Surfing with a motorbike
BY ANJA FAHS
(Published in The Produktkulturmagazin issue 3 2015)
Jumping over the Canal of Corinth with his motorbike or doing a jump with backflips over the open tower bridge in London has become too boring for Robbie Maddison. The Australian professional FMX sportsman really wanted to know what it was like and made the line between dream and reality fade with an unbelievable stunt. In doing so, he fulfilled his personal ‘pipe dream’ – riding one of the most famous and dangerous waves in the world, in Teahupoo by Tahiti – with his dirt bike.
Robbie had already been dreaming of this project for three years. The multiple motocross world champion went on a journey with one of his sponsoring partners, the American firm DC Shoes USA to unite the beauty of nature and machines. “It’s not about being the first. It’s about believing in yourself because you know that everything is possible”, said Robbie about his break-neck project.
Maddison’s career is just as extraordinary as his sport FMX. He was born in Kiama in Australia and grew up in New South Wales. As a child he had already participated in Motocross and Supercross races. But an illness suddenly changed everything in 1998. He was rushed to hospital from one day to the next with severe meningitis and his recovery took years. After that he feared nothing, he says. Robbie is sure of himself. Had he not become a professional motorcyclist, he would be a professional surfer. “In my dream it’s about connecting the two biggest passions in my life with each other and achieving something that no one has ever managed before.”
In order to be able to surf over the water, his motocross machine was reconstructed in a special way. Around a dozen different waterski versions were developed for the bike. They were equipped with a fin which ensured manoeuvrability and was to hold the bike steady. The back tyre was designed like a paddle wheel in order to ensure the necessary propulsion. The wheels had to be mobile on land too. Robbie worked meticulously for two years on the construction and failed many attempts, until finally the efforts paid off and his KTM 250 SX was ready.
Then, the big day arrived – Robbie stared at the most famous big waves by Tahiti and became a little nervous: “I was really scared, I was shaking in my cross boots. But if you make your bed you have to lie in it and it was time to get going.” And it was successful. Robbie surfed some of most amazing waves in the pacific with his bike – and made his pipe dream finally become reality.
His daredevil video ‘Pipe Dream’ was clicked on three million times in the first 24 hours. Following the successful stunt Maddo said: “My biggest fear was of drowning. Apart from that, I dislocated my shoulder, broke an ankle and suffered several concussions. You wouldn’t think that water can hurt so much. But it does, that’s for sure.”
Picture credits © DC SHOES