Nitro Circus: Why Coast show will be 'nerve wracking'
HE IS the youngest daredevil on the Nitro Circus Live Tour, and is about to perform in front of a thousands-strong home crowd for the first time.
Ryan Williams, also known as "R Willy" on stage, grew up on the Sunshine Coast, learning his craft at the Caloundra and Kawana skate parks.
The 22-year-old scooter and BMX rider is a pioneer in both sports, constantly pushing the limits of what's possible as he dreams up new tricks.
About 10,000 fans are expected to fill the Sunshine Coast Stadium for the Nitro Circus Live Tour this Saturday from 3.30pm.
Ryan described the show as his "redemption".
"I'm definitely going to try some new world firsts in the show," he said.
"I do this trick on BMX called a 720 front flip, and really I'm one of the only people in the world that can do it.
"In the Sunny Coast show, I want to add a bar spin, and that'll be a world first in my home town."
He missed out on the Nitro Circus' last Sunshine Coast show in 2013 after knocking himself unconscious with a failed triple backflip during the pre-show practice.
"I ended up doing three and a half flips to my head, knocked myself out, had to go to Nambour (Hospital), by the time I got back it was over," he said.
Family and friends seeing the show makes Ryan even more nervous than the death-defying tricks.
"It's going to be so nerve-wracking performing in front of the Sunshine Coast," he said.
"Usually I perform pretty well under nerves, so hopefully it goes to my benefit.
"It's so cool to be doing a show literally 50m away from a skate park I grew up at."
Ryan started performing in the Nitro Circus five years ago at 17 years of age, after organisers saw his YouTube video and flew him to a show for a try-out.
The video, showing a compilation of scooter tricks performed mostly at the Caloundra skate park, had gone viral with 2.5 million views.
"Sure enough, I went down there, there was a 50ft roll-in and they were like, 'Sign this waiver here and show us what you've got,' and I did pretty well, and I've been on the tour ever since."
Doing "pretty well" involved landing the first ever double front flip on a scooter.
Since then he's travelled with the show to Europe, America, Japan, China, and New Zealand.
"Normal people count sheep when they're going to sleep," he said.
"I think of tricks that I can try that no-one's ever done before, then I wake up the next day and if I'm at a Nitro show I'll give them a go, see how it goes, and if I get close I keep trying."
He once landed three world-first scooter tricks in a single Nitro Circus show, throwing a ruler front flip, cashroll tailwhip rewind and a double frontflip tailwhip, with the last requiring two attempts.
"I'm the only person in the world that's ever done a triple front flip on BMX," he said.
"The triple backflip on scooter was one of my first ever world firsts on Nitro Circus."
He has broken both his feet and one arm, smashed his teeth and separated his shoulder in his time as an extreme athlete.
"Smashing my teeth out was probably the worst thing I've ever done, because they're annoying and I hate the dentist," he said.
"Believe it or not, it doesn't go wrong too often, and I've been really lucky compared to the other guys.
"The (motorcross) dudes, they're coming off and they're breaking limbs every time."
He isn't quite ready for that.
"I've thought about riding motorcross, but I think I'll wait until I can't push or pedal, and then I'll get on the motorised vehicle," he laughed.
That perseverance has landed him in a career he never dreamed of.
"When I first started scootering, no-one was making any money off it," he said.
"It was just a hobby, and it still is for me, it's all about the fun.
"It's still good to be able to make it a job, and live a perfect life, I would say."
His advice for anyone wanting a career in extreme sports was to stick with their passion.
"I started riding a scooter, and obviously scootering gets a bit of grief from BMX riders and skateboarders.
"If I ever listened to the haters, as you would say, I wouldn't be standing here today and I wouldn't be doing Nitro Circus.
"My biggest advice is just believe in yourself, and keep doing what's fun for you."