Edited by Ann Dermody
24 | BoatU.S. Magazine FEBRUARY | MARCH 2016
Two years ago, Robbie Maddison was towing his wakeboard-cham- pion wife, Amy Sanders, when a thought struck him. How cool would it be to surf on a motorcycle? It’s not a thought most of us would ever have, but then Robbie Maddison probably has had a lot of thoughts most of us haven’t. The 34-year-old from New
South Wales, Australia, has been surfing since he was 8 years old. He won gold at the
2004 X Games for completing 13 backflips on a dirt bike, was Daniel Craig’s stunt
double in the movie “Skyfall,” and has jumped across Greece’s Corinth Canal. Live
on ESPN in 2007, on the 40th anniversary of Evel Knievel jumping the fountains at
Caesar’s Palace, he broke the world motorcycle jumping record. Maddo, as he’s known,
knows a thing or two about stunt riding and water.
But first he needed the right bike. Enter a KTM 250 SX dirt bike converted into
a powered surfboard. Custom skis resembling skateboards were mounted on the front
and rear wheels, and the rear tire was modified with paddles. He added a lever-inflat-able airbag to keep the bike afloat after several nasty spills, then sealed up everything to
make sure that no petroleum products could ever seep into the ocean.
Late last summer, with the floatercycle ready, he and his crew headed for Teahupo’o,
Tahiti. After a week’s prep, wearing full
motocross gear – because, well, why not?
– Maddo waited for the right wave, hit the
gas, and screamed off a launch ramp. And?
Well, he sank. Over and over. Each time
the bike’s engine took four hours to resuscitate. But the next day, he hit the wave at
just the right angle and speed and became
the first person to surf on a motorcycle.
Still, he kept eating it. One gnarly
20-footer washed him off the bike, which
in turn smacked his back. Hard. “The
thing that sticks with me most after
that whole experience was how physically
demanding it was,” he told a reporter.
This from James Bond’s stunt double?
Kids, really really don’t try this one at
home. Instead, catch the video “Pipe
Dream” on You Tube. — PHIL SCOTT
you see every day:
rides his bike
across the water.
The Name’s Maddison.
James Bond’s stunt double is even more adventurous in his downtime