ESCONDIDO — Bouncing and flying through the air, 75 trampolinists took flight June 29 through July 1 at the Escondido Sports Center.
The GTGames, founded by Los Angeles-based SkyBound, is quickly drawing the masses.
Athletes take to one of the oldest home recreations, the trampoline. Drawing on previous experiences in gymnastics or diving, or being self-taught, the competitors bounce, fly and spin their way in a rising new sport.
Two years ago, SkyBound partnered with Canadian trampolinist Greg Roe of GRT Sport Events to establish themselves as the leaders in the freestyle and garden trampoline community movement. One year later, the partners launched the first-ever GTGames (Garden and Trampoline Games).
“It’s high-end backyard trampolines that free-style,” said Ricky Lai, marketing manager for SkyBound. “The trampolinists are more concerned with creativity, variable techniques and doing different things that weren’t able to be done because the sport just wasn’t there.”
Now, the GTGames will head to Denmark for the first European GTGames from Aug. 3 to Aug. 5. The U.S. and European events will feature the same parameters as competitors take part in three disciplines.
They competed in a Game of Tramp (like Horse in basketball), the two-trick spectacular and 30-second freestyle, which are the biggest and best tricks.
The athletes are selected by the GTGames committee through video submissions showcasing their abilities.
“We select through thousands of submissions,” Lai said.
Last year, the inaugural event had 50 competitors, but since growth was expected, the committee increased the qualifiers to 75.
“It was a great second year,” Lai said. “We want to continue build and grow the event. We will continue to work with the Escondido Sports Center. Overall, we are very happy with how this year took place.”
Growth, though, will come over years with sights on larger venues for trampoline events. Still, the growth has been increasing over the years thanks in part to an already established community of athletes and social media.
The athletes, Lai said, challenge and learn from each other forcing the difficulty and originality of tricks to grow. Social media, meanwhile, provides a stimulating visual platform for the tricks to be shared around the world.
“It’s almost like the perfect storm,” Lai said. “Ten years ago, you really couldn’t showcase, or nobody would be able to see, what you were doing in your own backyard. With this younger generation, you’re seeing this perfect intersection.”