
Perhaps if he’d taken some lessons off an actual free-runner like this dude, he might have caught the bad guy? #JustSaying
5) They Can Improvise With What’s Around Them
Every secret agent knows that there’s one skill that’s absolutely essential when it comes to deflecting unexpected attacks – the ability to improvise.
But while Jason Bourne using a pen as a weapon is an impressive feat of improvisation, imagine what a mind as creative as snowboarder Scott Stevens’ could do if faced with a similar challenge?
I mean this is a man who snowboards on second hand sofas!
6) They Appreciate Expensive Gadgets
All secret agents love gadgets. A need for over-the-top tech is hardwired into their DNA, like the gene that makes them irresistibly attractive to women.
But while it would be hard to come up with anything in the real world that matches the crazier inventions from Q Branch, action sports do have some pretty insanely sophisticated tech.
What would Desmond Llewelyn think if he’d have lived to see these augmented reality goggles for example?
Or this fold out drone?
7) They Value Style Above All Else
Where would any secret agent be without a sense of style? As Colin Firth’s character says in the new film Kingsman: The Secret Service “manners maketh the man”.
Of course an appreciation of style is something that anyone who’s into action sports – and board sports in particular – has hardwired into them.
And it’s not just about their clothes. A lot of skaters might question Nyjah Huston’s sartorial choices in this video made for GQ, but few would quibble with his style on these flips and grinds.
8) They Have the Ability to Make an Entrance
Of course a large part of having a sense of style is knowing how to make your entrance, as Uma Thurman demonstrates so brilliantly in this early 2000s update of the 70s classic The Avengers.
But while Uma’s appearance in “a bastion of male privilege” might have turned a few heads, it’s nothing on these guys’ arrival at a pool party in Kuala Lumpur…
9) They Can Jump Out of a Plane Without a Parachute
One of the tests new recruits need to take in Kingsman involves jumping out of a plane… and then saving one member of their party who doesn’t have a parachute.
Of course this is a problem Nitro Circus main man, motocross star and all round action sports hero Travis Pastrana knows very well, having voluntarily hucked himself out of a plane wearing nothing but board shorts a few years ago.
He should be teaching that part of their training course!
10) And of Course, They Can Can Do This…
It’s a well-known fact that at some stage in their career, every aspiring super-spy will probably be called upon to ride a motorobike at breakneck speed through a city… backwards.
The necessity of mastering this errr… niche skill is ably demonstrated by Jackie Chan in the film clip above. But who in real life would have the ability to do such a thing?
Well, motocross Jussi Seljas would for one.
Which is yet another reason why the real life secret service should seriously consider hiring action sports stars. Come on, it makes complete sense!