Parkour superstar Ryan Doyle spent time on UCSB’s campus on Tuesday, jumping around statues on campus and performing flips at the Davidson Library.
“You don’t know your environment until you jump all over it,” Doyle said before doing a backflip off construction equipment at the Arbor.
The 25-year-old Liverpool, England native is arguably one of the top parkour athletes in the world and is sponsored by Red Bull. Starring in MTV’s Ultimate Parkour Challenge last year, Doyle has helped spread the popularity of the booming art, which is generally described as the efficient movement between two points.
“Parkour is all about exploring what your body is capable of and finding the most efficient way to get around,” Doyle said. “It is creative and an exhibition of different styles. You can’t teach parkour.”
With a background in martial arts, Doyle became a professional parkour athlete at age 18. In 2007, he won the first international parkour competition, the Red Bull Art of Motion in Austria.
“I guess parkour started in Europe, but that’s just a name. People have been free running and jumping on stuff for years,” Doyle said. “Just look at Jackie Chan. It has been around forever. The French just commercialized it.”
Doyle currently designs parkour courses with Red Bull to improve competitions. After flipping around university campuses along the California coast, he will head to Hawaii to create a course amongst the trees hanging over sandy beaches.
“There’s only a handful of guys who are doing this professionally and we all come from different sports,” Doyle said. “We’re not judging the contestants really anymore. We’re judging the course for which style suits it best.”
With nearly 2.5 million views on his official YouTube channel, Doyle’s aerial tricks and acrobatic parkour moves have become Internet sensations. His 44 official uploads can be found at www.youtube.com/user/10055870.