Mike Arnold xTREME
Atlantic Drifter and Isle Pro Mike Arnold kindly sat down with myself and Sam Hutchinson to sieve through some of his favourite clips around the subject of "extreme". He talked us through the realm of 'Send It' culture but we also got to delve into some ideas which as skateboarders we tend to block out.
The following clips were submitted by Mike. It accumulated to the three of us talking at length about paragliding, skiing, freerunning and the limits of the human body.
Why the profound love for the extreme? It’s not the extreme sport because it’s purely X-treme sport in these clips.
I didn't know there was a difference.
Well I'd take it as someone might die? Is that where the proverbial line is when it comes to losing the e?
I know that sometimes I want to take things a little bit further until its uncomfortable, that’s what’s exciting. It excites me for some reason 'the physical risk in a controlled environment' is a high really. Its adrenaline without being jerky, its not the type of adrenaline you get when you're on edge,worrying or over-thinking stuff, its 'flowy' in your body, it's addictive. Paragliding is the perfect example.
Wait, what you're Paragliding?
Yeah! I’ve been doing a course.
I’ve not got my own kit yet but I've been to Spain for two weeks, that is by far the scariest thing I've ever done. The training is never done tandem, it’s by yourself on a 200ft slope. Then you jump to a 2000ft mountain. It’s the coolest thing in the world.
This is the first one. Its some stunt style takeoff, and he might be naked which is obviously cool *laughs*.
You have to trust the equipment with this one I guess?
Yeah a lot of trust. He has a base wing so it can't collapse as easily as a paragliding wing. Is he naked? It looks like bondage gear.
There’s two layers of cloud too! Paragliding is all about firsts, first time you start thermalling, first time you get to cloud base, that’s where I want to get to. You can go cross-country and do hundreds of kilometres, just using the equipment properly, no motors.
This one is pretty sick, he’s tanking up to a huge jump. Its mixing those two things. Dirt biking with base jumping, I’m assuming it doesn’t get done a lot. It’s the mentality, this is going to work. 'It’s going to have to work, I’ll just have to try it'. Nobody is going to teach you how to do something like that because it probably hasn't been done before. The destruction of the bike is pretty funny.
They try to attach the bike to a parachute?
I never noticed that.
It’s a DIY jump, that you make when you're young.
Who the hell are these guys? Also there's really not much room for error.
Like base jumping, the lower and closer you are to the ground the more dangerous it is. You can’t hit anything up in the sky all you can hit is the ground. He needs to go as fast as he can and get as much height too to make it less dangerous. A proper send as these guys say.A weird reminder of the ‘Extremely Sorry’ Bob Burnquist mega ramp cliff maneuver, is this something you’d try?
Well...is it too kooky?
This is escapism from skateboarding, would you want skateboarding to be involved at all on this side?
Kind of, I sometimes get a bit bored of skateboarding really, there’s so much other stuff. It would be cool to link; but it's easy to do something kooky. I didn’t quite get the Bobby B clip when I first watched it when I was younger.
Was it the frivolity?
It’s funny, the idea of not landing tricks can still be legit. If you do a cliff jump into water, you always kind of land it unless you die. Ideally you want to do it right but, it’s still kind of a land because you went in the water. With skating you're supposed to land back on the board. At the end of the day you’re just playing around with a few things that gives you some enjoyment. If you land in water why not? You get a great feeling. You don't roll away, you swim away instead.
100% that completely works if you can swim.
You have to think about it if you swim with your clothes on it can be really dangerous. There can be negative buoyancy if you’ve got a big jacket on. Be careful!
The motion though, as soon as he takes off and throws his body he doesn’t move after that it’s as if he’s unconscious. Trusting that takeoff.
It’s a different kind of commitment isn’t it? Being 100% certain of yourself and understanding the risk.
You can try a trick on flat 100 times, sure it will be annoying, but if you don’t spot your landing properly diving, or hit a rock close to the surface with some of these things you don’t get a chance to mess up unlike skating.
“You don’t need a parachute to go skydiving but you need a parachute to go skydiving twice.” Somethings you just can’t do wrong.
Is it the frantic lunacy of trying stuff versus a controlled mental state?
Handrail skating is kind of like that. That’s what I like about jumping off high things, knowing that you have to do it right, but also be calm. Fear will get in the way of your technique. Fear can be one of the most dangerous things. It’s a big thing with deep sea diving too. They’ve banned it as a sport though because its too dangerous now,too many people kept dying trying to beat the world record. That’s all about being calm in a meditative state. Deep sea stuff scares me.
There’s something weird about being surrounded as opposed to the sky.
The sky is way better.
Two skiing clips? I wasn’t expecting that.
I love watching skiing. Skiing looks way better than skateboarding surely? The person does a 360 flip or even a fakie 360 flip, this is really mesmerising, so fucking good.
I find the other one really funny, the song works, it’s called buttering. This one basically just a manual.
This one is stupidity, its quiet funny. It looks like he’s got flip-flops on.
Is that the most dangerous part for you, you know that he’s not wearing appropriate footwear for a ladder?
It's spontaneous ‘I reckon I could do that.’ A complete lack of planning.
This is why I love humans.
You fully have to commit to that once you’re on the train. As soon as he steps on the ladder he has to do the whole thing, at the right time. This guy has definitely never rehearsed this moment. He could be stuck on that train in his shorts and flip flops unless he jumped. I think the risk reward with this one is way off though. Proper stupidity!
The scrub on the Motocross bike it's so early. I don’t think he touches the ground, a full tilt at speed to float. The taking off is so smooth and kind of cool I guess. I used to ride mountain bikes and build trails in the countryside I had a few phases in my life, bike jumps, rhythm sections and then really into parkour. I didn’t put any parkour clips in there, that also stopped.
One phase might stick? Is this your longest phase?
Yeah skateboarding, this is my longest phase. It doesn’t have to be as obsessive and one track minded though, these other things are all still really cool. I can revisit them and have fun.
Growing up in Newcastle you’d go to a skate spot and it was full of freerunners. The spot would be blown up with 20 people doing parkour, I thought ‘this never happens anywhere else’.
Bristol used to be the same, it was massive there. There’s tricking and A-to-B stuff. Sometimes when trickers land they just run away. That run can look a bit kooky. When gymnasts land they stop, poised, arms up. Im not sure about the run off, in skateboarding the wheels do it for you and that’s a nice feeling.
Skateboarders pride themselves on knowing their city but the same goes for black cabs and parkour.
@sender_tv? What are you doing?
I posted this one the other day? He just does this so smoothly, I don't like the idea of messing around with horses. The horse isn't having a good time. This guy gets his warning from nature. He's lucky very lucky, great video but don't piss the horse off. I like the accidental nature of the movement, he couldn’t do it better.
I like this, he lands it before he lands it?
His legs are there ready to land it. Its insane, one of the most mental videos.
I got sick of skateboarding accounts on Insatgram, I followed all this stuff, it got me interested again but in the process I ended up unfollowing some of my friends who skate! People take that stuff seriously. Sorry!
Right that’s it. Death Diving Official on Instagram, all of that amazing.
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WORDS BY FRASER DOUGHTY & SAM HUTCHINSON
PHOTOS BY SAM HUTCHINSON
VIDEOS COMPILED BY MIKE ARNOLD