Few stunts hold water in more than one sport. It’s tough to pop a wheelie on a ski slope or 360 dunk a basketball on a rock wall. The backflip, on the other hand, is one trick that knows no bounds. Its ingredients, intrinsic skill and daring, are applicable in almost any athletic arena, and its physics-denying display is always impressive.
Perhaps the backflip’s versatility is the reason why the trick is so alluring. That and the extreme physical risk that any practitioner assumes. Anywhere, at any time, and using almost any mode of transport, anyone can instantly separate themselves from the backflip-verse norm, thus proving their worth as an athlete and daredevil. Now, we ask you: who wouldn’t want to do that?
In recognition of one of history’s most stalwart maneuvers, we’ve compiled the recent demonstrations of the craziest backflips, across multiple sports. The breadth of accomplishment awes us as much as the fact that all of these Adrenalists are still walking the earth.
Skateboard Double Backflip
18-year-old snowboarder, Trevor Jacob, recently took the extreme sports world by storm when he completed the first recorded skateboard double backflip during a skate park pit stop on an off-season cross-country tour. In an introduction to the video that shows the stunt, Jacob classifies his move as a “double backflip.” Some critics are questioning whether or not it was a true double backflip or a double cork. Haters be damned, this is an incredible trick made more impressive by its originality and the fact that it was completed on a whim, by a guy who doesn’t even consider skateboarding his main vocation. To all the doubters: what does a guy who jumped over a moving train have to lie about?
Mountain Bike Double Backflip
Way back in April, we covered Paul Basagoitia’s double backflip. The mountain biker’s unintentional seminar on perseverance resulted in the first-ever, natural terrain, double backflip on a mountain bike. Born from his refusal to throw in the towel, Basagoitia accomplished what, he says, he’s been trying to do “for years.” While the trick itself was amazing, the part of Paul’s stunt that has stuck with us, and led us to mention it again, isn’t his ultimate ability to complete it. It’s his refusal to tap out. Even for the most seasoned pros, falling hurts and with each failed attempt, psychological bumps and bruises begin to catch up with those sustained by the body. The temptation to “come back another day” begins to sound sweeter than pushing yourself to lengths that could potentially be career-ravaging. Paul considered all this and soldiered on to pull off a rare feat under even rarer circumstances. Failure pushed him to the brink. Focus pulled him back.
FMX Backflip Over A Plane
At just 20-years-old, Czech FMX rider, Petr Pilat is quickly making a name for himself among his sport’s most revered competitors, and we bet this stunt had a lot to do with his ascension. During a 2011 trip to Mexico city, Pilat successfully backflipped his bike over a plane driven by Red Bull champion pilot, Kirby Chambliss in what has to be the first stunt of its kind. Props are in order for Pilat but let’s not lose sight of Chambliss’s aeronautic prowess. An FMX backflip is dangerous on its own. Deadly even. Add a speeding plane to the mix and it becomes an accident waiting to happen. Kudos to all involved, for trying, for succeeding, and for leaving the scene in one piece.
On September 1, 2007, American-born Tommie Bonds traveled to Cologne, Germany to capture the Guinness World Record for Longest Backflip and offered proof that Adrenalists don’t need a bike or board to pull off world-class acrobatics. Bonds cleared 7 people to land 3.75 meters (1 feet, 3 inches) from his starting point. Check out the little handspring he pulls off to gain momentum before launching into his record-setting gymnastic display. Wheel-less, motor-less, and shirtless, Bonds’ demonstration is one of raw human ability. The fact that he had the presence of mind to complete the trick in front of such a large crowd, knowing all along that any misstep could send him crashing on top of the clump of human obstacles he so effortlessly cleared is secondary, but still way awesome.
Parkour Double Backflip
What starts off as a shaky-cammed demonstration in amateur documentary making becomes a heart-pounding “will he or won’t he” thrill ride that all unfolds in less than 40 action-packed seconds. Unfortunately we don’t know the name or background of this Russian Parkour trickster, but we’re assuming he’s something of a pro, judging by the ease with which he sumersaults and the fact that he catapulted himself off a two-story-high ledge without any noticeable consternation. There’s one thing we do know for sure, though: this dude wouldn’t have any difficulty finding a job as a Hollywood stuntman.