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How Cool Is This


ozski
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But here's the thing, shed loads of people will see it and talk about and share it. Its this sort of creative thinking that lifts brands and sports out of obscurity and into the mainstream, its this sort of creative flair that our sport might benefit from. What about Freddy and his big jump ski's out playing in those waves behind a big blown Mastercraft of something.. Just a thought.
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The story behind the story -

 

So what drove Maddison to tempt fate – and push the limits of technology? It all started during a wakeboarding adventure with friends. While riding on the water, Maddison realized that with the right mechanics, he could combine his love for moto and surf. His epiphany led to the development of a dozen different versions of custom skis that attached to his dirt bike, with skegs beneath to act as rudders for maneuverability and control. A paddle tire on the rear wheel would propel the bike forward on the water, but also handle well on land. After two years of trial and error, Maddison approached DC Shoes' global brand leader Jeff Taylor with his idea of surfing on a motorcycle. Familiar with Maddo's previous successful rides on water – he'd managed to go for several miles in Mission Bay – and his mechanical aptitude, Taylor wrote a check on the spot to support the project. Months later, all efforts paid off, as Maddo took to the ocean on his KTM 250 SX, making surfing on his motorbike a reality.

 

On Sunday, DC finally unveiled footage of Maddison's historic ride – a clip very aptly titled Pipe Dream. And having survived unscathed, Maddo spoke with Rolling Stone from his Temecula, California home about his most defiant stunt to date.

 

 

 

Let's start with the question on everyone's mind: What made you decide to do this?

I've grown up surfing my whole life. If I didn't end up in professional moto, I would be a professional surfer. I was winning competitions in both sports when I was a grommet. This dream is about combining two of my life's passions in order to do something that has never been attempted.

 

I had played with the idea a few times on a dirt bike. You can ride on the water for a short time, until the front wheel breaks the surface and throws you over the handlebars. We set out to design a bike that would maintain a plane above the water for long periods of time, with a system in place for control and maneuverability. There were also some issues with the bike taking water into the motor. With some persistence, I rode the bike in San Diego's Mission Bay for nearly eight miles. After that, I was able to approach Jeff Taylor at DC with pure confidence that I could ride a wave.

 

Did you have full control of the bike while riding on the waves?

Yeah, it works great. I'm able to ride up and down the wave, and make small adjustments by accelerating. During our development, I could ride out onto the lake at 50 mph on top of the water, turn the bike around and ride back to the shore. But a wave only travels at about 15 mph, a speed that would normally sink the bike. I was able to release the power of the bike and use more of the power of the wave to actually surf it.

 

But eventually, the bike would sink, right?

Each time the bike went under, we had extensive mechanical work to rebirth it for another run. We knew we were bound to sink the bike a few times in Tahiti, so we switched from a 450cc four-stroke motor to a two-stroke motor for the advantage of having a less-complicated engine and less electronics and wiring to deal with.

 

While you were filming, you were taken under by a giant wave in Teahupo'o. Walk us through what happened.

The worst possible scenario would be that I took on a "West bomb" wave that comes with an extra elbow, and the main section – where I intended to ride – would close out. Even on a surfboard, you never want to see that. A storm was just passing us by and the waves were coming in at 25-30 feet high. We waited, until I finally saw this massive black lump on the horizon. I took off from the barge and stayed with the wave, but I had about 500 feet to traverse in order to get into the main section so we could get that perfect shot. Once I got past the shoulder of the wave, I could clearly see that I was in a West bomb – a death sentence.

 

There I was on a motorcycle, with the worst thing that could possibly happen. I turned out from the wave and it crashed down behind me, chasing me down. I was picked up and thrown, and my bike landed on my back, knocking all the air out of me. It was the most violent ride I've ever been on, tumbling beneath the surface in full gear. Over the next four or five minutes, I only had two split-second moments when my head broke the surface and I could take in a fast breath, only to be yanked back down and tumbled with my bike. Everything was going white. I became completely limp and was prepared to take in a full breath of water, when I finally popped up. I could see the helicopter and Jet Skis, and had a quick moment to wave my arm so that they could locate me.

 

In short, you almost died. I think I know the answer, but, was it worth it?

Back on the boat, I was in tears. My friends and crew were completely rattled, having thought that I had drowned in the wave. It's the gnarliest thing I have ever been through. I was so relieved to be alive and to have accomplished what we did in Tahiti. It was so incredible to see the culmination of my dream that didn't come with a glorious medal or cheering crowds, but the reward of being the very first person to ever ride a motorcycle on these waters and do something entirely different.

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okay, so they make a very low profile belt like device that become a full life saving floatation belt on immersion in water. they make life vests no bigger than a pair of wide suspenders that explode into a full support mode on immersion in water. hell, a 1 inch layer of closed cell poly foam built into his mx jacket would be life saving. so after reading of his near death experience the only question left to ask is ' wft '?

 

when i was a kid dad told me theres a fine line between courageous and foolhardy. this stunt crossed that line big time. theres tears of sorrow and tears of joy -back on that boat i can only assume he was crying tears of stupid.

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Robbie Maddison is bad ass. He's the maniac that did that huge 10

story jump onto the top of the Vegas casino , then jumped down from the roof back to the ramp. I'm sure that Freddy has respect for this guy. Wasn't too smart to wear the riding boots , must of wanted the moto look. DC should of had him in their shoes. Swimming in regular shoes is even hard. Thanks for posting this , I heard a DJ talking about this on the radio this morning. Love the sound of the newer KTM 2 strokes.

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think its very cool. Where does it say he had no buoyancy on him? big wave surfers don't wear vests and have the same crew to drag them out of a wave whats the difference? wearing full gear wouldn't make much difference getting dragged around in a big wave but it also wouldn't help.

 

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That's awesome! He looks to be about one or two design tweaks away from not having to practically sit on the rear fender to keep that front wheel out of the water. Love to see people push the limits of technology
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I had the opportunity of meeting Robbie a couple of years back as they were all beginning the "testing" for this project. The team was huge and it took an incredible amount of determination and ingenuity to pull this off. It was truly inspiring to meet the man and watch him ride a motorcycle down the slalom lake at 60 MPH. The progression of sport in general, and what is known as "achievable" was the reason behind this project in my mind more than all else and my hat goes off to the man for making this happen. @ozski unfortunately putting Freddy out in the surf probably wouldn't do much to bring new people to skiing, a few years back the wakeboarders began riding the waves and it ultimately only led to some different looking "surf photos". Long story short, continued progression in any and every sport is needed to keep people interested in trying it out or joining, and Robbie just very creatively made the world look at motorcycles in an entirely different light. @mwetskier, yes it was crazy or foolhardy or maybe even "stupidity" but you cannot deny that it was f$@%ing epic! And in the eye of the beholder (Robbie) the juice was definitely worth the squeeze......

 

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I'm really surprised by some of the negativity around this stunt. Sure Robbie Maddison and I are at opposite ends of the risk aversion spectrum (at least when it comes to physical risk). But the sport of waterskiing was started by a probably-similar daredevil. And the mechanical stuff he's done here is very clever. Although necessity is the more famous mother-of-invention, insanity can beget invention as well!

 

Humans advance because of outside-the-box thinking and pushing the envelope. My hat is off to one who does.

 

P.S. I will be trying that ... never.

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i have no problem with risking my life for something i am driven to do - if there is no way to *not* take a risk. but in this particular stunt the cost to reduce or eliminate death by drowning is super cheap. it also wouldn't detract from the actual event even a tiny bit. so why not take that little extra step to protect against drowning? and consider one other thing -suppose he *had* drowned? instead of cheering the guy we would be commenting on how foolish he had been. when a little bit of protection does nothing to detract from the goal why risk death at all? like my dad said, its a fine line.
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@mwetskier

Have you ever had the chance to get in over your head in any surf conditions? It is possible to drown in three feet of waves with a life jacket on in unfavorable conditions.

 

I myself have nearly drowned in unknown circumstances by being held under the water by the waves.... Water possesses an immense power and even with reasonable flotation you are just along for the ride no matter the size or power of the waves.

 

Robbie had MANY more safety measures in place as he was working on this, than any other person in the water that day or any other. The countless divers, photographers in the water, boats and locals on hand for this were there specifically for him.

 

Yes a risk, with monumental reward.....

 

 

 

How about the fourth wing suit death of the year in Turkey? should we outlaw it?

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I don't have any issue with him doing it but it doesn't inspire me. It was kind of cool and different and I can see how Maddison wanted to do it given his background but watching the video I didn't see anything that looked like him actually surfing a wave as much as riding the bike around in the waves. I am sure there is more coming and that was just a teaser.

 

It is a cool engineering feet and takes a huge set of stones to do though.

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I have no problem with motorcycles. I have no problem with motorcycle or "extreme" stunts per se (I thought Robbie Maddison's New Year's stuff was very cool). I have no problem with advancing the technology of motorcycles. What I have a problem with is the venue for this particular stunt. We don't need motorcycles in the lineup. That's asinine. I realize that this was a stunt for publicity and hopefully it was just a one-off thing.

 

@Tevskis - I hear ya. The surf at Bonfil can get heavy, eh? Even the smaller stuff has more power than you think.

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@Chef23 it was a video shoot that cost huge $. I would bet a case of scotch that everyone surfing was part of the project or at least was very aware of it.
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Thanks for some clarifications; I think I'm following most people's thought processes now.

 

One minor note though: I am happy to call Robbie foolish, despite the fact that he happened to live this time. Someone driven to take extreme risks like that most likely eventually dies doing it.

 

I just want to emphasize his right to do so. If "other people" get to decide our risk tolerance for us, guess how many slalom buoys there will be floating in the world?

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@Tevskis -if you were directing your rhetorical question toward me i would just point out that i haven't suggested outlawing *anything*. i proposed the concept of using a bit of common sense -which seems to have offended you somehow. and yes i have surfed and spent my fair share of time in the washer. so i know it lets you out when it lets you out. but i also know that under any circumstances more buoyant is better than less buoyant.
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If some of you are getting grumpy over surf / motorcycle stunt video I am pretty sure that is a sign of the apocalypse.

 

Does anyone know Bobbie's fin settings?

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I'm sorry my rhetorical question was just that... not meant for anyone it was something i saw just today, another base jumper died pushing the limits of his abilities last week. it is unfortunate, but the sport isn't against him or the other three whom have perished before him already this year (by my count)

 

I am not offended from any of your aforementioned comments just simply pointing out with progression comes risk. I am sure that the people on hand i.e. Redbull, DCshoes, the team around him including doctors, trainers, psychiatrists and Robbie himself took all of the dangers into account.

 

Calling the man stupid is just discounting the feat that he accomplished...

 

the two most dangerous things to call someone is stupid or crazy

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Actually it's clicker settings on his suspension that should be discussed. Maybe if the rear end didn't squat when he tried to outrun the closed out wave he would of been ok. Or the effect that the turbulent conditions had on his traction. Maybe a different paddle tire selection ?
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I ski in a public lake in the Sierra Nevada foothills and it is a beautiful setting. I usually go weekday mornings and am therefore often the only boat on the lake except for fishermen (except for the two peak summer months when school is out). When the boat is not running the environment is very calm and peaceful. I always feel guilty starting the boat up and messing up the tranquility. Watching that video of a motorcycle (that I perceive as noisy and greasy) buzzing past paddlers in clear, pristine water made my stomach churn a bit. As a stunt I think it was indeed pretty cool (i.e. a motorcycle riding on water and on waves), but it just seemed so inappropriate for it to be in such pristine settings. I guess it was just too irreverent for me.
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