The last time I went trampolining was in my neighbour’s back garden; before that, in an old gymnasium hall, which smelt of feet and reminded me of the terror of school PE lessons. Neither experience prepared me for the massive, neon-coloured explosion that is the new Flip Out centre on the edge of a retail park near Brent Cross. Sprawling springboards, stunt box zones, a ‘Total Wipeout’-style assault course, complete with funky graffiti backdrop, a DJ booth and even a cascading LED waterfall-covered wall await would-be bouncers. Kids have it seriously good these days.
But there’s plenty here for big kids too: Monkey bars requiring the upper body strength of a gorilla on steroids, for example, and an impossibly high ramp you’ll need first-rate parkour skills to master. Here it’s just as fun watching as trying – though try I did. After getting a quarter of the way across the ‘Ninja Warrior Course’ I went tumbling into a sea of spongy cubes like a fresh-from-the-nest bird who has just failed its first flying test. True thrill-seekers can have their attempts timed – best not to if, like me, you can’t remember the last time you worked up a sweat. The laser maze room promising to test ‘stealth skills’ is a better test of agility for anyone over four feet tall. A nail bar for patient mums is forthcoming.
At the opening launch, the jungle of springy pathways were awash with jumping jacks of all ages – from the barely-learnt-to-walk to the newly desk-bound. I watched Olympic trampolining silver-medallist Bryony Page put my timid seat drops to shame and at one stage caught sight of a boy propelling himself through at least six somersaults in a row. Though I was more pissed kangaroo than graceful gazelle, weightlessly leaping through the air is flippin’ fantastic endorphin-raising fun – and it didn’t even smell of feet.
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