Defying Gravity: An Adventure on the Flying Trapeze


DSC_0077trapeze In the scenic surrounds of Scarborough Beach, a merry group of circus folk known as The Twilight Flyers have brought to our fair city the opportunity for humble civilians to try their hand at the flying trapeze.

One fine Tuesday morning, I joined a group of frighteningly agile youths eager to get up in the air. As I was strapped into a comfortingly snug harness, I discovered that some of these bendy children were “frequent flyers”, (that’s cool trapeze lingo for regulars) but most in the class were first-timers like myself.

The trapeze is tended to by a group of cheery acrobats determined to make everyone feel included and have a nice time, even if they are repeatedly throwing themselves off a small platform several metres in the air.


The team ran everyone through the safety procedures and basic technique on the ground, and then it was time to climb the ladder to destiny.

From the offset I had a feeling that myself and the flying trapeze would not be natural allies. My participation in any activity requiring physical agility is typically ripe with humiliation, and consequently I tend to perform the bare minimum amount of exercise required to prevent an early death.

I have, on more than one occasion, been described as “completely graceless”. I am the type of person who injures themselves doing the washing up. And just to season this cocktail of uncoordination, about 50%  of my physical self is arse and thighs. In both athletic ability and shape, I am little more than a sentient potato with limbs.

Regardless, up the ladder I went. It was at this point I remembered, with startling clarity, that I have a fairly legitimate fear of heights. Given that I’m seldom required to leave the ground in my everyday life, I tend to forget how truly bad it is until I’m forced to face it. “Sure, I get a little dizzy sometimes,” I tell myself, “but hiking to the edge of an enormous cliff face will be fine!” only to end up sobbing and clinging to a tree.

And so, halfway up the ladder, I came face to face with my fear and my undeniable spudulousness. “I don’t think I can do this!” I said, failing to control the break in my voice. “Yes you can!” replied one of the friendly acrobats, who promptly followed me up the ladder. “I’m right here.”

After gently coaxing me onto the platform, the Flyers directed my eyes to the ocean horizon in an effort to calm me down and patiently taught me how to breathe normally again. And then, I was off.

This is the least terrified photo we had.

This is the least terrified photo we had.

Sure, maybe I didn’t get my legs onto the trapeze. Maybe I didn’t quite achieve a somersault. Maybe on my second attempt I went down like the Hindenburg. Maybe innocent beachgoers mistook my airborne arse for a solar eclipse. But I still got up there three times, and on every crash-landing I was safely cushioned by an enormous net and the encouragement of the Twilight Flyers.

“No, really! You did great! We had two criers on Sunday!” they cheered.

The Flying Trapeze is a great way to get some exercise if you’re the type of person who enjoys toying with the laws of physics. It’s a unique experience with the added benefit of beautiful beach surrounds. And even if you’re more of a penguin than an eagle, you’ll still be met with unconditional support, both literally and emotionally.

Book a class with the Twilight Flyers here.

Sophie Joske

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