A good rule of thumb, backed by an excellent recent video showing the drama and tension of competitive water cup filling, is that anything can be made into a sport if people try hard enough. Take, for example, the humble pogo stick’s bounding jump from being a rental vehicle clowns use when their unicycles are in the shop for repair to the center of an extreme sport.
Mel Magazine’s Andrew Fiouzi, who previously gave us a searing examination of the world of extreme ironing, has written an article detailing the athletes working to show the kind of wild stunts that are made possible with determination and a springy stick.
We’re introduced to figures like Dalton Smith, a young pogo master who’s “won gold at the world championships of pogo for the last seven years in a row,” the organizers responsible for creating pogo events, and the inventors of advanced sticks capable of launching people high enough to do sweet tricks.
The article explains that extreme pogo really took off with the introduction of “a high-powered pogo” called the Flybar and an air-powered pogo called the Vurtego in the mid-2000s. By 2009, a competition called Pogopalooza had been created, bringing pogoists from the entire world into contact with one another to show off what kind of moves they’d been working on.
More than a decade later, pogo has become more popular than it used to be but is still held back by the fact that the kind of sticks needed to get going can cost nearly $500. The sport’s most talented athletes aren’t exactly raking it in, either. Smith tells Mel that “most jumpers have another job” and only really make money “from performances and stunt shows at halftime shows and corporate events.”
Still, they’re happy that videos of them have been spreading further and that athletes from established sports, like skateboarding, are taking interest in what they’re up to. With time, perhaps, the sport will really, properly spring into the mainstream.
For more on extreme pogoing, read the entire article over at Mel Magazine.
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