Skateboarding back flip vaults Alburnett teen into viral video fame
Miller has 'always been a risk-taker,' mother says
Adam Miller can fly.
He doesn't wear wings or a cape, but there's no more apt way to describe what the skateboarder's body does as he hurls it through space.
"The feeling of doing a back flip is almost as natural as jumping in the air," said the 18-year-old Alburnett resident.
Miller does a trick in which he skates down a ramp, his board hits another board, he back flips over six stairs before fluidly landing on another skateboard and gliding away.
Until recently, Miller's feats were largely confined to Riverside Skate Park. Then Tony Hawk came calling.
The skateboarding legend turned entrepreneur was one of the many people to whom Miller sent footage of his skills. In January 2012, Hawk launched a skate-centric YouTube channel called RIDE and Miller was asked to film the trick for it.
“I was shocked," he said. "It was amazing."
He headed to San Diego in early February and shot the video, which debuted on YouTube Feb. 8. Since then it has earned more than 2.4 million views, over 3,000 up votes on Reddit and even landed Miller an interview on "Good Morning America" because the clip was the show's Play of the Day.
"It’s been a little overwhelming and exciting, very exciting," said Amy Miller, Adam's mother. "It is and continues to be a wild ride."
Hawk praised Miller and the trick multiple times, calling it "unique" and thanking the Alburnett High School student for the clip, which the professional skateboarder told TMZ was "a great boost for our YouTube channel."
It's a full-circle moment for Miller, who credited Hawk's video games, accompanied by some peer influence, with spurring his interest in the sport over six years ago.
"I thought it was such a cool thing that you could get a board off the ground with just your feet," Miller said. "I was always trying to ollie (a trick where the skateboarder and the board leave the ground but the person's feet remain on the board) and then I started moving on to new tricks."
While learning to skate, Miller was also doing gymnastics and soon began to marry the two, incorporating back flips into his tricks.
Amy said her son has always been a risk taker.
"I would find videos on Facebook of him way up high in trees or he’d be flipping around off someone’s roof," she continued. "He’s always been into stuff like that. That’s why I stuck him into gymnastics, so he could learn to do it safely."
Four years ago Miller was impressed by a video of William Spencer, another one of his favorite skateboarders, doing a front flip down a flight of stairs and landing on his board.
Last year he decided to try his own version of the stunt, with a back flip, and eventually nailed it for Hawk and all of the Internet to see.
"I’m just amazed by how much response it’s gotten and how many people love it," Miller said.