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Aaron Fotheringham: First Wheelchair Backflip

(Interview with Aaron Fotheringham in German /auf Deutsch hier klicken )

Aaron Fotheringham is the first know person ever to do a wheelchair backflip(click to see video). We (ND) caught up with Wheelchair Skateboarder Aaron Fotheringham and got to know him better. Below is the first ever interview with Aaron Fortheringham.


ND: Hi Aaron. Let's start by getting to know more about you.  How old are you and where are you from?


Aaron: I am 14 years young and I am from Las Vegas, Nevada.


ND: How long have you been in a wheelchair?


Aaron: I got my first wheelchair when I was 3.  But until I was 8 I mostly used crutches.  Sometime in my 8th year I needed a second hip surgery that didn't really work. Then after a third surgery I started using the chair full time


ND: You are obviously very good at what you do. How long have you been skateboarding? How old were you when you started?


Aaron: I've been 'Hard Core Sitting' for 6 years, so I was 8 years old when I started.


ND: What is Hard Core Sitting?


Aaron: That is a term I created for extreme wheelchair sports. It includes wheelchair skateboarding.


ND: Does wheelchair skateboarding require a lot of practice?


Aaron: Yes! I have to keep practicing or I will loose some skills.  But I love doing it so much I don't think of it as practice, I think of it as a fun way to live my life. 


ND: How did you get started? What was the beginning?


Aaron:  I used to go to the park and watch my brother do BMX tricks.  One day he said I should try dropping in.  I was scared but tried, and from then on I was hooked.


ND: How did you learn to do it? Do you have a teacher, a coach or a manager?


Aaron: No, I just thought of new tricks. I also get suggestions from bikers and skaters.  To me it is more like biking than skating, and I get most of my ideas from what the bikers can do.  But I do some board-like stuff too.  It's actually kind of fun to do a little of both, and I can hang with the boarders or the bikers.


ND: How do you get motivated to go out and do this everyday? What drives you?


Aaron: I love doing it, I don't really need to be motivated. But I do use my Music. I put on my favorite song and that just gets me pumped.


ND: What advice would you give to others who want to try skateboarding? What are the most important things you learned?




ND: Do you need any special equipment? What makes the equipment special?


Aaron: Yes, I highly recommend a chair with suspension. Like the Boing from Colours. (ND: To see the Colours Boing, click the image of the wheelchair).

I also recommend a grinding bar to protect your shocks while grinding.  I also wear gloves, elbow pads, and a helmet, of course.


ND: Why is suspension important? And what is a grinding bar?


Aaron: The suspension takes most of the shock out of the landing. It really softens the ride. It also helps with my launches and hops. But without the suspension, the impact would be just too painful. So, the suspension protects me and the grinding bar protects the suspension from the extreme abuse that I give it.


ND: Ok, now tell us about that backflip, Aaron, that is amazing! How many times did you jump into cushions before taking the cushions away?


Aaron: Oh wow! That's a hard one, probably around 50 or 60 times, because I didn't want to land on my head.


ND: Was the first jump without cushions successful?


Aaron: Almost, but my momentum threw me on my back.  It took about 15 more times before I landed it squarely.  But it doesn't matter because I still can't walk.  Just kidding I'm doing fine.


ND: It must have been a great feeling the first time it worked! Tell us what you felt.


Aaron: I felt like I accomplished what I had wanted to when I started riding.


ND: How many times have you backflipped? Have they all been successful? Did you ever land on your head?


Aaron: I flipped about 20 to 25 times successfully. I didn't really ever LAND on my head but a couple times I pulled off the lip too early and knocked myself out.


ND: Are you really the first person that has ever successfully completed a backflip in a wheelchair?


Aaron: I have reason to believe I am, because others have tried a flip but haven't gotten the full rotation even in the foam pit. Let alone on the Rezi.  No one has come forward to say they have done it too.


ND: What is a rezi?


Aaron: Once a skateboarder masters the full rotation into cushions, the next step is a rezi which is a plastic sheet over the cushions. It is hard, but not as hard as concrete.  The next step after the rezi is to do the jump onto a normal concrete ramp.


ND: I have seen a long video posted on the ColoursWheelchair.com homepage where you are taking some very nasty falls. Have you hurt yourself skateboarding?


Aaron: I did break my elbow once, but just bumps and bruises other than that.  I wear a full face helmet because I have seen other kids get hurt bad.  I saw a kid loose all his front teeth, I saw another kid crack his skull and nearly lose an eye in a fall. 


ND: What are your dreams or plans for the future? Is there something you would like to accomplish as a skateboarder that you have not done yet?


Aaron: Yes, a backflip-180 also known as a Flair

(Note: to see a video of a boy doing a Flair on a scooter Click Here )


ND: Who is your hero?


Aaron: You mean heroes. My heroes are Mike and John Box. They are Super Heroes.  They have been enthusiastic and supportive for years.


Aaron, thanks a lot for the time. I wish you a lot of success with your skateboarding. I am sure we are going to be hearing a lot more about you in the future.


Note from ND: To watch a video of Aaron doing one of his earlier tricks, a 180 degree mid-air turn Click Here


This interview is copyrighted. Reproduction of part or all of the interview is permited but a backlink is required. For print media, acknowledgement to Wheelchair is required.


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