Back in the halcyon days of my youth, skateboarding was the radical, edgy sport that had the old men shaking their fists and talking about “kids these days”, and then also sired even edgier programming like Jackass. I never got into it. Even then I was too stodgy for such extreme sports.

Put your wheels away, the new up-and-coming street activity is extreme pogoing.

Awesome, dude. I think I’ll pass on the hobby, but more power to all the xpogoers out there. Except, well, I do have a few reservations…

But as rubbery as they may be, they aren’t immune to injury. To that end, when Smith was 13, he went to his first world championship in Salt Lake City. “I qualified for the finals, which I was shocked to make at such a young age,” he tells me. As a result of that shock and excitement, he decided to attempt a double backflip dismount at the end of his final run. “It all built up to that moment; the hype got me buzzed up, and I was ready to fly. I sent the double!” Smith recalls. But he opened up his body too early. “I basically belly-flopped, knees first, into the concrete,” he says.

He would spend the next four months in a wheelchair after shattering both of his kneecaps, all the toes on each of his feet and his nose. (He suffered a major concussion, too.) It hasn’t exactly paid either — at least in terms of dollars and cents. “Most jumpers have another job to supplement like Uber or Grubhub, odd jobs or other service industry stuff,” says Smith. “I make roughly 25-30k a year and live in a converted sprinter van.”

I’m not going to tell anyone not to do it, though — after all, I went into academia, which likewise isn’t going to get you rich, and while you’re probably not going to break bones at it, your mental health won’t be sheltered well. Boing boing away!


  1. larpar says

    I hope videos like this cause an uptick in the popularity of pogo sticks. Maybe someone will finally buy the 40-year-old one that I’ve had out at several garage sales.

  2. larpar says

    PZ @3
    You can’t start out with an extreme pogo stick. You have to work your way up to it.
    That will be my new sales pitch, anyway. : )

  3. laurian says

    Pogo sticks. Boy that takes me back to my childhood of steel and asphalt playgrounds. Now that I think back on it I suspect post-WWII playground design was part of an subconscious program to cull the human herd.

  4. HidariMak says

    I wonder how many FAIL videos are generated out of videos like this one. As someone who never had the confidence to think that I wouldn’t fail, I’m impressed with what some of these people can pull off, but can still wonder about their sanity in trying it.

  5. brucegee1962 says

    Proving again that an essential component of bravery and daredevils is a lack of imagination. As in, being unable to imagine all the horrible ways you could damage yourself, as I imagine while I watch these videos.

  6. festersixohsixonethree says

    I suppose it is a plus that we all get to choose how we might die. :)

  7. whywhywhy says

    I assume this is a sport dominated by teenagers because older folks are too brittle to survive all the falls that comprise training. Even successfully landing these would batter my old bones. (Still looks like fun though.)

  8. unclefrogy says

    I have been watching video collections on the tube lately which show a wide variety of things some really odd and spectacular things and cute funny things. They also show clips of tricks on skateboards, downhill mountain bikes, skis and snow boards as well as fails in same. they never show anyone being carried into the ambulance after but I do not see how anyone was walking away from some of them. some collections are worse in that regard I do not watch them again. Watching someone crash in pain I find very unpleasant.

  9. Raefn says

    I’m glad he’s having fun, and making a modest living. However, I can’t help but wince at the arthritis he’s bound to develop as he gets older!

  10. Jazzlet says

    If you tried pogo-ing on the grass round about here you’d get one landing, which would go down, and down, and down until the foot rest reached the ground.

  11. John Morales says

    Quite remarkable.

    (Yet another video I could only watch muted, though. Why people persist on putting noise over natural sounds eludes me, but it’s fucking annoying)

  12. tinkerer says

    brucegee1962 @7 wrote:

    Proving again that an essential component of bravery and daredevils is a lack of imagination. As in, being unable to imagine all the horrible ways you could damage yourself, as I imagine while I watch these videos.

    I don’t really agree with that. I enjoy watching Parkour videos and the high level performers are well aware of the consequences if things go wrong. The final edited vids might give the impression that they’re just throwing themselves at things but there’s actually a huge amount of planning and practicing and risk assessment involved which often isn’t shown. Doesn’t mean nobody ever gets hurt, but most of them certainly aren’t mindlessly reckless.

    I’m a bit of an Adrenalin junky myself at times (although at a much lower level) and for me the thrill is in being aware of what can go wrong while relying on ones practiced skills to stay out of trouble. That’s not to say there’s no risk involved, but it’s not the same as playing Russian Roulette.

  13. birgerjohansson says

    Twenty years ago the magazine Nature used to have a contributor named David Jones who would would come up with all kinds of plausible and implausible schemes, like a nuclear-powered pogo stick. You have two pieces of sub-critical fissile material inside the cylinder, and for each jump the two pieces are brought together.

  14. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    For a split second, I thought you wrote “extreme pooping,” and the worst part is, I wasn’t even surprised. I was thinking, “Oh, do they do it off the side of buildings?”

  15. Oggie: Mathom says

    I did something somewhat similar to that on a pogo stick back in the 70s. I came down off of some stairs onto the driveway.
    The pogo stick bottomed out while I was still very extended above the stick. I think my feet may have left the little foot thingies.
    When the pogo stick rebounded, I was still on the heading downward. The stick was going up, I was coming down. Ended up on the driveway, curled up into a little ball, whimpering. I seem to remember the ache lasted about a week.