Robbie Maddison is known the world over for thinking outside of the freestyle motocross box and coming up with unique projects that most riders wouldn’t even think of attempting. From X Games medals to multiple Red Bull: New Year. No Limits. feats to jumping over the Corinth Canal in Greece, Maddo loves a challenge, and he’s proven time and again that he can definitely rise to the occasion.
Maddo’s latest project is a collaboration with DC Shoes called AIR.CRAFT, released today on DC’s YouTube channel (watch it below). True to Robbie’s goal to constantly take his riding in new directions, AIR.CRAFT showcases his unique skills and his ability to adapt them to new venues, in this case an airplane graveyard in Arizona.
RedBullUSA.com checked in with Robbie to talk about the challenges related to producing a project like AIR.CRAFT, his career-long battle with injury, and what he plans to do next.
RedBullUSA.com: What was your inspiration for this project?
Robbie Maddison: I’ve just been trying to follow my heart and do what I really want to do. I have all these ideas -- I’m a bit of a dreamer. Obviously, all the stuff I’ve done with Red Bull is an inspiration behind it; they were all a challenge for me and I loved doing them.
DC said they wanted to do something with me; I wanted to do a creative line through a city, and we started exploring what the chances were to pull that off. We looked in L.A., we looked in Mexico, we went to Dubai... I started thinking it wasn’t going to happen because we had been down so many different avenues and hit setbacks.
Then lo and behold, we scoped out this airplane field. I wasn’t too sure how creative I’d be able to get out there, but I just took it in stride and kept an open mind. We were able to put together some great ideas once we were out there. We finally came to what it is now, and I’m very proud of it.
RedBullUSA.com: Were there specific things you’ve wanted to do that you adapted to this project, or are you just generally looking for new ideas and opportunities?
Robbie Maddison: I had things that I’ve wanted to put into a lot of different scenarios. I still have a ton of ideas that are both similar and different to what’s in this film. When I got to the airfield at first, I was thinking that I couldn’t do this or that, but as we got to know the area, it really came alive. We turned that graveyard into a dirt biker’s dreamland.
RedBullUSA.com: What was the biggest challenge you faced with this project?
Robbie Maddison: The hardest thing to overcome was my shoulder injury. I’ve dislocated my right shoulder 10 or 15 times over the last six years. The last dislocation happened a week before the shoot. I went out there and within the first five minutes I did a Kiss of Death and my shoulder dislocated while I was upside down, in the air, flying over an airplane. My shoulder was out of joint for two hours and I had to go to the hospital to get it put back in.
Throughout filming, my shoulder dislocated another five times. It was definitely a hurdle, but it was also a message to me to learn the lesson I’ve been trying to learn my whole career: just slow down, take your time.
RedBullUSA.com: Have you had surgery since you finished filming?
Robbie Maddison: Right after filming. It was inevitable, something had to be done. It was dislocating in my sleep, at breakfast, laying on the couch, it was going all the time. I did so much research and found that the injury I had was so rare that there was no real procedure on the books to fix it, even the top shoulder surgeons in America had rarely seen it. The only guy I found who was confident with it was a doctor in Sydney, Australia. I called the guy up and he said he’d done it before and he could do it arthroscopically. It’s now eight weeks after surgery and I’m back doing push-ups and arm curls, rehabbing it without pain.
RedBullUSA.com: You had a rough time with some big injuries in 2012, and you have a family now to think about. Has that influenced you to pull back the reigns a bit?
Robbie Maddison: The family side of it is the thing that really puts me in check. I’ve got a little boy who… Well, I believe the sun shines out of his butt (laughs). As every father knows, once you have offspring it’s really a crazy transformation. But it’s made me come to the realization that I can’t stop living who Robbie Maddison is just because I’ve had a baby. I have to be the best father I can be and be the best Robbie Maddison I can be. Having a family just makes me work harder and train harder.
I just need to make sure I’m fully prepared; I’ve had opportunities come up where I know I’m not going to be ready at that time, and the past Robbie would have been like, “Yeah, I’ll still do it, no worries,” and a lot of the times I’ve gotten injured have come out of situations like that.
The last thing I want to do is shorten the time I have to spend with my family, and I understand that I risk it every day, but at the same time, my heart’s telling me it’s all good right now. I’ve worked my whole life to have these opportunities. If you can’t follow your heart in life then you’re kind of missing the whole point of it.
RedBullUSA.com: Do you still want to compete in freestyle motocross or are you planning to focus on doing more projects like AIR.CRAFT?
Robbie Maddison: The whole pressure to one-up other guys and compete with other people has really kind of diminished in me. It’s not that I don’t ever want to compete in FMX again; it’s just that now I want to do the things that I want to see out of myself, and that takes me away from the competition aspect. I’m cool with that, and I feel that my sponsors are cool with that, because we’re doing things and people are saying, “Man, where did that come from?”
RedBullUSA.com: What’s next for you?
Robbie Maddison: There’s planning in place for a number of projects. It’s funny, because at the premiere some of my best friends were coming up to me and saying, “How did you keep this a secret? How did we not know about this?” There are things I’m trying to do, and if I let the cat out of the bag too early it softens the impact. It can change at any time too, so I don’t want to set any expectations. There are definitely things coming though, and I give you my word that I’m trying to make them gnarlier and gnarlier as I go.
- Meet the icon behind the 'Skyfall' rooftop motorcycle chase
- Maddo and Levi LaVallee's dual jumps at Red Bull: New Year. No Limits.
- Get ready for the 2013 Red Bull X-Fighters FMX World Tour