Spreading the word about the sport of tricking, which combines gymnastics, break dancing, and martial arts | SierraSun.com

Spreading the word about the sport of tricking, which combines gymnastics, break dancing, and martial arts

Bailey Payne flips over a group of children during an air awareness class at Woodward Tahoe.
Courtesy of Mike Dawson |

Woodward Tahoe has been a home to extreme sports progression around Lake Tahoe since its opening in 2012.

Earlier in the week, the camp brought in someone who’s looking to carve out a place for the ever-growing sport of tricking.

Bailey Payne may have built a name on the competitive cheerleading scene, hosting tumbling clinics throughout the country with his brother, but over the years the 21-year-old has taken his skill set to tricking — a sport that combines gymnastics, break dancing, and martial arts.

Athletes competing in tricking link aerial maneuvers to perform spins, flips, and kicks in a sport that’s part gymnastic floor routine part sport karate competition.

“I just look at it as something where a bunch of people share a passion for one sport that’s not really that big, but is an insane sport that no one has any idea about,” Payne said.

On Friday, July 21, Payne was at a tricking event in Redwood City, where he said he broke his own world record for consecutive corkscrew flips in a row. Landing on one foot each time, Payne hammered out a dizzying 21 flips.

He then traveled to Woodward Tahoe two days later to teach air awareness classes at the facility on Monday, July 24, and Tuesday, July 25.

“I can teach anyone from gymnasts to trickers to snowboarders,” Payne said. “Anything that involves your body rotating, that’s what I’m breaking down into a science for people.

“I’ve been doing this for 12 years. From that perspective I’m able to break it down. I know exactly where they’re coming from. I came from backyard trampolines — I can relate.”

Payne grew up tumbling from a young age at his home in South Carolina. After receiving a trampoline for Christmas one year, he and his brother began imitating online videos they found of people doing trampoline tricks. Payne would later join a competitive cheer team, which allowed him access to spring boards and better trampolines.

Eventually his time on the cheer team led him to the sport of tricking — something he’s now done for the past seven years.

“I started going to these open gyms and there was one time where these guys, who were a little bit older, and the first guy tried something off one leg, and I’d never seen that before since tumbling is all two feet,” said Payne. “I started doing gainers off one leg and was like, ‘this stuff is crazy, yo what is this called?’ And he said, ‘it’s tricking.’”

From there Payne, quickly began improving his abilities, rising to the forefront of the fast progressing sport.

“In reality, right now stuff that was impossible to do back then is now the lowest of the low standard to do,” said Payne. “The new generation is crazy good.”

Payne, a Red Bull athlete, said currently there are just a few competitions trickers are able to attend each year, and that mostly the athletes rely on a handful of gatherings held at sites around the country, where they are able to learn from each other and attempt to progress the sport.

But in a sport where athletes rely heavily on online videos of themselves for exposure, Payne said he is one of the few who will attempt his most difficult techniques at any given competition or event.

“I’d say about 99 percent of trickers, you’ll see their videos online, and when they come to an event they don’t do anything nearly as hard or as difficult as what they show in their videos,” he said. “I create stuff in videos and do it in every single event no matter what.”

Performing tricks like spinning flips or double backflips hasn’t come without a cost. Payne said he’s suffered over a dozen fractures and sprains in both ankles over the past two years of training and competing. And said he’s usually sore for a few days after a competition.

“It’s a lot on your body,” he said. “Unlike other sports, I’m utilizing every single muscle in my body because I’m doing flips, kicks and spins … you’re using more intricate stuff so it takes a lot out of you.”

Moving forward Payne said his goal is to continue to compete, while growing the sport by teaching the next generation of trickers.

“It’s not as big as other sports, but it can be put on those levels,” he said.

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