A few Sunday nights ago, I was making my way through my Instagram timeline at 3:30 in the morning (which was more so than I’d like to admit a tangent activity from raising my Hypno in Pokemon SoulSilver to be up to speed for the next gym) and saw a user by the name of “xpogo” in the comment section of a “Switchmade” video. I saw the username, and to cite a direct quote from my immediate internal monologue, ‘that sounds cool as fuck.’ I made a speedy click to escort myself to a possible solution to ease my wonder of what Pogo Stick Instagram pages could possibly contain. I decided to explore and be introduced to the world of professional Pogoing. So, here is a result of my late night/early morning curiosity of a previously unknown-to-me realm of pastimes. Here’s an introspective look at the casual and business side to extreme pogoing:
Subrad: What is the verb for using a Pogo Stick professionally? Pogoing? Pogo sticking?Xpogo: Most athletes call it pogoing. People will call themselves a pogo athlete, a pogo rider, or a pogoer.
SR: What exactly is Xpogo? A company? Community page?
Xpogo: Xpogo is a high end media company. We produce high quality media both internally and externally. We produce our own series such as ‘Pogo Adventure’, ‘One Try Wednesday’ and ‘Xpogo Academy'(essentially a tutorial series). But we generate our income from producing content for external brands – our most successful so far was a video for McAlisters Deli which can be found on our YouTube page. Aside from that, we manage 10 pro athletes who we contract out for these video shoots. The other arm of the business is a further 30 athletes that we manage who do world class demos at state fairs, MiLB games, NBA games and school tours throughout the year.
SR: How big would you say the pogoing community is?
Xpogo: There’s around 300 active riders in the world. It’s constantly growing which is something we’re very excited about.
SR: Since it’s a bit more uncommon than, say, skateboarding or BMX, how do people who haven’t heard of/experienced it react to professional pogoing?
Xpogo: Haha good question. So to most people, saying I ride extreme pogo sticks usually results in them fairly confused and misunderstanding. But we quickly pull a phone out and show them our instagram and they think it’s real cool. If anyone sees me or another athlete riding in the street they always have a million questions to ask about tricks we can do and how the pogo sticks work. The greatest feeling is when people come up to us and have actually heard of it before or seen it before. That’s always awesome. In terms of athletes from other sports, most people are very respectful of it. We do a lot of demo collaboration with other BMX groups, FMX riders, inline skaters and skateboarders, which automatically gives us a lot more street cred, but most athletes from other sports want to try it out and are usually pretty good at jumping.
SR: Can you name any athletes from other action sposts you’ve met through demos?
Xpogo: Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham, Morgan Wade, Travis Pastrana and the whole Nitro Circus crew, Jaren Grob – the list is pretty endless!
“Skateboarding wasn’t built on one company, and it works exactly the same for pogo.“
SR: Since it’s somewhat a young sport, when did the buzz start to grow into what it is today?
Xpogo: Around 7 years ago.
SR: Xpogo seems to have a pretty fair monopoly on pogoing, do you currently have any competing companies in the industry? (If not do you see any rising up in the future?)
Xpogo: There’s not currently any competitors but we drastically want there to be. We want there to be more companies in the industry to create more diversity and contribute to expanding the industry. Skateboarding wasn’t built on one company, and it works exactly the same for pogo.
SR: What is Pogopalooza?
Xpogo: Pogopalooza is the annual competition of extreme pogo. It’s an event hosted by us but generally is a great time for all the athletes and upcoming riders to hang out and ride together. We have three main competitions – high jump (self explanatory) which the world record sits at 10.6 feet. Best trick, where athletes have 30 minutes to throw down their most insane crazy trick ideas and attempt to land them and the judges then decide which was the most impressive, and then freestyle which works a lot like skateboarding or BMX competitions. Athletes compete in a jam format competition to qualify, using obstacles and a street park to throw down their best runs, and then ten finalists go into the finals and throw down in two 90 second solo runs before judges decide who the top 3 competitors are.
SR: What are Nicks? (In reference to Xpogo’s instagram bio, “10 pros, 2 Nicks”)
Xpogo: The two Nicks are our founders. Nick Ryan who is the CEO and Nick McClintock who is the chief creative officer.
SR: What’s the gnarliest thing you’ve seen done on a Pogo Stick?
Xpogo: Gnarliest? I saw one of the pro riders try to do a double backflip dismount (like off the pogo stick) and he opened his body too early and broke both his kneecaps and his nose.
SR: Is there a slang specific to Pogoers?
Xpogo: There isn’t any slang specific to Pogoers.
SR: What falls are typical in Pogoing? Rolled Ankles? Shinners? Head Slams? Nut shots on a pogo sound deadly.
Xpogo: Rolled/twisted ankles and wrists. Broken arms and legs, rib fractures, head slams, one guy broke his urethra…
SR: Jesus. How did he break his urethra?
Xpogo: Actually doing a fairly basic trick called a No Foot Peg Grav where you reach down and grab the foot peg and take both your feet off. But the handles got caught on his shorts and he ended up racking himself on the handle bar. He rode with reinforced bars so there was no give when he came down on them.
SR: Damn. We send our dearest condolences to the guy. Although on that note, what features does Xpogo add (like reinforced bars) that differentiate it from a normal kids pogo stick?
Xpogo: So the majority of the athletes ride Vurtego pogo sticks. They are made in California and run solely on air. You just pump it up with a regular bike pump. Athletes jump anywhere from 60-120psi inside it. Essentially the more air you pump in, the higher you can jump, provided you have the leg strength/body weight!
SR: What specifies between a land or a bail? Do you have to bounce again after for it to count?
Xpogo: People usually say like three bounces after a trick makes it count. And a bail would just be not landing the trick or landing on your face.
SR: Where do you see pogoing going in the future?
Xpogo: I see pogoing in the future being a worldwide recognized sport with more athletes and more competitions.
SR: If a ghost doesn’t speak english does that make it more or less scary?
Xpogo: Less scary, because I feel like if ghosts know you’re getting angry at them, then they are more likely to break your shit, and break you. So at least you have the comfort in knowing you can shout and swear at it and it won’t know what you’re saying so there’s less chance you’ll get fucked up. #Logic
SR: Waffles or Tacos?
SR: Explain your reasoning.
Xpogo: Because I literally eat tacos at least like twice a week.
SR: I feel that. Would you rather have a slight magnetic pull on all bread within ten feet of you or hear eggs whisper about you every time you’re near them?
Xpogo: I would rather hear eggs whisper about me!
To learn more about Xpogo, follow them on Instagram at @xpogo