Australia’s answer to Evel Knievel has become the first person to surf a wave on a motorbike in his latest viral video – dubbed Pipe Dream. Robbie Maddison has already made global headlines with his bike-based stunts – including jumping the length of a football field, leaping across the Corinth Canal in Greece and off the Olympic ski jump in Salt Lake City. For his latest trick, Maddison spent two years building a motorbike capable of riding on open water and mastering how to take on the big waves in Tahiti.
“People said ‘it’s a pipe dream’, ‘it’s never going to happen’ and that’s how a lot of people looked at this thing and that’s the vibe I’ve got from a lot of people,” Maddison said. Maddison, who doubled for Daniel Craig in the Bond film Skyfall, fitted a pair of skis to his bike and used ‘paddle’ tyres designed for riding on sand dunes to achieve his goal.
In order to get on and off the water without drowning Maddison relied on two specially prepared boats – one with a launch ramp and another with a landing area. The bike was also fitted with a custom airbag that Maddison could deploy to stop the bike from sinking if he hit trouble. In the video, Maddison, in full motocross gear including helmet, joins big wave surfers on the famous Teahupo’o reef swell that can produce 20 foot waves.
Despite a number of close calls, one of which included being swallowed by a wave on what turned out to be his final attempt, Maddison survived the shoot without any serious injuries.
“When I went down, the bike hit me in the back and knocked the wind out of me,” Maddison told Motocross Transworld.
“Then I was sucked under and tumbled around beneath the waves. Wave after wave pounded me, and each time, just as I was about to take in a big breath of saltwater, I’d pop up for just a second to grab a breath of air.” This isn’t the end for Maddison, with the father of two already planning his next challenge.