If you want to know all about the extreme sport of jump stilts it helps to understand the evolution of the sport and its equipment. Jumping stilts have gone through a lot of changes over the years. The inspiration for the stilts could have started more than a hundred years ago in Great Britain. No matter where the idea originally began the result is an exciting new sport that is equally enjoyed by participants and spectators.
People have long been enamored with super human traits. Who knows when the first stories of people with super human traits started. What is certain is that these kinds of stories continue to inspire people to create contraptions that make these myths realities. Some claim that the century old tales of a British man named, Spring Heel Jack, inspired the creation of spring shoes which evolved into stilts. Others claim that Spring Heel Jack was a real man who had already created his own version of early jumping stilts. While we will never know if Spring Heel Jack was a real man, his super human trait was not forgotten.
In 1891, George Herrington from Wichita, Kansas, invented and patented the first spring stilts. While this is the true beginning of today’s jumping stilts, his invention would inspire the creation of the Pogo Stick. It would be many years before people would further develop Herrington’s invention. The Pogo Stick was named after a girl from a Burmese story. The story claims that the girl’s father created a jumping stick that would allow the girl to travel the mountain paths faster.
It would not be until the 1950’s that Herrington’s invention would be reintroduced to the mainstream. Nickelodeon begins to market and sell moon shoes to children. These “moon shoes” were designed to fit over regular shoes, like roller skates, but with springs on the bottom. These spring shoes never had a chance as they were quickly banned due to the high number of injuries and breaks to the ankle.
The Russian army gave their contribution to the evolution of jumping stilts in the 1970’s. They created rocket boots for their soldiers. Rocket boots used combustion pistons unlike the springs used in all other versions. The rocket boots were created the same reason Pogo’s father created her stick, faster travel. Soldiers have been reported reaching speeds of 10 to 22 mph using the boots. Higher speeds require more experience, naturally.
Kangoo Jumps were redesigned by a Swiss entrepreneur, Denis Naville, in the 1990’s. These spring shoes were originally designed to be used as physical therapy for injuries. The Swiss entrepreneur saw the health benefit for people without injuries and created them to be used by the general public. Since the inception the product has been redesigned several times. Pro models have been created for those who want to use them for jogging or for overweight people. They greatly reduce the impact on joints while walking, jogging or running. Versions of the product are still on the market today.
Today’s jumping stilts have been designed to mimic both athletic prosthetic legs and a pogo stick. The purpose of the modern design, jump high and far while having the maximum amount of fun. There are several different manufactures of the stilts in today’s market. There are models designed specifically for adults or children. Models created for extreme use and those for casual use, further differentiate the fast growing market The modern stilts have been so well received that an entire extreme sport has been born from the movement.
Several extreme sports have been born from humble beginnings as children’s toys. A perfect example of this is skateboarding. Jumping stilts, as well as pogo sticks, have an appeal that transcends childhood shenanigans. Those who own the stilts have quickly realized the full potential of the equipment. The stilts permit people to jump, flip, and fly in ways never thought possible with mere mortal legs and feet.
The sport began as casual gatherings, between jumping stilt owners, in backyards and skate parks. Peers challenging each other to get the biggest air, or create a new trick a, quickly advanced the activity into the sport that it is today. It is no doubt that videos, of the amazing tricks, uploaded to social media sites helped introduce the emerging sport to the masses. These amazing videos also helped people realize just how appealing the sport is to spectators and not just the participants.
This is a really new extreme sport and organized events are on the rise, but they are in the early stages. Few people, at this time, are professional jumping stilt athletes. However, just with other extreme sports, this is sure to change over the next few years. Currently, events are not really sanctioned and they are typically hosted by stores selling the equipment and accessories. Participants are enthusiast of jumping stilts who believe in the sport and the trajectory of its popularity. The courses typically mimic that of a street skate course. The objective, pull the sickest known trick or create your own. Events can either be competitions, that are ranked, or just exhibitions where athletes show off the goods for the pure enjoyment of everyone involved.
The Health Benefits
Now that you know all about the extreme sport of jumping stilts, know that you do not have to be extreme to enjoy them. They were created to be enjoyed by the whole family. You do not have to pull a twisting front flip to benefit from, and enjoy, jumping stilts. The stilts, like the shoes, are a low impact activity on your joints. You can jump, bounce, or jog without giving your joints a jarring jolt. There are huge cardio vascular benefits to the activity whether or not you engage in extreme activities. The stilts are also great for the muscles in your legs and, especially, your bum. It is a full body workout like you would receive from jogging without all the damage to your joints.