Growing up, my favourite family visits were always to my uncle’s house. What made the trips special wasn’t the proximity to England’s Legoland, the constantly updated gadgets, or even the rides we’d sometimes get on the back of his superbike. No, my uncle’s house was the best because of what he had in the back garden: a trampoline.
This was no small, exercise trampoline but a huge family-size one with netting around the outside. It provided, quite literally, hours of fun for my brother and I as we each tried to out-backflip or out-spin each other in displays of typical sibling dominance. Being the younger, chubbier brother, I never won.
But the other day, I got a chance to make up for lost jumping battles. Making my way to Petaling Jaya’s Jump Street Trampoline Park, I had one goal in mind: practice, before inviting my brother back for the jump off to end all jump offs.
Naturally, being a little older now, I got slightly distracted on arrival at the huge warehouse space within the Bosch compound behind Jaya One. Jump Street has been designed as perhaps the perfect family entertainment venue. Downstairs, trampolines line most of the floor space while at one end, a cafe occupies a small mezzanine floor.
Operated by the people behind Singapore’s popular Sarnies outlet, the cafe promises some of the Klang Valley’s best coffee alongside sandwiches and selected other snacks. With just a limited menu on offer during my visit (now in full operation, the cafe serves food and hot and cold drinks), I opted to test the coffee claims.
The flat white, enjoyed with a view of nervy jumpers taking their first steps onto the large jumping areas, let me contemplate what was to come. As a fan of trampolining, Jump Street is basically my childhood dream come true, and though I’ve perhaps lost a little of my younger enthusiasm and energy, this warehouse is teeming with potential. Sip after sip of coffee has me visualising new ways to traverse the park.
‘Backflip into the foam pit,’ I think. ‘Three-sixty slam dunk in the basketball area; huge jump into the big air bag,’ I let myself drift off. ‘Then a full loop of the main court.’ The possibilities here are really quite exciting. I finish my coffee and head down to slip into my jump socks (all jumpers are required to wear the special Jump Street grip socks).
Without a hint of a warm-up (more on that later) or second thoughts about my comparative lack of flexibility, I’m reliving my boyhood visits to my uncle’s house.
Starting at the foam pit, I bounce my way down the trampoline towards the launch point and take off, twisting 180 degrees and landing back-first in a heap among the dense foam cubes. I’m delighted, exhilarated, full of life – but also stuck in the pit, and – thanks to the other affliction that’s struck me with age – blind where my glasses have fallen away to my right.
No matter, I quickly locate them, crawl out of the foam pit with all the grace of a buckled goat, and make my way over to the basketball hoops.
Jump Street has three lanes in its Slam Dunk area, each leading to hoops at different heights. I take one look at highest of the targets and know that my brother would never let me live a failed attempt down.
So, determined, I grab an inflatable ball and start to build up my bounce, edging closer and closer to the rim. Two jumps away, I’m not quite high enough; one jump away and I’m close; the final jump and I give it everything I have, reaching up and grabbing the hoop as I slam the ball down. I’ve done it, now what’s next?
By the end of my hour at Jump Street I feel like I’ve conquered everything. Of course, I’m far from performing the sort of stunts the centre’s jump referees are capable of pulling off but I’m satisfied that I’m ready for the impending Johnston Jump Off.
I’ve flipped into the big air bag, spent far too long (and managed to do my back in) jumping from trampoline to trampoline in the main court, and I’ve even got myself involved in a pick-up dodgeball match with people far too young for me to be throwing things at.
But I’ve had an absolute blast, and I’ll be back again and again.
For more information on Jump Street Trampoline Park, visit the their website.