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Spin Left: Schmidty’s Barspin Blues Turned to World’s First Greatness

July 7, 2017

Editor’s note: We’re super excited to bring you a guest column from Nitro veteran and BMX superstar Brandon Schmidt, who landed the World’s First double backflip barspin during Nitro World Games practice in Salt Lake City in June. The trick is rad, but the story of how he got there makes it even cooler, so we’re going to show you the video and then let Schmidty tell you why this was a career moment for him.

My name is Brandon Schmidt, and this is the story of the struggle and success to land my hardest BMX trick. When I first got a BMX bike as a kid around 12 years old, I had a really hard time learning any tricks. I would ride little dirt jumps that my friends and I would build, but for years I don’t think I ever did one trick. I would hop on my bike from time to time, but I was dedicated to becoming a pro skateboarder. After a few years of no effort on my bike, I decided to start riding again. This was around 16 or 17. At that point I started to learn a few tricks: no-footer, tuck no-hander, backflip. There was one trick that for some reason I could never get even close: a barspin. I would spend hours and hours trying to learn how to do them. I tried out of banks, resi, even hop, but nothing I tried ever worked. I would lose my cool on a daily basis because of that trick.

Fast-forward a few years. I was 19. I had started to really ride my bike a lot at this time of my life, really learning some tricks, and I started to progress at a pretty rapid rate. I decided that it was time to give up the dream of one day being a pro skateboarder, so I converted and officially changed my title to BMX rider. Still, at this point I had never even gotten close to a barspin, with thousands of attempts under my belt and no progress to show. I was losing hope that a barspin would ever be in my trick list.

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A few years later, I was riding for Nitro. The game was starting to change for me. Dream tricks that I thought would never be done started becoming close and closer to a reality, but after tens of thousands of attempts I had still never done a barspin. Officially all hope was gone, and I wrote the trick off completely. One day at Woodward, I was riding with BMX legend Jeremiah Smith, and we played a game of B.I.K.E. He did a barspin, and I told him that I couldn’t even get close, but I gave it a try anyway. As usual, I looked like a fool and didn’t get anywhere near the trick. Jeremiah came over and said, “You’re throwing your bars the wrong way. You ride with your left foot forward, so you need to throw the bars with your left hand.” I had always thrown my bars with my right hand. So I started arguing with him, saying that that’s not my natural direction to throw them, and blah blah. He told me to give it a try, so I did. I’m not even kidding you, I threw the bars, they did the barspin, I caught the bars, but put one foot down. I started freaking out, excited with how close I was. So I went for it again. On my second attempt ever at throwing a barspin with my left hand, I landed it! Everything clicked all at once, and it finally made sense. Six years and thousands upon thousands of attempts and I was doing it backwards the whole time!

Cut to last month at Nitro World Games practice. I had the idea on my mind to do the World’s First double backflip barspin. I was feeling really confident, but still had my dark past of barspins weighing on me before I dropped in. I cleared my mind of the nonsense, told myself I was going to land it, and dropped. I yanked off the lip and straightened my legs to grip onto the seat. At the same time, I threw the bars, caught the spin, tucked up for the second rotation, and stomped the World’s First double backflip barspin. I still can’t believe the journey I’ve been on from this one trick, but if it’s taught me anything it’s that no matter how hard or impossible something may seem, keep at it, because one day you may even shock yourself with what you truly are capable of.