Text by Mandi Keighran Photos⁄Dave Mackison
The hillside city of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, is as notable for its brightly coloured houses as for its sunshine - an average of 320 days a year. Clustered tightly together, the buildings’ flat roofs make a perfect destination for street trials (aka urban freestyle biking), as top Scottish pro-rider Danny MacAskill found out while shooting his latest short film, Cascadia.
In it, MacAskill shows off his skills in an epic point-of-view journey across the capital, shot on a GoPro. “I’d been wanting to do a rooftop video for a while,” he says. “I wanted to give viewers a taste of adrenaline and fear.” Before shooting, his team spent five days knocking on doors, asking to see rooftops for potential locations, and plotting the downhill course. “At first, people thought we were joking or a bit mad, but we had a fixer with the gift of the gab,” he says.
The film took 10 days to shoot – a dangerous undertaking given the locations had drops of up to 30m. While some stunts took over 50 takes to get right, the finale – a vertigo-inducing backflip from a 20m-high scaffold into the ocean – was so risky it could only be attempted once.
“I wanted a banger to finish the video,” says MacAskill. He got more than he’d bargained for when it took 25 minutes to get him and his bike out of the water, owing to the strong ocean currents, but says it was worth it: “It’s got great shock value.”
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