Flips, tricks and extreme feats of athleticism were on show at the Black Pearl skate park this week as pro scooter rider Jai Walker landed in Cayman with a bang.
The 19-year-old stunt rider showed off some impressive skills, propelling himself more than 10 feet in the air to perform a “superman” dive, pulling off somersaults, back flips and 540-degree spins.
More than 30 youngsters at the week-long summer camp were there to watch and learn and attempt some tricks of their own. Walker, originally from Australia, said he was impressed with the enthusiasm of the kids and with the facilities at the park. “This park is amazing, probably one of the best parks I have seen in the world. The kids are amazing. They are fun, they learn quick and it is really good,” he said.
For most extreme athletes, the road to success is paved with broken bones, and Walker says he is not sure how he has avoided that fate.
“I have no clue,” he said. “I fall so many times, it’s not funny; my elbows are scratched and swollen. I just have the best of luck.”
He started riding as a 12-year-old on a kick-scooter.
“I just started throwing down, trying to go bigger and bigger. I picked up a professional sponsor and I went from there.
“When I first started, I had no idea about the professional game and what scootering could bring you. Once I got a little bit older and was watching pros do it and getting into it, I set my goal to get up there.” Walker, who finished 18th in the World Championships in Barcelona, travels the world taking part in competitions, exhibitions and sponsor events. He said his favorite tricks are front flips, back flips and 540 flairs – a 360-degree rotation and another 180-degree rotation in a back flip.
“There is no sport like scootering,” he said. “It is completely different to anything else. I can ride BMX and skateboard, but scootering is a whole other level.” This is his first summer camp.
“I’m really happy to be here, especially traveling all the way to Cayman Islands. It is a really nice place, such a good environment. I enjoy hanging out with the kids,” he said.
For kids who want to excel in the sport, he says, they should be determined and push through the bumps and bruises along the way.
“Never back down, keep going, keep pushing yourself,” he said. “If you get hurt, that’s part of the sport – pick yourself up and get back in the game.”