Matt Hoffman: freestyle BMX taken to the limits

We have all ridden a bicycle. We have all had a bicycle and we have all fell from a bicycle. Everybody has had contact with bicycles. Well, the guy we are going to talk about today, a retired freestyle BMX rider, has taken the concept of having a bike to a whole new level and is living the life any retired BMXer would like to have. Of course, he is now retired at age 44 but he is still giving to the sport of freestyle BMX as he had given when he was a professional rider.

The person we are talking about is Matt Hoffman, Also known as the “Condor”. He is an American BMX rider considered the best vert ramp rider in the sport history.

Matt Hoffman was born in January 9th, 1972 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. From an early age he was already keen on extreme sports. At this age he tried to “fly” with an umbrella imitating the movie The Flying Nun. Then, when he showed an interest in BMX bikes his father had no doubt in supporting him as much as he could. He built ramps in the back yard and made bicycle slopes for him to ride.  His mother just couldn’t stand the site of seeing his son trying those huge airs and stunts but then realized that he was better than most of the kids and started supporting him as well. His mother also knew that there was no way of convincing him to stop riding his bicycle. She then became his biggest fan and she started to take cameras to all the events and competitions to keep record of her son´s achievements. Hoffman was a different rider who became pro at the age of sixteen and surpassed many riders that were the sensations at the time.

While he was a professional rider he loved creating tricks. That was one of his best moments in the sport. He used to say that “I just love creating new tricks,”.  He set record after record because he used to  create new tricks every week, in a time that the sport was young and a lot of discoveries were being made by the top pros. Hoffman used to also say that  “It’s all about using your imagination, being part of a constant building process. I believe in challenging myself, in seeing whether I can master a certain move.” As any other athlete , he believes in hard work and he thinks that part of his success and legacy was due to his passion for new tricks and for the sport itself. No wonder he has so many records and prizes.

Just to make a short list of his achievements while he was a professional, we can mention that his curriculum vitae of achievements is wide:  he rode his bike in a B.A.S.E. jump move from a 3,500-foot Norwegian cliff. Another one is that he rode and jumped 26.5 feet above a 24-foot-tall vert quarter pipe, which is more than 50 feet above the ground. Some other achievements include inventing more than 100 revolutionary tricks. He landed, with style, the first 900 in 1989; he invented the Flip faki which is a backflip but landing backwards;  and he invented and landed the first Flair that is backflip with a 180 degree turn. He also was the only person that completed a no-handed 900 in a competition.

Hoffman was an entrepreneur since the age of 20. By 1991, Hoffman had already achieved the impossible by surpassing the amateur rank, conquering the pro division and taking the sport to new levels never seen before. Then, in the same year, he launched Hoffman Promotions and Hoffman Bikes. With these two companies, which are very successful, he has remained a key player in the creation and success of the sport.  He created and produces the Bicycle Stunt (BS) Series where a place is given to riders so they can compete and showcase their style. This event got so big among bike fans and BMX riders that ESPN joined in and they televise the event every year. After this event, Hoffman went to create Hoffman Promotions which in turn gave birth to the Hoffman Sports Association (H.S.A.), which is the part of the organization that is in charge of organizing all the BMX Freestyle events worldwide, including the ESPN’s X Games and all the international X Games bicycle events.

Matt Hoffman Action Sports Park_jason hanold_entrepreneur_freestyle BMX rider

Image courtesy of Atom Ray at Flickr.com

Apart from retiring and still being part of the sport, Hoffman has produced, directed and hosted a lot of TV series for ESPN. Some of the programs are “Kids in the Way,” “HBtv” and “Mat’s World.”  And has had many video games such as Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX, Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX 2 and Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX2 Tour TV show.

Be sure to also check article on a very amazing retired skateboarder.

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