There is very little room for error during an XRX performance. How do you take the risks that you do, especially performing over trusting volunteers, with absolute confidence?
In a live show there is absolutely no room for error whatsoever. Thousands upon thousands of hours of practising the same thing allows you to get to a level of excellence and commitment. When your confidence is high enough you feel like you can do just about anything, but there is also danger in being over-confident. It is critical for me not to get too caught up in the moment, but also for the person involved in the event to absolutely trust me.
The pressure of a huge crowd in Pretoria watching you perform must be very intense, especially since you win their approval by landing each stunt. How do you cope?
Well that’s really what we get paid by sponsors to do – ride under pressure. Years of training and massive amounts of effort to get to a certain level helps you deal with the pressure well. To get the approval of the crowd is everything and I go out there to be myself and do what is natural, but I also put a lot of energy into thinking of new ways to win their approval. I always say that the more they have fun, the more I have fun.
How do you feel before attempting each stunt?
It is very seldom that I get nervous. I honestly just love what I am doing, and have done thousands of these shows all over the world – one in front of 60 000 people in New York when I was 18 years old. The only time I really get nervous is when there is somebody in the crowd that I really respect and hope to win the approval of. I also get nervous before certain races, especially if I have a lot on the line or am going for a championship.
What are the elements of an XRX performance that you find appealing?
I get fired up when I see peoples’ faces who honestly can’t believe what can actually be done. I enjoy seeing the crowd’s reaction when we jump something high, or come really close to our volunteers. I have been gifted with the talent to entertain people, and I love being able to do that.
What does it feel like after a successful performance at an event as massive as the Red Bull X-Fighters?
There is absolutely no better feeling than finishing up a show without injury, having entertained a huge crowd that really enjoyed it. You feel like an absolute rock star with a sense of satisfaction and relief. This is the coolest job in the world for me, and the better you get at it the more fun you can have entertaining people.