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Stafford teen will compete in extreme pogoing competition in California
Date published: 7/26/2012
You might need to look up to find Russell Kaus.
On steps and ledges, off buildings and onto bridges, the 18-year-old is bouncing all over the Fredericksburg area on his pogo stick.
"It feels good to be high in the air," said Kaus.
Now he's on his way to Pogopalooza, the annual world championship for extreme pogoing, in Costa Mesa, Calif.
On Friday and Saturday, the Stafford County teen will fly high with dozens of other pogo masters in an X Games style competition.
He's also "primed to make his name" at the competition, according to Pogopalooza's brochure.
That recognition comes after he won Xpogo's spring video contest, for which Kaus pogoed all over downtown Fredericksburg with hip-hop music in the background.
While he had a kid-sized pogo stick when he was young, Russell credits his father with getting him into the extreme sport.
Ken Kaus had found a video online back in 2008, and Russell was hooked.
Kaus' parents gave him a 15-pound Vurtego pogo stick for Christmas that year, when he was a freshman at Stafford High School.
Online forums offered tips on getting started, and Kaus and friend Eric Stapleton also watched plenty of YouTube videos of extreme pogoers displaying their tricks.
"It's scary at first," Kaus said. "But when I did my first flip, I was addicted."
Before flipping and jumping on pavement, he tests out new tricks in the grassy area of his house, near Leeland Station in southern Stafford.
The former skateboarder realized many of the same skills roll over to pogoing.
Next on his list of extreme sports to learn is snowboarding.
The bar spin is his favorite pogo trick: He builds up energy by bouncing up and down, and then pushes down really hard to get high enough to flip around in a circle.
But if you ask, Kaus will say that extreme pogoing isn't all that hard.
"The only thing that difficult is not getting hurt," Kaus said. Unfortunately, he has done that, too, and still occasionally has back spasms.
Possibly one of the most dangerous stunts he's attempted was jumping from the sidewalk onto the wall of the Chatham Bridge over the Rappahannock River, and then back down to the sidewalk.
9 feet, 6 inches
Most consecutive jumps
Most jumps in 1 minute
Most consecutive backflips
Most consecutive frontflips
Most no-footed jumps
Most synchronized flips
Most consecutive jumps, with breaks
20 hours, 20 minutes
9 feet, 6 inches
World's tallest usable pogo stick