Once you’ve watched enough extreme sports videos, attended enough expos, hung out with enough adrenaline junky friends, it’s easy to think that you’ve seen every trick imaginable. You’re jaded, hard to impress and over it all. Then, it hits you: that one move you’ve never even thought of and you’re back, fully immersed in the pursuit of discovering all there is to know about doing anything and everything that’s unfathomably, originally cool.
Here are our favorite tricks from 2012. These are the ones that brought us back to reality when we’d thought we’d seen it all.
In article after article, feature after feature, we bill the act of one person hopping out of a plane as extreme, so you can imagine our surprise when we discovered this world record-breaking stunt wherein 138 divers sailed through the air at 220 mph until they met up to form the largest group skydive in history. Rook Nelson, owner of Skydive Chicago, one of the schools that trained skydivers for the event, summed up the trick’s risk factor quite vividly when he said any mishap in the formation is ”…going to be like someone running a red light and you taking them out.” Alright, folks. Who’s up for a 139-person skydive. We have records to break here, people!
Most of what we cover takes the form of a 360 or a building-to-building Parkour leap–that’s the stuff we live and breathe. This video of Pittsburgh University football kicker Kevin Harper caught our eye because it was a little bit out of our tricking comfort zone and because Harper does things with a pigskin that we never imagined were possible. Our favorite move has to be the barefoot hillbilly at the 1:13 mark. No one ever said Adrenalists couldn’t be lighthearted. Full disclosure: we tried some of these kicks without a whole lot of success so, Kev-o, we’d love a lesson, if you feel so inclined.
Harper’s antics brought a smile to our faces and Aaron “Wheels” Fotheringham’s brought tears to our eyes, while we smiled of course; these were happy tears. Why such an emotional response? Because lifelong spina bifida sufferer and world class daredevil, Fotheringham personifies the notion of an unbeatable spirit. His records include “the first wheelchair back flip (July 13, 2006), first double back flip (August 26, 2010), and a front flip before a live audience (February 9, 2011). This 2012 wheelchair Megaramp jump is his most recent accolade. With every trick he pioneers, his legacy is stenghtened and the hope he inspires flourishes a little bit more.
You had to know FMX rider Pter Pilat’s stunning Mexico City backflip (accented by the great Kirby Chambliss’ godlike aeronautic skills) would make it onto our 2012 list. How could it not? The trick is stylistically and chronologically perfect. Pilat’s backflip is flawless and if that was all this video showed, we’d still probably add it to this roundup. Magnificent as Pilat is, the chemistry between Pilat and Chambliss is what really awes us. That’s what makes this move larger than life. Two masters of their craft working together to create one mega-spectacle. It’s the stuff of extreme sports lore and will surely be raved about for years to come. Heck, we may even throw it on next years Best Of report.
Hot Wheels Loop
In another world record-setting trick, stunt drivers Tanner Foust and Greg Tracy showed us that dreams really can come true when they zipped around a life-sized Hot Wheels loop in one of the most outstanding multi-person stunts we’ve seen this year or any year. Foust and Tracy reported experiencing about 7Gs of speed while completing the loop. This is why professional athletes are and will always be heroes to the masses. They accomplish the things normal people only dream about and, in doing so, encourage us to believe that anything is attainable, even a pipe dream so crazy as turning cars made from several thousand pounds of steel on their proverbial heads.