Scottish BMX Pro, Kriss Kyle, quite literally takes his sport to new heights by performing tricks suspended 2,100FT above the ground from one of the world’s largest hot air balloons
Limits do not exist for BMX rider and Red Bull athlete Kriss Kyle who has achieved something seemingly impossible. With a skatepark suspended from one of the world’s largest hot-air balloons, Kriss Kyle floats over 2,000 feet above ground, showcasing an array of tricks suspended in mid-air for his latest pioneering BMX film.
Kriss braves his fear of heights to ride against the clock, contending with the Formula One engineered bmx bowl swinging underneath him. In a masterpiece of precision, Kriss uses his unique riding style, quick thinking and years of experience to manoeuvre the compact space, with no room for error.
Onlookers stood with jaws dropped at the spectacle of the world’s first floating skatepark, as Kriss performed a range of tricks, fighting against a heavily weighted parachute, and the bowl moving and bouncing like never before.
Kriss’ bike handling skill has cemented him as one of the world’s most daring riders, taking BMX where nobody has before as part of his ambition to ride further, jump higher and take it up a level.
The Red Bull athlete, who is arguably one of the most exciting riders in the world, said: “I’ve been dreaming of this project for so long, but the height factor has always felt like a massive weight on my mind. I’ve had to push past my fears several times before on Red Bull projects, but nothing has compared to this. Having to climb over the edge of the basket to get down to the skatepark underneath was such a crazy experience. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help and encouragement of my friends, who helped me down. At over 2,000FT you’re so high up it almost doesn’t feel real anymore”
The engineering feat saw Kriss work with Red Bull Advanced Technologies (RBAT), the technological arm of the Oracle Red Bull Racing Formula One Team to design and develop the one of a kind carbon fiber BMX bowl. Made from the same composite as a Formula One car, he utilised their world leading aerodynamics, simulation and modelling expertise. This was combined with the record breaking capabilities of Cameron Balloons, to design and create one of the world’s largest operating hot-air balloons alongside a group of Kriss’ close friends who have been riding BMX and building ramps together since they were kids, bringing together an unlikely and multi faceted project team capable of allowing Kriss to fulfil his vision of riding his bike in the sky.
It wasn’t just aeronautical engineering challenges that made this project difficult to get off the ground – very specific climatic conditions are needed to get a balloon six times larger than a standard hot air balloon and capable of carrying a 1.7-ton BMX bowl in the sky.
A rare combination of high atmospheric pressure, cold and dry conditions, along with surface wind speeds of less than 3 mph was needed. It took nearly three years of planning, waiting and weather-watching for Kriss to finally realise his ambitions of riding his BMX at over 2,000ft.
Raised in the small town of Stranraer in Dumfries and Galloway on the West Coast of Scotland, Kriss took to BMX at the age of 10. His accolades as a rider have seen him produce some of the most innovative riding films such as his groundbreaking film Kaleidoscope, heli-dropping onto the helipad at the Burj Al Arab or more recently, taking to MTB in his dream trail playground.
His journey to the top wasn’t always plain sailing as he dropped out of school before completing his GCSEs, and for a period of time, found himself homeless sleeping on an old sofa at Scotland’s Unit23 skatepark. It is a dream come true for Kriss to ride where no one has before, and he hopes to inspire the next generation to take up BMX through this project.
Watch the YouTube edit here with a full behind the scenes documentary available to watch at redbull.co.uk/dontlookdown.