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Rotorua's MTB airbag a New Zealand first

Got slopestyle on your mind since Crankworx rolled into town? Well, now you can have a crack at your first backflip without a care in the world thanks to Velocity Valley's Freestyle Airbag.

Rotorua just keeps getting cooler it seems. This latest addition sees riders throwing down double back flips and grabbing serious air with the launch of Freestyle Airbag – the newest experience at Velocity Valley.


A rider throws down a trick on Agroventures new Freestyle Airbag. Photo: Chester Boyes

Managing director Simon Short said he was excited to launch New Zealand’s first dedicated bike airbag that allowed riders to train for freestyle tricks as they descended a hill and hit one of three ramps (beginner, intermediate or advanced) to get air.
“We’ve got some really talented Kiwi riders around the country and Freestyle Airbag provides them the perfect tool for skills progression. It gives riders mental backup for attempting new tricks, with the perfect landing feedback, before they take the new skills to soil."

Watch: Connor Mahuika use the airbag to progress the double backflip.

Better still, you don't have to be a Crankworx star to drop in.
“It’s great for a whole range of ages and skill levels from beginners (8yrs+) having a go at their first small jumps, right through to freeriders and international Crankworx slopestyle stars.”
Local freestyle rider Connor Mahuika, widely known for his semi-final Crankworx placing in the Rotorua Pump Track Challenge presented by Rockshox, showed just what could be done at the launch.
“I had always wanted to try a double back flip, but I’d never had the chance till the Freestyle Airbag launched. After I got it dialled on the airbag, I tried it on a dirt jump and nailed it which was awesome!"
“I want to try and get into the Crankworx Mons Royale Dual Speed and Style for 2017, so now that I’ve landed this double back flip, hopefully it will help.”
Mahuika said a lot of his friends hadn't done back flips before, but they’d been giving it a go on the new Freestyle Airbag.
Groups of younger kids, from eight years through to teens, had also been trying everything from beginner jumps, through to tricks and loving the experience, said Short.
Rotorua Lakes Council Deputy Mayor Dave Donaldson said there was a saying in slopestyle that it was all about progression.
“We would ideally love to have some Kiwis at slopestyle level, and thanks to Velocity Valley’s vision we might one day get there with this excellent training tool.”

Freestyle Airbag Fast Facts

Freestyle Airbag size: 15m x 10m diameter bag with a height of 2.5m

Bike and hire gear: Riders can hire a jump bike, or bring their own bike and safety gear, which is inspected by Velocity Valley prior to use for suitability. All participants must wear a helmet (a full-face helmet is recommended), have their elbows and knees covered with clothing or elbow and knee pads. Safety gear (full face helmet, neck brace, knee pads, body armour) can be hired by customers who have not brought their own.

Age restrictions: Children aged 8-14 years must have guardian/parental consent before participating. 15yr+ are responsible for signing their own consent forms.

Skill level restrictions: Any person who can confidently ride a bike can participate in this activity. All riders must complete the beginners ramp before attempting the next level ramps.

Bringing your own bike: Recommended dirt jump bike, BMX or mountain bike. All bikes will be inspected by Agroventures staff before use.

Hire of bike and safety clothing on site:  Dirt jump bike hire  includes (if required) full face helmet, neck brace, knee pads, body armour

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