Anywhere you go within the Bicycle Freestyle scene, the name Mat Hoffman is bound to come up. In fact, Mat's reputation stretches beyond the bicycle stunt world and into the mainstream. He is, without question, the greatest vert-ramp rider in the history of the sport - a fact that is uncontested among his peers.
Mat's enthusiasm for the sport is a direct reflection of his enthusiasm for life. "If you want to experience all of the successes and pleasure in life, you have to be willing to accept all the pain and failure that comes with it," he said. " I don't want to hold myself back from anything life has to offer. I want to experience all life has to offer."
Mat entered the Bicycle Freestyle circuit as an amateur at the young age of thirteen. After quickly rising to the top of the amateur class within three years, Mat leapt to the pro ranks. At age 16, he was the youngest pro the sport had ever seen. An article in Ride magazine wrote, “What’s left to say about a guy who ignored all established limits and redefined vert riding - at age fifteen?”
Mat's unparalleled accomplishments as a rider are equaled by his success in the business world. By 1991, Mat had already surpassed amateur rank, seized the pro division, and brought the sport to new heights never thought possible, inventing the majority of the vert tricks today. Frustrated at having someone else in the driver’s seat of his career, Mat left his primary sponsor and began his own promotion company: Hoffman Promotions. He assembled a team of the best Freestyle bike riders, most of whom still ride for Hoffman Bikes, and began organizing show tours as the Sprocket Jockey Bicycle Stunt Team. The Sprocket Jockeys tour the country to this day, and are considered to be the best Bicycle Freestyle road show in the business.
Mat's skills surpassed the design technology the bike industry offered at the time. He was going through bikes by the dozens. He needed a bike that could stand up to the rigorous pounding required in Freestyle riding and realized that he wasn't the only one. With ever-increasing ambition, Mat decided to design and build his own bike, thus creating his second business: Hoffman Bikes. Sold in every major market in the world, Hoffman Bikes will celebrate its 10th Anniversary in 2001.
All of these experiences could easily fill a lifetime. For Mat Hoffman, however, it was all accomplished by the age of 20. Since then, he has been a key player in building the sport. He developed the Bicycle Stunt (BS) Series to give riders everywhere a place to compete and showcase their talents. The enormous success of the BS Series inevitably attracted the attention of sports media giant ESPN, which joined forces with Hoffman Promotions in 1995 to produce and televise the series each year. The event now serves as the qualifying series for the X Games and is broadcast to more than 35 million viewers in 177+ countries.
The growth of Hoffman Promotions gave birth to the Hoffman Sports Association (H.S.A.), which is the organizing body for ESPN’s highly coveted X Games and all international X Games bicycle stunt events. Mat and his team were also selected to take part in the closing ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga., in a production called “Sport as Art.” In 1999, H.S.A. developed the Crazy Freakin’ Bikers Series (CFB), which provides amateur and professional stunt bikers a venue in which they can compete, and advance to the BS Series. Not only does the H.S.A. promote, organize and host these two series, but it also produces all the television programming for the CFB Series, using bikers for every job from filming to editing.
The H.S.A. also organizes the bicycle stunt portion of the Soul Bowl in Hermosa Beach, Calif.; the Alp Challenge in Innsbruck, Austria; and Freestyle.ch.00, hosted in Zurich, Switzerland. All Hoffman Sports Association events are highly recognized and regarded prominent contests in Bicycle Stunt. The year 2001 will be the 10th consecutive year of competition production for Hoffman Promotions.
In January 2001, H.S.A. launched its website: hsacentral.com. Hsacentral.com contains the most comprehensive and complete coverage of bicycle stunt events/competition on the web and is "the resource" for bicycle stunt fans, enthusiasts and athletes.
The Hoffman Bikes line has also been immortalized in the form of Flix Trix finger bikes. These miniature, finger-operated replicas of the full-size Freestyle bikes are the top sellers in their field. In 2000, Mat released an action figure in collaboration with Flix Trix. In addition, Mat has partnered with Activision to produce Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX video game, which features some of the sport's top riders, including Mat, and will be released in May 2001. Activision is the same company that produced Tony Hawk's Pro Skater.
Mat has produced, directed and hosted several television series for ESPN including "Kids in the Way," "HBtv," and most recently the CFB Series and Mat's World, a nine-episode segment on X-2day. The shows air on ESPN nationally, as well as on Eurosport television worldwide. The shows focus on alternative sports as a way of life, and also touch on the undeniable effects of the music and personalities that laid the foundation and continue to shape alternative sports and athletes today.
With a resume that includes taking his bike base-jumping off 3,500-foot Norwegian cliffs and clearing 26.5 feet above a 24-foot-tall vert quarter pipe - exceeding the world record of 15-feet, Mat is a true innovator, defining the sport with the invention of more than 50 revolutionary tricks like the 900; Flip faki (backflip which includes landing backwards); and Flair (backflip with a 180 degree turn) - to name a few.
Despite numerous injuries, 14 operations in all, and all the new business projects that he is involved in, Mat came back into the contest circuit and pushed the sport to new levels in 2000. Within the first six months of his return, he worked his way back up to the top and is now the Bicycle Stunt Series Champion, CFB Series Champion, European Champion, and World Champion (10th time to receive World title), dominating once again.
Mat reached another new level of experience this year as he and his wife, Jaci, became parents to their beautiful daughter, Giavanna.
The Small Business Administration's Young Entrepreneur of the Year for 1995 definitely has his hands full. These hands continue to prove themselves capable time after time, though, and always seem to lead him in the direction of success. Only Mat, himself, knows what’s in store next