Let’s start with a controversial viewpoint, freestyle in any sport is fundamentally boring to watch and does not build an action sports audience for the future. Ouch. We know it hurts. What freestyle athletes do is amazing, it truly is a great level of talent. The level of commitment, training, involved are beyond compare, 99% of participants in the sport will never be able to attain the level of what the top 1% pull off. We do not question that a bit! What we are saying is that it is necessary to innovate on the very nature of hydroflight competitions themselves. Take the time invested in training and help to turn the sport into more than a passing fad.
Gymnastics, skateboard freestyle in a parking lot, ski freestyle, all requiring great commitment and preparation, remain boring to watch when compared to interactions with a dynamic environment. There are only so many flips that a viewing audience can watch before flip fatigue sets in. Audiences are engaged for the first few minutes, and then start to fade away. In other sports, the participants themselves, once the boredom of the routine has set in, have sought out new challenges. Skaters raided empty swimming pools and then built ramps and urban skaters utilized the very urban environment that surrounded them. Parks, rails, benches became fail game. New forms of expression emerged. The added risk of judging abilities and limitations as well as adding imagination and creativity to a three dimensional riding environment made everything new and engaging.
Stratospheric, X, develops solutions and innovative designs for the field of sports. We know that the future of hydro is tied to participating and building audiences and bringing new people into the sport. A big part of this are competitions, interesting to watch competitions. One of the things that we are working on are inflatable shapes that can be used as safe obstacles to illustrate the edges of riders abilities. We call the first developed shape a “Jaxx” a shape based in game history blown up to a superhuman scale. No matter how you flip it, it lands on three legs and allows for both stability and flexibility to flip to a new position. We have had one set of rider experiment with version 1.0 and we built version 1.1 for the Session One event in Florida.
We have a longer range view of this sport and the path to an interesting life that will attract particpants, viewers and sponsors. Freestyle is a technical expression but technical movement without restriction is often viewed as repetitive and runs out of viewer engagement quickly.