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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:I've never used stilts, partly because of the safety issues (falling from great heights=potential broken wrists etc) and because of the risk of idiots knocking you over and leaving you in a vulnerable position (on the ground with big unwieldy objects strapped to your legs).

I've been considering getting some as there's plenty of walkabout work available here for walkabout stilters, and am trying to get some realistic idea of how safe/unsafe stilting is.

Now, to an extent, everything we do is risky; I'm fully aware of that- nothing is 100% safe.

However, personally I like to set limits, for example, i'm totally happy to spin/juggle fire (with some sensible safety precautions), but I will never fire breathe.

I set those limits according to knowledge gleaned either from my experince, other peoples experience, or research.

So I'm asking for experienced stilt walkers to give their opinions on how safe/risky stilting is.

I see the main risks as being

1. falls which break wrists etc

and

2. idiotic behaviour from people at gigs, eg drunks at festivals etc

here's a couple of quotes from this page- http://www.performers.net/forums/showthread.php?s=5c2fb9d227eb7c346e7dd7de2bbdd63d&threadid=1790
br>
-----------------------------

a. "I know a former RBBB clown who slipped on some tranny oil and broke his wrist so bad that it is now "frozen". No longer can he bend his wrist. A bit tough on a juggler I would think.

So take care.

Walking tall, and staying upright, well most of the time!"

b. "i suffered from a serious fall in colorado,breaking both arms and wrist's,very painful and expensive,so yesyesyes,to all wear pads! use spotters,wrist braces and anything else you can think of,the cost of medical treatment, and lost wages is more than a few pads and caution. be safe out there, oh you crazy kids!"


--------------------------------

Everything I do (circus skill workshops, craft/arts workshops, most of my hobbies, even unicycling) requires intact arms/wrists, and, if there is a serious risk of breakage then I'm really not up for stilting.

As well as stilters opinions, I'd be especially interested in stories of people who have fallen, and stories of people who've done loads of stilting and never been hurt.

Cheers,

Dave.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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mech
mech

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: "In your ear"
Member Since: 9th Jun 2003
Total posts: 6207
Posted:Dave i have wondered around on stilts for long periods and short periods of time, and the main thing i have found to stopping injury is regular breaks, when you can take the stilts off and walk normally to take the strain out of your legs for a little while.

What i would sugest is, in a month or so i will be moving to sheff for good, and will have my stilts iwth me, and you are more than welcome to try them out, see if you like them.

It is understandable that you are worred about serious injurys, but like all teh other things we do, you can minimise the severity or risk of injury, but you cant totaly prevent it.

I would say learn how to fall correctly, onto your knees, and then onto your wrists,

and if you are buying duras the best thing to do is walk round lots, up and down and get used to yoru ballance and drift of the balance.....


Step (el-nombrie)

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pineapple pete
pineapple pete

water based
Location: melbourne
Member Since: 20th Sep 2004
Total posts: 5125
Posted:ok, here goes.

i stilt. i stilt for leasure. i plan to stilt at festivals.

learning, you will fall. tips: learn on grass, use low stilts. (see my gallery for the video). spread your weight, learn a martial arts break fall.

get builders knee pads. i wear this under or over my pants, whenever i stilt (i dont have a costume yet, but obviously, the pads would go underneath) i can highly recomend wrist guards.

if you are making your own stilts, which i did, put rubber of some sort on the bottom, it makes a world of difference.

i took a fall on concrete a while ago. i used my break-fall, but instincts also got me, and i smacked my knee on the ground, i got knee pads the next day. learn from my experience.

if you find a fence next to some grass, this is great for learning to walk with, just dont put all your weight on it, go down gracefully, fall away from the fence.

if you're falling backwards, spin so you fall forwards. you never want to land on your back. ouch.

dont get cocky. slopes and stairs are alot harder than you might think after a while, it also means you're furthur away from the ground. steer away from roads for a while, there are no soft places to land on a road. after a while, high kicks, 180 spins walking backwards and even skipping (with a rope) will come, but dont force them, take your time.

my stilts are 60cm high, with 4.5x4.5 cm feet / legs, this gives a fairly wide foot, making it easier to begin with. of course, they're not very high, putting my head / neck / wrists/ butt in less danger of getting broken.

apart from that, have fun, remember, you dont need to have 2m stilts, even with 60cm stilts, it is plain and easy to see you are abnormally tall, but you also get alot more movement for better tricks.

cheers, pete biggrin

*sorry if i rambled*


"you know there are no trophys for doing silly things in real life yeah pete?" said ant "you wont get a 'listened to ride of the valkyries all the way to vietnam' trophy"

*proud owner of the very cute fire_spinning_angel, birgit and neon shaolin*

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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:Cheers for the replies- the safety tips about resting and about using pads are useful.

However, what I'm really trying to get a handle on here is the safety of stiltwalking itself.

Safety can be optimised (eg by using pads, knowing how to fall, taking rests etc), but then again, I would take it as a given that if I was stilt walking I would do the necessary things to optimise safety.

Taking fire breathing as an example- safety can be optimised, however, I still wouldn't do it, because I know that plenty of people have fire breathed whilst taking precautions, yet have still been badly hurt.

As mentioned in the first post, there are accounts of stilt walkers who have broken both arms during a fall, or who have permanently damaged a limb.

Presuming that the people who were hurt were experienced, they could well have been wearing knee-pads and knew about how to fall etc, yet they still got badly hurt.

What I'm trying to establish with this thread is the likelihood of such things happening.

If, for example, the statistics are that arm breakage in stilt walking is as likely as an accident while fire breathing, then I'm not going to get into stilting; if such accidents are very rare, then I'll be more inclined to get into it.

I've done a fair bit of web research into stilting over the past few days, and there's loads out there on making stilts, learning how to stilt and optimising safety during stilting; what seems to be lacking is info about how safe stilting actually is.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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tainted
tainted

addict
Location: London
Member Since: 22nd Oct 2004
Total posts: 422
Posted:THe main thing i learnt when i was learning stilts was no matter how tepmted you are to let your hands break your fall dont. just lean back alittle and fall to your knees.

There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers...

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JauntyJames
JauntyJames

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Hampshire College, MA, USA
Member Since: 22nd Dec 2004
Total posts: 3533
Posted:Sorry to be offtopic here, OWD, but I can't let that comment slide. DON'T fall on your knees. It's almost as easy to mess them up as your wrists, and they're just as difficult to heal. Just about anything is better to fall on than hands and knees.

I've only had one fall on concrete. I landed on my wrists and messed them up for the afternoon. Since then I've decided not to stilt off of grass until I at least get some pads, and I'm going to learn to fall properly as soon I get a chance.


-James

"How do you know if you're happy or sad without a mask? Or angry? Or ready for dessert?"

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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:tainted and sparkey- to fall onto knees or not has been hotly debated on HOP in the past-

http://www.homeofpoi.com/ubbthreads/show...ll/fpart/1/vc/1
br>
and is indeed somewhat off-topic here; though I will say that use of knee-pads for stilts is pretty much universally recommended (and many recomend wrist-guards/wrist braces as well). Falling on unpadded knees is definitly a very bad thing to do; I believe that some people recomend falling on padded knees with the lower height stilts.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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UCOF
UCOF

Carpal \'Tunnel

Member Since: 17th Apr 2002
Total posts: 15414
Posted:This may be a silly thing from someone such as myself, but would not landing on your wrists and knees at the same time be the best course of action?

More surface area to land on = less force acting on each of those points of contact -> less damage done....

confused

I shall read this again on monday. tongue


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Noddy
Noddy

Toe Poking Bad Boy
Location: Lake District UK
Member Since: 25th Jul 2004
Total posts: 2865
Posted:i used my old skateboard wrist gaurds

Remember.........YOU LOSE!!!

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tainted
tainted

addict
Location: London
Member Since: 22nd Oct 2004
Total posts: 422
Posted:You should always wear knee pads when on stilts no matter how long you have been doing stilts, therefore with the kneepads your knees dont take as much impact. If you landed on both at the same time your wrists would come of worse ive done it and was lucky to get away with sever sprains

There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers...

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marco
enthusiast
Location: uk
Member Since: 27th May 2004
Total posts: 327
Posted:I must admit to finding these posts rather scary, I routinely use five and six foot pegs, I also have dura's for when I'm working in areas that a thorough risk assesment has evidenced the unsuitability of pegs, I also have power risers.



Right risk, in terms of stilit walking, when doing risk assesment for performance / practice / teaching, I classify stilt walking as high risk, along side fire eating and fire breathing, different skills I know, but for completely different reasons, similar risk levels, although different risks, if that makes sense



Fire staff / poi / etc classified as medium to high risk, hope this helps.



Observations, this is not to be considered in anyway authorative in any sense.



Firstly, Knee pads, of good quality essential, to be worn under costume if performing,



Please don't use either wrist pads or elbow pads for anything other than powerisers, here their use has certain benifits, but for peg stilts and generally anything over 1.5 - 2 foot they are dangerous.



Likewise protective head gear not a good idea.



Let me qualify that, if you land on your wrists / hands at much over a foot from stilts you risk serious strain, much over two foot and you will probably break them, bouth, much over three foot and you will start to damage elbows and shoulders, at four foot breakage of shoulder / fore arm etc, probably bouth.



There is a correct way of falling, this will work without injury upto about six foot on most surfaces, at five foot ok'ish, six foot uncomfortable, seven foot it will save serious injury, from there onwards, well don't fall, if you do it will still be the safest way of falling.



It's a little confusing, but it goes like this, don't fall backwards, ever, this is a really bad thing, I'm not saying it can't happen, but there really is little excuse for it, learn break turns and stop turns etc, and please don't fall sideways, this hurts a lot, even from 1 foot, if you must then try for a rolling landing.



Most falls from stiltage can with a little thought be avoided.



The fall then, you really need to learn and practice this, as it will save a lot of damage.



You will fall forwards, learn backwards slightly flexing at the knees, not too far, first contact should be with your well protected knees, important note you are going to land through your knees not on them, you will have a natural inertia for continue forwards, at this point you will make careful use of your hands and forearms to ensure you don't end up headbutting the ground. practice the idea without stilts, drop forwards through your knees, continue in a forward movement, and arrest your fall before making head contact with the ground. your final position should be, if performed correctly, laying prone across the ground, head raised slightly above said ground.



I've routinely practiced this at three foot, when teaching, without discomfort, four foot to be honest for me gets a little uncomfortable, I've checked the procedure at five foot, don't really recomend that one too frequently, just be aware that it works, i found the experience rather painful.



I've seen a fall at seven foot, the idividual walked away from the incident, without breakages or dislocations.



Be very cautious of final falling distances, flat ground like for like, going uphill your actually going to be falling less that the stilt length, and obvoiusly downhill you can be adding as much as a foot to your final drop.





hope this helps



pm me if your require further details



mark


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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:Cheers for that Marco, very interesting post.

I've got three questions: -

Written by: marco

I also have dura's for when I'm working in areas that a thorough risk assesment has evidenced the unsuitability of pegs, I also have power risers




Is that because you consider falls from Duro's less likely in general, or, are there some kinds of terrain that is less hazardous with duro's?



Written by: marco

Please don't use either wrist pads or elbow pads for anything other than powerisers, here their use has certain benifits, but for peg stilts and generally anything over 1.5 - 2 foot they are dangerous.

Likewise protective head gear not a good idea.




How are they dangerous? I understand that landing on wrists is a bad idea, so is it because you're thinking that wearing wrist/elbow pads may encourage landing on them? Because, other than that, I don't see how wearing them could actually add to the danger (same with helmets).

------------------

Good point about the height difference when falling up/down a hill- this is something I'm aware of from off-road unicycling where the extra height from coming off facing down-hill is evident.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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J-J
member
Location: Perth, Australia
Member Since: 14th Jul 2005
Total posts: 41
Posted:I've been stiltwalking for 3-4 years now, done a number of gigs in that time and taught lots of people to stiltwalk.

Personally I don't think it is dangerous - certainly not as much as firebreathing which is something I'd never try (admittedly I don't know much about firebreathing - what is the likelihood of a firebreathing accident occuring?). Ok, my stilts aren't particularly high - 75cm - but they're high enough to look impressive, all you need is to be taller then everyone else and a good costume. The other advantage of not being too high up (apart from less risk) is that it's still easy to interact with people. The stilts I use for teaching are 50cm high.

In all my time involved with stilts, I have never had or known anyone who's suffered from any of the injuries mentioned in this thread. I've fallen on to grass many times (often deliberately) and on to concrete once, the worst I've suffered from this was a fairly large bruise on my knee. I reckon I've caused myself more pain and damage from my juggling clubs. I have never worn with knee pads or wrist guards for stilting, although I do think they are a good idea.

Obviously I would advise you to follow all the good advice that has been given with regards to improving stilt safety. I also recommend you get some one who knows what they're doing to teach you - with a good spotter you shouldn't fall at all during the learning process except for the deliberate 'learn-to-fall' fall from low stilts on to grass that I'd recommend as part of learning.

So, in terms of point 1: falls that break wrists
I'd say this is not a big risk, particularly on lowish stilts like mine. I'd say this would depend mainly on the height of the stilts and the surface you're falling onto. These you can control to an extent - watch that the surface you're on isn't slippery. But I've never used stilts as high as marco's so I'm not really qualified to comment on the riskyness of tall stilts. Like he said though, I'd agree that most falls from stilts can with a little thought be avoided. Do do a thorough risk assessment.

Do you have any data on the quotes: how high were the stilts, did they fall correctly, what were they doing at the time (ie why did they fall).

point 2: idiots
can be a problem. I've never had any serious problems, just some people who think it's hilarious to pretend they're going to run at you and knock you over. This requires fairly strong nerves to cope with. That said no-one has ever actually tried to knock me over. I guess I wouldn't take a gig if I thought the crowd would actually try for whatever reason. And this being sleepy, old Perth (Australia) those kind of gigs don't exist anyway.

The best thing I could recommend for this is take a spotter - or don't do a gig on your own - safety in numbers so to speak. The one time I fell on concrete was just before the start of a gig (I slipped on a wet patch on the ground). The other stiltwalker who was more experienced than me got one of the people who were going 'omg, are you ok' to get me up to standing again and we went off and did the gig. I was s*** scared after that but rest of the gig went fine.

And I guess generally I'd say: start by learning on some low stilts with a good spotter who knows how to teach, (come to Perth - I'll teach you biggrin). Cause then it'll be pretty much impossible to cause yourself serious damage while you're learning.

And then see how you feel...

Some people are just more confident and comfortable with it than others.


"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by" - Douglas Adams

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J-J
member
Location: Perth, Australia
Member Since: 14th Jul 2005
Total posts: 41
Posted:oh and when it says:
Sheffields Premier Off Road Unicyclist

is that the sort of stuff like I saw in an extreme unicycling video? cause that struck me as much more dangerous (and painful - when I saw the out takes...) eek


"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by" - Douglas Adams

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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:Cheers for that J-J, you're obviously pretty happy with stilting. I've no idea what height stilts the people who broke their arms were using, I suspect they were probably pretty high.

If I did start stilting I definitly wouldn't be using the longer stilts.

What you say about having a spotter is a good idea, but, where gigs are concerned has the obvious problem of cutting down your wage as you'd have to pay for someone else to come along as well.

as for off-road unicycling, it is indeed the kind of stuff you see in extreme unicycling vids, but personally I don't do the big drops, riding small logs etc.

Off road unicycling is actually considerably safer than it looks, because: -

1. Falling off a uni, or 'UPD'-ing ('UnPlanned Dismount' as unicyclists call it) is generally very straightforward- in 98% of cases you basically end up on your feet, in the (few) times when you do go down you generally just break the fall with bent arms and get up again)

2. Off-road unicyclists, as you'll see in the vids, are pretty up on their safety equipment, usually wearing, at the minimum, helmet and wrist guards, and often knee/elbow pads and shin guards

Suprisingly, this isn't because unicycling is that risky, but more because the sport was created and promoted by fairly mature people who lacked the common attitude that safety equipment looks wimpy or silly.

In my 5+ years of riding which has included thousands of hours/miles i can honestly say that I've had only one fall that could potentially have been quite bad. I also post a lot on unicyclist.com forums, which is the biggest unicycle forum, and there are very few serious accidents reported there even amongst those whose riding is quite extreme.

I've got to say, that at 37 years of age, i very much like to minimise risky activities (hence my wariness about getting into stilting and refusal to fire-breathe), but as far as the unicycling goes I've got no doubts whatsoever.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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marco
enthusiast
Location: uk
Member Since: 27th May 2004
Total posts: 327
Posted:
Hi,

Firstly, amongst other areas, I perform on stilts in night clubs from time to time, here I tend to find that crowd densities are generally not that suitable for peg stilts, it's not that I consider falls from duras less likely, what I do find is that it can be useful to be able to completely stop, and wait for person / persons to move etc, duras tend to represent a more stable stilt walking platform, thus in some in that respects falls from duras tend to be less likely.

I would seroiusly recomend learning stilt walking on peg stilts initially though, since dura's don't really teach stilt walking, you will also find skills from pegs to be very transferable to dura's, not the other way around, also being able to peg stilt walk will give you so much more confidence with dura's in general.

There is little question about this, if your wearing wrist guards / pads, elbow pads etc, your far more likely to want to try landing on them, one of the first things that anyone tends to do during a fall is to stick their hands / arms out, safer stilt walking requires thourough learning of correct falling protocals, so yes actually wearing them doesn't add to the risk, it's the associated risk of wanting to land using them that is dangerous.

mark


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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:That's interesting; in unicycling there's a similar line of argument which says that people who wear protective gear are actually more likely to get hurt than those who don't, because those who are well padded up tend to do more risky stuff.

Personally, i can see how that would apply if they were wearing lots of gear (eg maybe the chest/back armour that some people are using these days) and they were indeed really pushing it by attempting extreme stuff. But, when it comes to the basic helmet and wrist guards, i wouldn't be without them because I know for a fact they've come in handy in some totally routine (non extreme) falls.

If I did get into stilting I'd definitly be wearing knee-pads and wrist guards as-

1. the research I've done indicates that knee-pads are seen as a good idea by the majority of stilt walkers

2. despite the heated debate on whether the knee-landing is a good way of falling, there does seem to be a kind of consensus that, when using short stilts (eg 2 ft), a modified knee landing (where one leans back to slow the fall), is a good option, if only because it is easier to learn than the rolling out methods

The more research I do on the issue of stilts and safety, the less I'm inclined to get into stilts as I'm turning up accounts of experienced people who've been quite badly hurt in falls.

Whilst I can imagine learning short stilts for my own enjoyment, it's looking less likely that I'm going to be prepared to actually use stilts for gigs, as it seems that that is where the accidents are happening.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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flamazine
flamazine

journeyman
Location: Manchester
Member Since: 25th Apr 2005
Total posts: 91
Posted:I've given up stilting as far too dangerous after jarring my back when I fell slightly wrong. I do fire eating, fire breathing, jumping through fire (see my gallery), unicycling, BMX racing, snowboarding etc etc but stilting is just far too dangerous for me.

If you insist on doing it, get the best quality knee pads you can from a good bike/skate shop, there are some available that are amazing.


He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy!

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mcp
mcp

Flying Water Muppet
Location: Edin-borrow.
Member Since: 20th May 2003
Total posts: 5276
Posted:I learned a little to stilt when I was ten, then toold it up again just recently. (10 plus year gap)

But I did find that on my second walk about in stilts (pegs), the guy teaching me pretended to be an annoying youth, shaking my legs and kicking my stilts and so on, and it wasn't particularly hard to stay up, just nerve racking cos you felt like you should fall down. Our bodies natural balance system is a wonderful thing.

Otherwise: when doing poi on stilts (same day) I could stay absolutely still for much longer while doing poi than while just trying to stay still. (totally still, no little steps still.)


"the now legendary" - Kaskade
"the still legendary" - Kaskade

I spunked in my friend's aquarium and the fish ate it. I love all fish. Especially the pink ones. They are my bitches. - Anon.

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NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:I said it on another thread before, but I learned that there is a HUGE difference in kneepads.

I got myself... hrmm... I forgot the exact wording... but something like "extreme skating" kneepads. They're for when you f*ckup and you're 30 feet above a half pipe and have to come down on your knees. They're WAY better than 99% of the hard skating kneepads I've seen for IMPACT falls which is what you'd be doing.


Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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ZeeBoo
ZeeBoo

member
Location: Melbourne
Member Since: 10th Aug 2004
Total posts: 167
Posted:I stiltwalked proffessionally for about 3 years and have performed in clubs, festival, parades, shoping centres... etc..

In that time I fell twice and both times I had no injures (except pride) falls happen so practise them but you can hit a wet patch mid step and be down in a split second.

Peripheral vision & hearing: for some reason joe public thinks you can't hear them or see them if they are a couple of metres away because you are higher than them. So use your senses to there extremes you must know what is going on around you (including behind) at all times and what is coming up.
The number of times I heard someone say to there mates "what happens if..." at which point I'd turn around and say quietly in there ear "you'd get 13 stone falling on top of you".
If your working in crowds you learn to spot the trouble makers before there get to you, most people it's is just jest and a hand on the stilts although disconcerting won't make you fall off.

For clubs use dura's because they give you greater stablity or have a long walking stick as a prop. One of the main dangers in clubs (apart from people) are bottles & glass on the ground so an extra eye on the ground all the time.
And nothing is going to protect you from the nutter who rugby tackles you (have see it happen).

I recommend having a spotter so why not incorporate them into the act so you can then charge more cos there's 2 or 3 of you and it will make your life safer.

Don't have an aggressive costume as you will get aggression back, sounds a bit odd but we had costumes that had ray guns and the amount of hassel we got was huge compared to when we uses the same costume without the guns.

Don't run before you can walk::-
There is alot of experiances been given out in this thread by people who have done the hard work of learning as you go, which will give you a bit of a clue of what to expect but only by doing it will you learn how to do it.

Once I was being chased by something very mean and scary help so my strides got bigger & bigger & faster & faster till I managed to escape at which point my brain caught up with what by body was doing eek I was running on stilts, bugger how do I stop?
Fortunately it wasn't as hard as I thought but it was an interesting few seconds.


Just because I'm an adult doesn't make me responsible.

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Lampwort
newbie
Location: Durham City, England,UK
Member Since: 3rd Nov 2005
Total posts: 3
Posted:I have been stilting for 10yrs. I started on 18inch STILTZ and progressed 2 years ago to 2ft aluminium pegs and earlier this year 3ft aluminium pegs. Bill(Stretch)Coleman calls me eccentric because I stilt for pleasure going cross-country looking for that BUZZ and adrenalin rush when getting into difficulty especially descending steep, muddy or icy hills. Hence I fall regularly (probably around 200 times in the past year) and to date have not experienced so much as soreness.
When I was taught to stilt, my tutor taught me to fall before I could walk. He taught me that I should always use extreme skateboarding knee pads (the sort that fit right round your leg and do not slip). He then said that you fall forwards to you knees, using your knees as a pivot sit back on your thighs keeping you back upright. Putting your hands forward to break a fall not only risks a wrist injury but is more likely to break your collar bones. Falling sideways is painfull everytime and a backwards fall must be avoided at all costs as it usually ends in brain damage or death.
I recently tried to come down a flight of 4 concrete steps to a tarmac carpark for the first time on my 3ft pegs and missed the top step. I landed the way I was taught on my knees, sitting back. The fall was probably around 6ft in all and apart from the shock of the fall there was no injury or after effects


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Lampwort
newbie
Location: Durham City, England,UK
Member Since: 3rd Nov 2005
Total posts: 3
Posted:On the subject of stilt safety when performing, it is advisable to employ a spotter on the ground who can deter a would be stilt assassin. When performing I would advise you to check the ground where you intend to work before putting on stilts. You should look out for the following:-
Working in doors -
low doorways, steps or stairs, steep ramps, low light fittings and check for items which will cause a slip or slide. These include fast food outlets as a stray potato chip or discarded saucy salad make excellent launch pads for a rubber tipped stilt. Also if it is raining outside a wet footprint on a polished wood floor is lethal.
Working outdoors -
low trees and bushes, if on grass soft ground that you could sink into, at shows and fairs check for low slung electric cables and again discarded fast food, wooden duckboarding or wooden walkways are lethal when wet, cobble stones especially wet ones, kerbs, wet metal grates and wet painted road markings.
Working during the hours of darkness -
ALL of the above plus unseen holes in the ground.
If in doubt about your personal safety, see your employer and refuse on safety grounds to perform. Afterall although many people wonder what it is like to see stiltwalkers fall no-one wants to see an injured stiltwalker. Safety comes first EVERYTIME


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Durbs
Durbs

Classically British
Location: Epsom, Surrey, England
Member Since: 23rd Sep 2001
Total posts: 5688
Posted:Written by: ZeeBoo

Once I was being chased by something very mean and scary



I'm intrigued - what was it? smile


Burner of Toast
Spinner of poi
Slacker of enormous magnitude

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UCOF
UCOF

Carpal \'Tunnel

Member Since: 17th Apr 2002
Total posts: 15414
Posted:ubbidea
The Easter bunny?
Father Christmas?
Bernard Manning?


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NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:Written by: Lampwort

When I was taught to stilt, my tutor taught me to fall before I could walk. He taught me that I should always use extreme skateboarding knee pads (the sort that fit right round your leg and do not slip). He then said that you fall forwards to you knees, using your knees as a pivot sit back on your thighs keeping you back upright.



Yay! That's exactly what I wear/do!

biggrin


Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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marco
enthusiast
Location: uk
Member Since: 27th May 2004
Total posts: 327
Posted:
This is scary that this kind of advice is still being postulated, while the technique described above might be ok'ish for around 1 foot stilts maybe a little taller, you are risking serious damage to both your hips and spinal collum. Please check back through this thread for a full description of a more appropriate falling protocol.

mark


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flashinglites
newbie

Member Since: 22nd Jun 2007
Total posts: 4
Posted:As a stilt Walker of a couple of years it takes practice just like everything else. i started out on a pair that were 50cm high. i Started to learn on these. a couple of weeks ago i did a full costume act on 65cm stilts that i had been walking on for 4 days. i had knee pads tights tied around the straps in case they broke and i had to spotters. this is about as much as u can optimize safety u can a bit more but i didnt have any wrist guards. i was doing it as part of the "big look see" festival. i was wearing the costume for Colin Webster-Watson. he wore the costume many years ago.i hav been stilt walking for about 2 or 3 years and im now 13. i also do fire staff but not on stilts yet though i have been practicing. al i can say is wear protective gear hav spotters and practice practice practice. :-)

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FireTom
Stargazer

Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
Total posts: 6650
Posted:Nice thread smile I have to admit that I took a head-on start with Dura-Stilts (easy as a piece of cake) walking around at a carnival celebration mid-city. The only probs came for two reasons:

1) fatigue
2) fools

Nothing happened, though.

Later I had the opportunity to receive some professional training at the "Escuela Nacional de Circo" on 1.70m conventional stilts. I picked up pretty fast (maybe a "natural"), however one day I practised walking backwards and (whilst looking for the girls) missed out on that 2 ft brick wall behind me. Fortunately I was able to make a 180 in mid-air (who knows what would have happened otherwise) and slammed my wrists on the concrete floor.

They should have been shattered, but I was extremely lucky with my physique (thanks mum and dad)... it still took about 4 month to recover.

IMO (apart from being) an "accident" on stilts happens for a few reasons. Apart from the one mentioned above comes:

3) frivolousness, as in
3.1) poor attention to areal conditions
3.2) lack of training (poor control)

You don't necessarily have to break your wrists, but IF you are likely to break a bone once in a while... I can only say that I have been extremely lucky and never broke a bone in my entire life, even though I had craploads of close calls.

Accidents DO happen, sooner or later. The only thing you can do about it is be prepared - and at stilt walking it means awareness. (*walks off, humming "the higher they come, the harder they fall"*)


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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lampwortroy
newbie
Location: Durham City, England, UK
Member Since: 5th Dec 2007
Total posts: 32
Posted:I support the theory of when you fall, drop onto your knees and sit back onto your legs/stilts. Going cross-country I fall regularly, sometimes several times a day and have never suffered so much as a bruise landing on my knees. I even missed the top step of a flight of 5 concrete steps and landed on my knees at the bottom on a tarmac carpark in the dark and did not feel a thing. The only damage was when one day on a particularly steep muddy hill, both stilts launched together and I landed on my hip. The bruise and stiffness lasted about 5 weeks. Using skateboarders kneepads I have fallen off 3ft pegs onto my knees with no damage - not even a bruise. I am told by other stilters that this method is preferable for any height up to 5ft. Over 5ft any fall will hurt and could be damaging no-matter which way you hit the ground. Over 7ft tall, find someone to fall on or do not fall at all.

Roy


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ElectricBlue
ElectricBlue

Now with extra strawberries
Location: Canberra
Member Since: 11th Feb 2002
Total posts: 810
Posted:I think the advantage of droping to the knees when done properly is that as you lean back bending from the knees you fall alot slower. But i find even if you do this you should still try and minimise the complete impact on you knees, ie catch some of your fall with a push up once you get close to the ground.

I {Heart} hand me downs and spinning in the snow.<br /><br />

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