Nine years ago, an idea spread like wildfire across the internet, a trampoline bridge over Paris’s River Seine. Although the concept soon went viral, it remained unrealized until 2021. That’s when the guys at Dunking Devils (DD) Squad decided to run with it, and then some, in Slovenia. Not only did they officially build the first trampoline bridge, but they clinched the record for the world’s biggest trampoline, too.
Their construction didn’t stop there, though. They added three professional trampolines to the mix, setting the stage for an entertainment spectacle like none other. Here’s what you need to know about these record holders and the incredible freestyle trampoline competition that showcased their one-of-a-kind efforts.
Bouncing Around Ljubljana
People flock to Slovenia for many reasons, from the delicious wines of the Vipana Valley to the relaxing thermal baths of Dolenjske Toplice and the ethereal caverns of Postojna. In 2021, tourists added the trampoline bridges of Ljubljana to these postcard-worthy activities. So, how did this Slovenian metropolis clinch a construction project intended initially for Paris? Like France’s famed “City of Light,” Ljubljana is renowned for its many bridges — 25 to be exact — spanning the width of the Ljubljanica River.
These bridges provide access to various parts of the city for bikers, pedestrians, and drivers. Some of these structures also prove picturesque, like the Triple Bridge of Jože Plečnik, considered the highlight of a visit to Ljubljana. Despite all the bridge action, only two bridges have ever permitted individuals to bounce as high as 35 feet in the air. These temporary enormous bridges sat next to one another, inviting regular folks and free-flying performers alike to reach new heights on August 20 and 21, 2021, during the Bridge Bounce Ljubljana.
The Bridge Bounce Ljubljana in 2021
To bring the Bridge Bounce Ljubljana event together, the DD Squad joined forces with the event agency Extrem. Their goal? Creating an event that would not only amaze and thrill vast crowds but allow them plenty of opportunities to hop along. Akrobat, a Slovenian trampoline maker, brought the technical aspects of the project to life, and the tourism boards of Ljubljana and Slovenia threw in their full support along with many smaller partners.
Constructing two trampolines proved essential to achieving the joint goals of entertaining the masses and enticing them to participate. The first trampoline measured 75 feet long and invited spectators to get in on the jumping. For two days, more than 5,000 people took advantage of the bouncing structure, logging more than 80,000 jumps. As for the second bridge, this larger professional structure contained Olympic-grade trampolines, including a freestyle trampoline and something called “the Supernova,” a behemoth unmatched on the world stage at 42 x 42 feet. It took five days to erect both structures. What’s more, it involved 1,600 square feet of trampoline bed, ten metric tons of aluminum, and 15 cubic yards of safety padding.
The World’s Best Freestyle Trampoline Artists
Remember that iconic line from Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come?” Turns out that old-school wisdom isn’t just for dead, shoeless baseball players. Building the most impressive trampoline setups in the world attracted the world’s best freestyle athletes. People came from Sweden, the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, and many other nations. Think of it as the trampoline equivalent of the “Small World” ride at Disneyland. Besides the draw of record-breaking trampolines, these competitors wanted to show off their skills and win big.
Craziness ensued as the competitors hit the bridge, ready to thrill and astound the thousands of spectators in attendance. Intricate moves included everything from triple and quadruple flips to massive jumps that launched participants upwards of 35 feet into the atmosphere. Who came out top dog? Jože Plečnik of DD Squad dominated the Supernova Best Trick competition. And Sebastian Wennmalm of Sweden rocked the freestyle trampoline competition as well as the highest jump despite being just 15 years old.
The Future Looks High for DD Squad
The Dunking Devils have made their reputation on innovation coupled with adrenaline-spiking performances. But what do they have planned for the future? They would like to take the concept behind Bridge Bounce Ljubljana to other nations around the world. DD Squad has already started eyeing Paris’s Eiffel Tower and the Dubai Foundation Walk Bridge in front of the Burj Khalifa. Although plans have yet to firm up, one thing’s for sure: The future looks high for this cutting-edge and entertaining crew of trampoline aficionados!
By Engrid Barnett, contributor for Ripleys.com