Nik Wallenda, Guinness World Record holder and member of the famed “Flying Wallendas” family daredevil troop, is America’s premier high wire talent. Stunt walking since age 4, Nik lived almost his entire life balancing above the limits of human comfort, never relying on a safety net for security.
He even proposed to his wife, Erendina, while 30-feet in the air. This June, he’ll set out to cross Niagara Falls – a stunt that’s not been allowed for over 100 years. Nik and his family are the definition of daredevil and are all true Adrenalists.
In celebration of this awe-inspiring athlete, we’ve brought you the best of the best of Wallenda’s top maneuvers. Break out some popcorn for these stunts, because they’ll be the most entertaining clips you’ll watch all day.
From walking across amusement parks with roller coasters in the background to riding a bicycle along a wire, Nik isn’t short on the death-defying tricks. Let us know which gets your blood pumping hardest.
Editor’s Note: On June 15, 2012, Nik Wallenda completed his high wire traverse across Niagara Falls in just over 25 minutes. As for his next major stunt, he plans to become the first tightrope walker to cross the Grand Canyon.
VALLEYFAIR AMUSEMENT PARK
While on his 2009 “Walk Across America” tour, Nik took to Minnesota-based amusement park Valleyfair for a harrowing jaunt across the park’s canopy. The camera tracking Nik’s progress was mounted to his balance pole which makes for a pretty incredible visual.
Our only advice: Don’t eat before watching. This video details the amazing skill and concentration required to walk a high wire. To the untrained eye, Nik is walking a tight rope, a dangerous feat in itself.
In reality, however, he is taking wind speed into account, tuning out noises and distractions and placing his feet in the exact, necessary spot to keep up a steady pace. Nik’s concentration is not something to mess with, as only a true Adrenalist can pick and choose what to block out.
There’s even a roller coaster cruising around behind him. Nik, however, remains unaffected, and before we know it, he’s at the end of the wire. Unscathed and hungry for more, Nik sets out on his next adventure, always looking for the next big stunt.
How many times have you been on a Ferris wheel? A couple times, at least, right? How many times have you thought about falling out of the car right when you reached the ride’s peak?
Maybe not as often, but the thought goes through everyone’s mind at some point. Kudos to Nik Wallenda, then, for not only conquering this fear of ours, but taking it to the next level. Nik isn’t afraid of falling out of the car, and he certainly isn’t afraid of walking alongside of it either.
Apparently, we don’t have much in common with our pal, Nik, because that’s exactly what he did while visiting the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, in April of 2011.
Forget walking a stationary wire, Nik wanted to up the difficulty and stakes, so he stood on top of the boardwalk’s Ferris wheel, had them turn that bad boy on and walked the rim, taking breaks to give people high fives. Courageous and well mannered? That’s our Nik.
LIFE ON A WIRE
On June 4 of last year, Nik Wallenda bravely embarked on the same high wire walk that killed his grandfather, Karl Wallenda, the founder of The Flying Wallendas. Karl Wallenda attempted this act back in 1978 and lost his life in the process.
In honor of his grandfather, Nik joined his mother, Delilah, in crossing Puerto Rico’s Condado Hotel on a wire 37 meters above the pavement with a roaring crowd below. The storied achievement aired as part of a segment on Discovery Channel’s 2011 Wallenda family profile, “Life on a Wire.”
One of the cameras filming the act was strapped to Nik’s balance pole again, to capture the stunt up close and personal.
Nik manages to step over his mother and continue on while Deliah stands up and heads in the opposite direction. The precision and concentration required for such a feat is extraordinary, but Nik and his mother make it look like a cakewalk.
LONGEST BIKE RIDE ON HIGH WIRE
This, ladies and gents, is what it takes to get into the Guinness Book of World Records. Well, this or growing your finger nails really long. Watch as Nik snags the record for longest bicycle ride on a high wire as he cruises over New Jersey’s Prudential Center.
Believe it or not, but he’s teetering 13 and a half stories above ground. After watching, consider how much of a wimp you are for riding your bike on the sidewalk instead of the street.
We’ve already gone over how Nik needs to tune out the distractions and noises as he walks, not to mention take the wind into account, but can you imagine how much the importance of those skills increase when he’s riding a bicycle across a wire?
Nik is determined to do some of the most insane stunts to ever be done on a tight rope, and he just keeps delivering. The next stunt on this list is going to have to be pretty outrageous to top this one, wouldn’t you say?
KURASHIKI TIVOLI PARK
For Nik and the rest of The Flying Wallendas, risk taking is an inevitability, a genetically predetermined fate. Watch in awe as he and seven of his family members perform their famous human pyramid routine at Japan’s Kurashiki Tivoli Park, where they set a 2001 Guinness World Record for an eight-person pyramid on a high wire.
The stunts and records just keep coming for Nik and his family. It all started with a few tight rope stunts here and there, but now Nik and The Flying Wallendas are breaking records and dropping jaws.
It isn’t often that we find an entire family of Adrenalists, but Nik and the Wallendas have proven time and time again that they are determined to develop their skills and break records until there is nothing left for them to conquer. Until next time, Nik. We hope to see you doing your thing again real soon.