British BMX rider Kriss Kyle has performed stunts on a floating skatepark above 2,000ft in a world-first achievement. Describing the opportunity as a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience, Kyle rode a custom-made bowl suspended from a hot air balloon. The stunt, called Don’t Look Down, was achieved while wearing a parachute and contending with a bowl that constantly swung. Engineers from Red Bull Racing created the bowl using carbon fibre to make the structure lighter and buoyant enough to float at 1.6 tonnes.
The balloon set off from Charlton Park Estate in Wiltshire and flew 30 miles over the Cotswolds before touching down. Specific climatic conditions, including wind speeds of less than three miles per hour, were required for the flight to take place. Kyle said the idea came to him while mountain biking with his dogs during lockdown before pitching the idea to Red Bull.
The 31-year-old Red Bull athlete from Scotland has competed professionally in BMX events since 2008. He has created high-profile projects, including Kaleidoscope and Out of Season. With filming for his next stunt in Switzerland beginning in October, Kyle said the floating skatepark was “definitely up there” as one of his best projects.
Technical director of Red Bull Advanced Technologies, Rob Gray, said carbon fibre was used to reduce the weight of the bowl. The wooden prototype was built to check whether Kyle could ride it and define the shape for the final creation. Looking over the edge, Kyle considered the experience as something to take to the grave.
The flight was a more than a unique experience challenging the limits of engineering by creating a bowl that could float while a BMX rider performs stunts at 2,000ft above the ground. Carbon fibre helped reduce the weight of the skatepark and make it buoyant, whilst filming was vital for Kyle’s next project in Switzerland. Kyle’s creative flair and desire to push boundaries can be seen in the various projects he has taken on such as Kaleidoscope and Out of Season. He considers Don’t Look Down as one of his best projects which he will take to the grave, with specific climate conditions needed to make the flight possible. The project showcases the potential creation of airborne skateparks in the future, making BMX and other street sports more exciting as it challenges riders to showcase their skills under unstable conditions.