I have a very vivid memory of the first time I saw someone ollie a skateboard. I must’ve been about four years old, walking down the street with my mum, when a kid (who looked massive to me, but can’t have been much older than 12 himself) busted one out in front of us. It’s no exaggeration to say my tiny mind was blown.
How had he made the board jump? It clearly wasn’t attached to his feet. Yet it had lifted clean off the ground underneath him. What sort of black magic was this? I thought, hurrying past almost fearfully. As far as I was concerned, the kid must have had superhuman powers.
“Their seemingly superhuman abilities aren’t just god-given powers from the planet Krypton…”
Fast forward three decades and I’m happy to say that my mind is still blown on a regular basis when watching adventure sports. While I now understand the physics of an ollie (and can even just about do one myself) there are certain things that still seem utterly incomprehensible. The skill and the reaction speeds needed to pilot a wingsuit safely, for example. The fitness and endurance levels needed to swim for 53 hours non-stop. Or the balls required to throw yourself into a frontflip over a 50 foot mega ramp in a wheelchair, like Aaron ‘Wheelz’ Fotheringham, who deputy editor James Renhard interviewed this month.