An extreme where the Americans are ahead of the Europeans

Today we woke to find this article on pogo sticks which appeared in no less a veritable publication than the The Daily Telegraph of London. And it would seem that here is an extreme sport where the Americans are in a different league to the Europeans.

Fitted with super strong elastic bands, known as rubber thrusters, the Flybar can bounce as high as seven feet, six inches from the ground. Student Mark Aldridge is part of the new extreme pogo craze, which involves flips at greats heights.

The 17-year-old, from Crowthorne, Berks, said: “Not everyone understands extreme pogo – lots of people think it is tame. Some people even laugh when I tell them about it but when I show them what I can do, how high I can jump in the air, they soon change their minds.”

He said: “I started on a plastic pogo stick that I found in the garage. I found it easy to pick up and I was soon doing tricks but I didn’t really think about it as an extreme sport. Jumping on a Flybar is similar to being on a trampoline – the higher you go the easier it is to do stunts like back flips.”

He has sustained a few injuries along the way, including numerous bruises, a broken ankle and broken ribs, but said it was all part of the learning curve.

The Flybar, which is priced between £149 and £229 depending on size, is currently available through UK distributor Atomic Sports.

But Mark believes it might be some time before extreme pogoing is recognised as a sport.

“It’s more like an underground sport at the moment – like skate boarding once was. Hopefully, in a bit of time, it will be as popular as skate boarding. It’s taking a while to get the sport recognised but I think we’ll definitely get there. It’s already very big in America – where extreme pogoers get together for competitions and I hope this will carry over to the UK soon.”

So whats this all about then dude – gonna have to get ourselves across the water to check it out, but fortunately we can save ourselves a bit of money and a journey, and the planet a few more carbon emissions if we tune into YouTube and check out the action. We had no idea this was such a big thing back west. Thanks to pogofred for the video.

Yes, you Americans are streets ahead of Europe in the world of pogo sticks – why not – it seems you invented the pogo stick! Our friends at Wikipedia disagree and tell us that the pogo stick was invented by Hans Meimban of Germany but give no date to the invention – we’re guessing they’ve been around a long time. They go on to say ‘the pogo stick can be steered, with some difficulty, by shifting one’s weight; thus becoming an interesting form of locomotion. Mmmmmm – not so sure that Wikipedia have got it right this time.

We learn fron www.pogostickusa.com that as legend has it, an American traveler named George Hansburg was making his way through Burma when he made the acquaintance of a poor farmer. The farmer’s daughter was named Pogo, and Pogo—devout little girl that she was—wanted to go to temple every day to pray, but couldn’t because she had no shoes to wear for the long walk through the mud and rocks. So the poor farmer built a jumping stick for her, and Pogo’s daily temple bounce-trips through the mud and over the rocks ensued. When the impressed traveler returned home, he made a jumping stick of his own, attaching a spring to the wooden stick contraption that the farmer had introduced him to.

Sounds a bit far fetched to us but what ensued was not: wherever the idea for the jumping stick really came from, Hansburg patented his “Pogo Stick” in 1919. And so it was that in the 1920s the pogo stick reached its nadir of popularity in the US – that popularity has been on the wane since, but with the technical developments in the likes of the Flybar, the Vurtego and the BowGo, combined with the ability to do so much more than just bounce – backflips and other tricks are now possible, there has been a growth of a new sport of stunt pogo or extreme pogo. Is the pogo stick going through a renaissance in popularity?

This second video from chefking shows the Flybar being tested and the tricks that can be performed. It sure looks cool – no doubt it will evolve from an ‘underground’ sport into a more mainstream sport – who knows maybe the Olympics beckons 2016??………..but please, oh please, can it not be in the form of synchronised pogo stick jumping and tricks – uahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

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