Head over heels in love with thrills
Fred Grzybowski holds the world record of nine consecutive back-flips on a pogo stick. Fred started bouncing when he was eight years old. "My parents bought me my first pogo stick as a Christmas present," he says. "When I was young, I practised every single day." Recently, Fred added a new trick to his arsenal - especially for his performance at Ngong Ping 360 - he swings his pogo stick through 360 degrees while he is in the air, puts his feet back onto the stick, and struts when he lands. This trick is very challenging, but seems incomparable to his signature move - the double back-flip. "This involves using the pogo stick as a propeller to do a double back-flip in mid-air before landing on my feet," Fred says.
Record-breaker never lost pogo passion
Briton Mark Aldridge has earned a global reputation as a top-class pogo stick performer. He started when he was 10 years old. He has not let setbacks interfere with his passion. When he was 16, he suffered a very nasty injury. "I was practising and I dropped from a platform, about six to seven metres high," he says. Although he hurt one of his ankles in the fall, he got straight back on his pogo stick as soon as he could. Mark holds a Guinness World Record for popping the most balloons with a pogo stick in a minute. After Hong Kong, the Pogo Dudes head for London.
Safety first, the jumpers' code
Extreme sports call for extreme precautions. Although Pogo stick jumping looks effortless in the hands of the Pogo Dudes, it is actually a difficult sport to master - believe me, I've tried. The Pogo Dudes have pulled off countless performances that define perfection, but injuries are inevitable. They learn from their mistakes, and try to improve safety precautions. They practise for many hours a day to ensure tricks do not fail. During each performance, they always wear helmets and other safety gear to minimise any damage if they do have an accident. They gave a spectacular performance, and it was so intense that a small rubber cap used to aid balance fell off one of the pogo sticks. This highlights the fact that pre-show checks are vital.
The Pogo Dudes will perform three shows daily at the Ngong Ping Village until May 13. There are also workshops. Visit www.np360.com.hk for more details.
The junior reporters found bouncing around was not as easy as it looked.