Born and raised on Australia’s Central Coast, North of Sydney, Buckworth discovered BMX at age 9 on a whim. Hanging out with his cousin on a rainy day, he rented a VHS tape featuring BMX riding – and decided to get a bike for Christmas. After starting out as a racer, he soon found freestyle as his true calling. “I just wanted to be in the air the whole time. I just wanted to hit the jumps and take my feet off. Racing wasn’t my jam.”
As it happened, a new concrete skatepark opened right by Buckworth’s house, and he instantly became a local. Another local kid at the park was Australian BMX prodigy Jaie Toohey – and the two instantly connected. “I think the recipe for greatness in sports is having a rival and someone to push you. Like, he learns a trick, then I gotta learn a trick! We were pushing each other all through those early years,” said Buckworth about the relationship with Toohey, whom he calls “one of the best BMX riders ever to live.”
The two young amateurs learned backflip aerials in a training foam pit at Toohey’s house. Unleashing the trick at an amateur competition got Buckworth noticed and set him on a trajectory to pursue BMX with a full focus. In 2007, he visited the United States for the first time to spend the summer at Woodward East Skate and BMX camp. After progressing rapidly, Buckworth was awarded a full scholarship to attend next summer by the founder of Camp Woodward, Gary Ream. “That changed my life!”
What followed was one of the most groundbreaking careers in BMX. After mastering moves like the double backflip, Buckworth made his X Games debut in 2010 in the Big Air discipline. Remembering the 70-feet long Mega Ramp jump, he said: “I had never gone this fast on my bike before. I actually did a flip, because doing a flip over a great distance is easier than going straight on a bike.”
Walking away with X Games bronze that year, Buckworth caught the attention of Travis Pastrana. The freestyle motocross icon was putting together a global stadium tour of action sports, the Nitro Circus, and was impressed by Buckworth’s consistency. “Being able to do a double front flip continuously is what solidified my spot on the tour. For the first four years, I was just doing that trick multiple times a night. Every show around the world!” said Buckworth, who joined Nitro Circus on day one for its debut show in 2010.
Speaking candidly on the UNLEASHED episode, Buckworth also revealed the high cost of tricks gone awry, especially during front flip aerials. “The margin for landing is so small. If you go over the handlebars, you’re super likely to separate shoulders, break bones, smash your teeth in etcetera.”
Over the years, the BMX innovator has seen his fair share of injuries. As fate would have it, he would often find himself sidelined or recovering right around X Games time. So, while he was racking up trophies from the world’s premier BMX competitions, the biggest showcase in action sports eluded him. “X Games was kind of my kryptonite. I would do well at all the other events, then come to X Games and just die!” Buckworth’s luck changed last summer when he clinched his first gold medal at X Games 2021. “It was just the best feeling. Like, twenty years of work narrowed down to that one moment!” said Buckworth.
Since then, the Aussie ripper has been busy dropping viral videos that get millions of hits, if you’re not following him on Insta you’re doing it wrong. He recently built a new ramp in his backyard made of wood from a Justin Bieber concert. And taking things to new heights, Buckworth just unveiled a brand-new turndown-to-no-hander double backflip aerial to win Best Trick at the 2022 Monster Energy Triple challenge contest.
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