Interview with Robbie Maddison about the Teahupo'o stunt
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 11 August, 2015 - Robbie Maddison jumps over, on, off or through some of the most incredible things you can imagine. He's held world records for longest distance jumped on a motorcycle; He jumped onto a replica of the Arc de Triomphe, then just for fun, jumped back down. He backflipped over the opened Tower Bridge in London, leapt over 300 feet across the Corinth Canal and most recently jumped close to 400 feet over the San Diego Harbour with friend Levi Lavallee on a snowmobile next to him.
And he surfs too. Which is why Maddo's stunt in Tahiti last month where he took off on waves at Teahupo'o was more natural than you might imagine. We spoke with him about just how the hell you get a moto bike to surf...
This is a rad stunt. Do you surf or Jet Ski?
I enjoy both. I grew up surfing so combining my two passions was a dream. For nearly two years I trained riding my dirt bike in Lake Elsinore. When we arrived at Tahiti, I was able to go out in my full moto gear on a surfboard and Jet Ski to train for this stunt.
What gave you the inspiration to ride your dirt bike on top of the water?
I spent a lot of time on a boat, cruising around wakesurfing and seeing the water flow. Nearly two years ago, I came up with this idea by combining my love of surfing and motocross. For those two years, I dedicated everything to getting this trick dialed and thanks to Jeff Taylor and the team at DC, I was able to defy convention and make this dream a reality.
What was the single most difficult hurdle in getting the bike to run on water?
By far, dialing the ski angles and design. There was a lot of trial and error with the skis. Every time we made a change to the bike, it changed the way the bike rode in the ocean. I’ve never rode a wave on a dirt bike and had to roll with the punches.
How did the crew in the lineup react to a motorbike running through? Did Raimana help you out?
Surfers in the lineup were so shocked and pumped. They were out there clapping and congratulating me with the DC team. Oh man, Raimana is a legend. He’s the whole reason why I was able to successfully accomplish this stunt. He was right out there with me, telling me when to go as the waves came in.
Did you lose any motorcycles in the course of this process?
We brought two bikes out to Tahiti and I rode one out of the two but we were always swapping parts. I took five waves in Tahiti on my dirt bike and successfully rode four out of the five. On one of the waves, I got dragged down into the ocean and almost lost my bike once but we were able to recover it.
It’s a crazy stunt. Do you think you’ve created a new extreme sport?
[laughs] Wow if I did, sorry for the expense.