Originally created 04/24/98

Flippin' over sports



When skateboard stuntman Paul Pearman hitches onto the back of a motorcycle going 35 mph and hops rows of Augusta Futurity barrels Saturday at Sports Jam 98, he knows it's more Evel Knievel-style than X-games.

This isn't the stuff that today's chain-smoking, parent-hating, baggy-clothes-wearing skateboarders try, said Mr. Pearman, who's in the Guinness Book of Records for the longest official skateboard jump.

"Yeah, it's an 'old school' skateboard trick," said Mr. Pearman. "But you don't see any skaters now lining up to do it."

They like it anyway, he said.

Organizers hope crowds also like the other activities planned for the inaugural sports festival, which is being staged from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Augusta State University's athletic complex off of Wrightsboro Road.Besides Mr. Pearman's shows at 1 and 3 p.m. there will be three performances of the GT Bicycle Air Show, featuring cyclist Rob Nolli, at noon, 2 and 5 p.m.

The daylong event, a fund-raiser for the Augusta Area Sports Council, also includes interactive booths, including an air-pistol range, disc golf, table tennis, a kayak pool, archery ranges and a rock-climbing wall.

There will also be seminars and clinics covering topics from coaching to gun safety.

At the sports fair, Mr. Pearman, 37, will also participate in a kickboxing exhibition -- which is his new passion.

He used to stage outrageous skateboard jumps all around Augusta and was a regular fixture at the Lobster Races in Aiken but hasn't done any big skateboard demonstrations in a while. Lately he's devoted his time to kickboxing and will fight for the international light-middle weight title May 2 at the Bell Auditorium.

Training for that sport should help out his daredevil skateboard jumps Saturday, he thinks.

"I'm so much lighter than I used to be," he said. "I'll probably jump better than I used to."

But because of the kickboxing career, he can't afford to get injured. "I gotta really be careful," he said. "It's essential I don't hurt myself."

He broke the world record for the longest skateboard jump in 1987. He jumped over 21 barrels at Regency Mall on May 28, 1987, as listed in the 1989 Guinness Book of Records.But since a new company starting publishing the record book, it inexplicably reverted to the old record of 17 barrels, set by Tony Alva in 1977.

Mr. Pearman has let the omission slide. "I really didn't pursue it," he said.

Be a sport

What: Sports Jam 98

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. SaturdayWhere: Augusta State University Athletic Complex, 3109 Wrightsboro Road

How much: $3, but no charge for children 10 and younger

Phone: 722-8326