Andy Buckworth's progression quest
In recent weeks, Andy Buckworth has pushed the envelope on double frontflips more than any other BMX rider. As part of the BMX crew of the New Zealand Nitro Circus tour, 21-year-old Buckworth nailed BMX's first nailed no-handed double frontflip on Feb. 12, and then, on Feb. 19, Buckworth came about as close as one could come to pulling BMX's first superman double frontflip, his hand slipping off upon landing. Because of YouTube, word spread pretty quick about Buckworth's feats, and the BMX media lit up with shoddy camera phone videos of Andy Buckworth spiraling forward over the Nitro Circus Giganta-Ramp.
If the BMX world didn't already know Andy Buckworth from his X Games 16 Big Air Bronze Medal, they sure did now.
Following the two leaps forward in frontflip progression, Buckworth returned home to Australia, and is now readying himself for the Australian leg of the Nitro Circus tour. But just prior to his departure, Andy sat down to discuss his background in riding, the ability to visualize new tricks, and the drive to make it happen. This is Andy Buckworth.
ESPN.com: Andy, you grew up on the Central Coast of New South Wales. What's the BMX scene like there?
Buckworth: When I first started riding, there was no one. So we made a scene, and for a while there, it was really good. It's kinda getting to the stage now where the crew is making decisions on what path they're taking and getting jobs. But I believe the scene will bounce back.
Was going to the US where you made your breakthrough?
Yeah it kinda was. My parents sent me to Woodward Camp when I was 17, just as a camper, and from that, Woodward offered me a scholarship, which gave me the opportunity to come back the following year to live there free of charge and ride with all the pros.
What motivates you to try different tricks than other BMX riders?
I just get an idea in my head and like to see that idea through, to see if it's possible.
Is it just case of being creative, then visualizing what you believe you can do and going for it?
That's pretty much exactly it. I'll visualize something and think that it's possible. I'll work on it for a while until it virtually is and then you have to go for it.
That double superman frontflip on the recent Nitro Circus tour in New Zealand was gnarly. How hard was it to figure out?
It was really hard. Superman frontflips are relatively new, and double frontflips are even newer. Putting those two together, it was always going to be a bit hit and miss. I never practiced it into a foam pit or anything; I just had the idea in my head and visualized it and figured out exactly what I needed to do. Then, during the last show with the big crowd, I decided to give it a go and went for it.
What's it like sitting at the top of that big ramp ready to drop in?
The first time you do it, it's definitely pretty scary. But like anything, you get used to it after a few runs.
What's your thoughts on the Nitro Circus tour?
It's seriously the best time ever. It's so much fun!
Is there a lot of respect on tour between the BMX and Moto guys?
Yeah there's so much respect. The BMX guys really respect the moto guys for what they do, and it goes the other way as well. They respect us too.
Are you making a living out of riding BMX, and are you happy with where you're at?
I'm super happy doing what I'm doing. I wouldn't want it any other way. Just being able to make a living off of riding my bike, something I love doing, is amazing. Even if I wasn't making money out of it, I'd still be riding my bike, but to be able to get up every morning knowing that you can just go ride your bike and pay the bills at the same time is the best feeling ever!
Was there a lot of years you were just living off the seat of your pants as they say, like making no money at all?
My first year in the US, I wasn't making any money at all. I only had a flow sponsor that was helping me out with getting new product and stuff. I was lucky I had a real supportive family that helped me out. When I came back to Australia, I worked really hard and saved every cent I could to help me get back to the states every year. Then once I started competing in the states, it became a little easier -- even though I wasn't doing super well.
Would that be your biggest advice to young BMX riders wanting a career like yours?
Give 100 per cent. If you want it bad enough, you can make it happen.
What would you put down as your top three highlights so far?
I'd definitely have to put down my first X Games medal in Big Air last year right up there. I went into that contest thinking I was just there to ride and would probably end up last, and then when someone told me I got third, I didn't believe it until I looked at the screen and there it was. My second would have to be getting a podium at the Portland Dew Tour stop last year. I'm a park rider at heart, and to be able to get a podium in the discipline you really, really love doing is a great feeling. My third would have to be being a part of the Nitro Circus. It's one of the best things you could ever want!
What have you got coming up in 2011?
I have the Nitro Circus tour in Australia next week, then our show in Las Vegas and then Dew Tour. I'm hoping to finish higher in that series -- a top five would be good. I'd also like to get another podium spot at X Games, and just have another successful year and not get hurt!
To end off do you want to thank anyone for helping you get to where you are?
Yeah, I'd like to thank Jet Pilot clothing who have helped me out so much, plus Monster Energy, Mirraco Bikes, Oakley sunglasses, Malcolm McCassey from Ethika, and most of all Johnny McLean from OGIO bags who was there from the start and still supports me now. He has helped me out so much over the years. Thanks guys!