Bob Haro, the godfather of BMX freestyle
Godfather of freestyle
Dubbed the Godfather of Freestyle BMX, Bob Haro is legendary in BMX circles for creating the discipline of freestyle. After he discovered BMX racing in the '70s, Haro was among the first innovators to learn tricks on his BMX bike. He was also one of the first BMX riders to attempt riding skateparks on a bike and later went on to found Haro Bikes. Here, Haro airs a skatepark for the cover of a book he released in 1982, "Bob Haro's Freestyle Moves." The book was yet another example of Haro's pioneering approach to the sport he created.
"In the beginning, a skatepark was a skatepark for skaters, not for BMXers, so we got a bit of resistance. After a while we were just a novelty," Haro said. "A lot of the tricks were very skate-inspired kick turns, fakies and aerials." That carried over into quarterpipe airs, which Haro mastered early on.
Ring of fire
Haro and R.L. Osborn formed the BMX Action Trick Team and performed freestyle demos throughout the U.S., essentially giving young BMX racers their first glimpse of freestyle riding. Here, Haro bunnyhops through a ring of fire before most BMX riders knew how to bunnyhop anything.
For the earlier tours, Haro hired a promotional agent to expand his opportunities. The result was three months on the road, national spots on TV and radio, and a new generation of riders infatuated with a growing sport.
Some might call this a modern-day "fufanu," but in Haro's day, before tricks were realized, there were no names. Haro's early name for this trick was "the hanger." "It never had a million names tacked on," Haro said.
"I can tell you that as a kid, I didn't get a lot of support for riding a BMX bike," Haro said. "In the '70s, riding a BMX bike at age 17, everybody looked at you pretty weird." That did not stop Haro from inventing the modern-day nosepick to fakie on a kick-turn ramp.
"I was drawing for BMX Weekly and I was really stoked. Then BMX Action came out and I said, 'I'd like to draw for these guys,'" Haro said. "So I sent my stuff to BMXA and I got a letter from [the magazine's founder] Bob Osborn. That kinda started things." These days Haro's iconic artwork is as recognizable as his early riding photos.
Filming for 'E.T.'
In 1981, a random call from Hollywood landed Bob Haro a spot doing the BMX stunt scenes in Steven Spielberg's "E.T. The Extra Terrestrial." It gave the growing sport of BMX racing and freestyle new exposure across the world.
San Diego demo, 1982
Haro performs a demo in San Diego in 1982. These days, the average rider can't air a quarterpipe as high as Haro did more than 40 years ago.
"My plan for Ikonix is to create a contemporary and modern BMX brand with a fresh perspective and innovative products," Haro said of his newest project. "Ikonix won't be a throwback brand that lives in the past. As a contemporary designer, I strive to evolve creatively and will bring this evolution to Ikonix."
"As Ikonix grows, my goal is to have elite riders on the team both in freestyle and later in BMX racing," Haro said. "Ikonix will be a high-end boutique brand that will offer framesets, handlebars, components and related BMX accessories but no complete bikes other than the limited-edition FS1."