Back in 2015, pro freestyle motocross rider Robbie Maddison fulfilled a dream that was three years in the making when he surfed on a motorcycle. The dude rode a motorcycle on actual water. Like a crazy person.
For “Pipe Dream,” the now 38-year-old Australian stunt rider went to Tahiti and rode his KTM 250 SX motorcycle, outfitted with a special ski, on the waves of the Pacific Ocean at Teahupo’o and Papara.
To give you an idea of how tough the insane stunt was, Maddison told Wired, “I just thought that this thing was gonna work easily. And the very first day, it didn’t work at all.” He added, “We sank the motorcycle over a hundred times.”
So, yeah, it was as hard as you’d probably imagine.
As you can see, the “Pipe Dream” footage ended up being incredible. But, what we don’t see is Maddison getting taken under by a wave that almost ended up killing him.
“I turned out from the wave and it crashed down behind me, chasing me down,” Maddison told Rolling Stone. “I was picked up and thrown, and my bike landed on my back, knocking all the air out of me.”
“It was the most violent ride I’ve ever been on, tumbling beneath the surface in full gear. Over the next four or five minutes, I only had two split-second moments when my head broke the surface and I could take in a fast breath, only to be yanked back down and tumbled with my bike. Everything was going white. I became completely limp and was prepared to take in a full breath of water, when I finally popped up. I could see the helicopter and Jet Skis, and had a quick moment to wave my arm so that they could locate me.”
According to Maddison, though, the entire experience was worth it.”
“It was so incredible to see the culmination of my dream that didn’t come with a glorious medal or cheering crowds,” Maddison said, “but the reward of being the very first person to ever ride a motorcycle on these waters and do something entirely different.”
This post was originally published on August 3, 2015.