Red Bull and Kriss Kyle just dropped an absolute banger of an edit of the man riding some of Dubai’s most iconic landscapes.
Pete had a chat with the Scottish BMX star to see how the project came about, hitting triple figures on 20″ wheels, and pushing the envelope.
Photos courtesy of Fred Murray/Red Bull.
For those who don’t know you, who is Kriss Kyle?
I’m a BMX rider who comes from Stranraer, Scotland. I’m just a guy who likes having fun and riding bikes, travelling the world and having fun.
How did the Dubai video project come about?
When Red Bull and I were discussing a possible video we thought about going to Dubai and recording a normal street video, and I thought fair enough that’ll be brilliant. Then when we’re in Dubai on a recce and they were showing us all these amazing locations, I wondered how far we could push it and what we could get away with.
Next thing you know we’re up on a helipad and they’re asking ‘Do you think you can do anything up here?’ and I was like ‘I don’t know, probably not, but I guess I could jump out of a helicopter and land on the roof’. They all kind of laughed it off thinking that would be amazing if you could actually make that happen. Then two weeks after flying home, I got an email saying, it’s on.
So I’ve literally spent a whole year sweating that helicopter jump, thinking what have I gotten myself into, as I’m actually scared of heights, they terrify me. The waterparks have always been a huge dream of mine to actually ride as when I was a kid going down flumes i’d always imagine riding this dry and thinking it would be amazing. So to have that okayed I knew it was growing much bigger than what I initially anticipated.
Was there any particular inspiration for the concept once you had locations and scouting done?
Not really, I just wanted to do something that was next level. I felt like I hadn’t done anything really amazing, or something I’d been really happy with in a while. As soon as I knew we were doing it in Dubai and the helicopter and water parks were signed off I knew it was going to be a big video.
Was it difficult to try and progress from the level of Kaleidescope?
Not really, I tend to do anything I say I’ll do and I feel like I can programme my body to do anything my mind wants it to do. Kaleidescope was definitely the biggest video I’d ever done before this current one and it was a huge learning curve with the amount of people being on set and filming and other things like that.
How much freedom were you given to create the lines and tricks you had in your head?
100% freedom the whole time. The people who were looking after us from Dubai gave me a free reign and said go nuts, ride whatever you want to ride and go crazy. The first day we got there, and we did the helicopter tour for the recce, we also checked out other roofs of other buildings to see what was possible. They were so supportive of anything we wanted to try.
Was there anything you wanted to make happen in this video that you hadn’t been able to in previous videos?
The helicopter jump really. After I said I’d do it, I knew I had to back it up. It started to get really scary when all my mates were coming out to Dubai to build the ramps, I thought, ‘Damn what happens if they fly all the way out here to build the ramps and I physically can’t do it, like can’t get in the helicopter because I’m that scared of heights.
What’s unique about shooting in Dubai and how did that affect how you go about making a video like this?
Usually we film in a ‘hit and run away from security’ style when we are in big cities, but on this shoot it was completely different. This time around we actually had security guards with us, making sure that we were alright and that other people weren’t getting in our way. I really liked it that way I wish we could do it every time.
Having the right people in your corner is key to projects like this, who did you get on board to help with the video that you won’t see on the screen?
My boys at Vision Ramps are great, they know what they’re doing and will change anything in an instant if I ask them to.
Matt Lambert (Director and Editor) is a good mate of mine, if I don’t like a clip I can tell him and he’ll change it and is open to anything.
Fred Murray (photographer) is one of my mates from Scotland and gets me every time. He knows my tricks well, so knows when to catch certain things at certain times. Working with the Red Bull team, people I have known for a while is great.
We are now just a big bunch of mates that feed off one another, the banter was amazing in Dubai. It really felt like a team effort.
Did you make any bike setup changes for this project?
I’ve always had no brakes on my bike since I was like 14 years old. The main reason being is I could never fix them, I’d snap the brake cables and could never put a new one back on because I had no idea what I’m doing. So i just decided to rip the brakes off and have ridden with it like that right up until the Dubai video.
When I put them on it felt so weird, but I needed it for the heli-jump as if I landed off the side of it I could’ve broken my legs or died. Also I needed it for the water parks as the speed you get down those flumes is absolutely insane, it was close to 100mph, so I was constantly on the brakes for that one. I really enjoyed having the brakes on and might put them back on.
We were walking down a flume in Dubai, just looking at it, and there was a little bit of left over water. Matty (Matt Lambert) said watch out for it and I just stepped right in it and fell right back. I hit my head, felt like I nearly broke my shoulder or put it out. It was so sore for days after when I was riding.
Probably riding the flare on the ‘Restrictor’ flume just because it has always been my dream to ride in a water park. The clip is amazing too, you can see how small I am in comparison to the water park ride. I really like that shot. Obviously the helicopter shot is amazing, but for some reason I really like that one.
Where next for Kriss Kyle?
Planning more projects and then I’ve got another huge project at the end of this year which will be my biggest one yet and hopefully my new number one video. Basically I just want to push the limits more and more.
Anybody to thank at this point in the journey? Long suffering spouses/parents/friends?
The list is absolutely massive, but I guess thanks to my mum and dad as well as my brother for getting me into it.
My friends back home who I go riding with and just hang with.
My fiance for being so supportive with my career and letting me go away for months at a time and letting me enjoying what I love doing.
And of course, Red Bull, without these guys I wouldn’t be able to make any of these dreams come true that I have so they’re an incredible sponsor.
Special shout out to Dubai Tourism as well, that helped us make the video an actual thing.