Indoor Adventure Summer's over, but hang tight. These new releases take you on an over-the-top quest for motorcross's first backflip and an angler's wild run with the stripers

September 07, 2003

Flipped Out!
Produced by MXi
Running time: 59 min.; $19.95

While trying to execute the world's first backflip on a
motorbike, then 17-year-old Nate Adams crashes so spectacularly
that makers of the DVD Flipped Out! felt compelled to show the
attempt at four different points in their gripping yet unsettling
documentary. Adams makes it about three quarters of the way
around before landing flat on his face with that big bike between
his legs. The crash looks so painful, it's amazing that he only
broke one collarbone and separated the other. If Wide World of
Sports were still on TV, it would have a new agony-of-defeat

Adams's crash is a reminder of what harm the riders in Flipped
Out! are risking. The DVD chronicles the quest by pro freestyle
motocross riders to execute and then master the backflip. Flipped
Out! opens with a segment on Carey Hart, 25, the first person to
attempt the backflip in competition, at the 2000 Gravity Games.
He makes it all the way around and lands, and then the bike
slides out from under him. He leaps up and throws his arms in the
air, but other riders complain that Hart did not stick the
landing and ride away. Hart goes for the move again a year later
at the 2001 X Games but comes off the bike in midair and crashes,
breaking three ribs and nine bones in his right foot.

In April 2002, then 26-year-old Caleb Wyatt completes the first
backflip with rideaway, on a practice course with a friend
videotaping. Several others, including Hart, Wyatt and Adams,
then do backflips in competition. But, of course, they must be
topped. Enter Mike (the Godfather) Metzger. In practice he hits
the backflip and rides away on three of his first five attempts,
and that only hints at feats to come. At the 2002 X Games he does
a backflip off a ramp, lands and then rides straight into another
backflip off the dirt with an ease that is hard to fathom.

Indeed, Metzger's virtuosity nearly undercuts Flipped Out!'s
narrative. The video presents the quest with dramatic tones more
suited to the race to put a man on the moon. But only two years
elapse between Hart's first attempt and Wyatt's rideaway: Metzger
rips off his backflip-to-backflip just a few months later. Thank
goodness the filmmakers included the image of Nate Adams's
facebuster. It reminds the viewer that just because someone like
Metzger makes a backflip look easy, it isn't.

--Bill Syken

On the Run: An Angler's Journey down the Striper Coast
by David DiBenedetto
William Morrow, 238 pages, $24.95

You know you're not reading a conventional fishing book when the
first line is, "I don't advise peeing in your wetsuit." In his
lively account of a fall spent chasing the striped-bass migration
from Maine to the Outer Banks, David DiBenedetto immediately
dumps you into deep water with a description of "skishing" at
night--that is, drifting on your back in the offshore current
while dressed in a wet suit and manipulating a surf rod; the
"ski" part comes from the fact that if you hook up with a big cow
striper, she'll tow you like a water ski.

Before On the Run comes to an end in North Carolina, DiBenedetto
takes the reader on a tour of the coast that focuses not only on
a splendid fish but also on the obsessive anglers who live for
the annual fall striper run. You'll meet characters with striper
tattoos, fishermen known as "plug hos" (anglers who display what
DiBenedetto calls "loose morals in the quest for a
hard-to-come-by plug"), a spear fisherman who stalks stripers
using only the air in his lungs--and you'll hear the sad tale of
Albert McReynolds, the Atlantic City fisherman who in September
1982 caught the world's largest striper on a rod (78 pounds,
eight ounces), a man who in Thomas McGuane's memorable phrase
literally "ruined his life for sport." Nor is the author, an
editor at Field & Stream, immune to the madness; when he was a
teenager his father looked at his room, decorated with fish
images, and said "You know, at this age your brothers had
pictures of women on their walls."

There is a graver side to the book. DiBenedetto was already
fishing in Maine when he heard the news on Sept. 11, 2001. He
fished through New York and New Jersey with the smoldering fires
of the World Trade Center visible on the horizon.

The other sober theme that runs through the tale is the constant
reminder that a healthy striper population was nearly lost
through pollution, overfishing and, more subtly, the decimation
of food stocks like menhaden. It's good to know that these
lunatic fishermen, who swim with sharks, refer to "stripedos" and
engage in a near war off Long Island's Montauk Point every fall,
can put aside their rivalries to save their scaly grail.

--Stephen Bodio


Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)