All Summer One Sport: Flying Trapeze

Watch out Cirque du Soleil

There are not many times in your life when you can feel like a circus performer, so when I saw that Rocky Mountain Flying Trapeze was a Sport Calgary member, I jumped at the chance to try it out. Looking back, I am not sure why I was so excited as I am not too fond of heights and my upper body and core strength leaves a lot to be desired.

The day rolled around that my colleague Becca and I were going to head out to their facility just outside of Calgary. When we first arrived, I was taken aback by the view; it looked like a scene out of Lonesome Dove, with the rolling hills, mountains and horses. The only thing that looked out of place was the 10.3-meter-tall, 33-meter-long trapeze rig.

As this was my first time doing anything like this, my instructor Lucy took me over this pull up bar to demonstrate what I was going to do in a few minutes. I also want to point out that I have never done a pull up in my life, nor had the desire to start doing them. I was also very scared that she was going to laugh at me for not being able to do the movement I needed to do to continue. The first movement Lucy wanted me to do first was hang by my arms then pull my legs up and hang by my knees. As I said before, core strength is not my strongest asset (although I have since started doing sit ups at the gym after this humbling experience). It quickly approached my turn to give it a go, I was about 50 per cent sure that I wouldn’t be able to, but Lucy encouraged me, and I did it on my first try!

Now that was done, we went back over the main rig to start trapezing. I thankfully was the last to go out of our group allowing for me to see other people struggle and see what I should do to succeed. I got up to the platform suspended 6.7 meters in the air, then it got real. I was going to jump off this platform and hopefully not die. The lady running the platform assured me that nobody would care if I didn’t have perfect form, so I got in position. Leaning out over the platform, with Lucy holding my belt, I waited for the ground guy to call out hep (hep means action in trapeze).

I heard it and went, suddenly I could feel all my weight go to my arms; I was swinging on a trapeze! I felt like a kid on a zipline, minus the fact that it was just my arms holding me up. The view took my breath away (well either that or the fact all my weight was in my arms). I swung back and forth a few times until my instructor said fall, suddenly there I was, eyes closed dropping onto the safety net below looking like a corpse falling from the sky.

After that, Lucy wanted me to try to do a knee hang (the trick I practiced with her before), this time 6.7 meters in the air. I was hesitant that I could do this as I was barely holding myself up, yet alone having a strong enough grip to put my legs onto the trapeze bar while I was swinging. But against my better judgement, I gave it a go. To my amazement I didn’t fall right away. Next up was adding a backflip to my dismount (I want everyone to know that I have never even attempted a backflip, yet alone successfully landed one).

After a few tries kicking back and forth to get some momentum, I did it! Much to my amazement it happened very naturally, without any issues. The feeling after when I was laying down on the net was like none else, so happy and proud of myself. I did that a few more times then my time was up with Rocky Mountain Flying Trapeze. I could not have seen this afternoon turn out any different, from the beginning when I couldn’t even pull myself up, to doing a back flip at the end!

If you want to try something new, I recommend Rocky Mountain Flying Trapeze more than ever. The instructors were amazing and very helpful answering all of my questions (no matter how redundant they were). I tell everyone that I meet how much fun it was and what a great workout it was (I swear I saw 4 abs at the end). If you are looking to try something new and want to swing around like a kid, give trapeze a try. It will be the highlight of your summer!


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Walter Woodroffe-Brown