Flippin' brilliant fun at Flip Out
The boy takes a deep breath. His friends are watching. Can he pull off the perfect somersault?
As he bounces to gain height, he has time to think. There’s a fine line between becoming king amongst his peers or the laughing stock.
Eventually, he can’t delay any longer. The final bounce is the highest before he goes into his somersault.
His friend’s eyes are fixed on him all the way until he crashes into the foam pit, grinning because he knows he’s nailed it.
Flip Out Portsmouth in Southampton Road has only been open just over a year, but it’s a highly popular venue. It’s not just a child’s paradise, but somewhere that adults can also relive their youth and get in workouts that are less strenuous on joints than running or cycling.
Flip Out is the UK’s largest trampoline park operator, with 14 franchises across the country and a new business set to open in Chichester in the new year.
There are 88 trampolines at the Portsmouth unit, which includes wall running, a basketball zone, swing bags and a foam pit that people are able to plunge into after completing their jumps.
Duty manager Lauren Allen has been in her role for six months and admits that she has loved every minute of it.
Lauren says: ‘It’s a trampoline park that is suitable for everyone and anyone, as soon as you walk.
‘You get adults, children, parents jump with their kids - it’s just doing exercise that is fun.’
She adds: ‘Taking the job was something completely different and a breath of fresh air.’
Lauren, 25, from Southsea, was a personal trainer before.
‘I’m used to being stuck in the gym all day and now I’m in a lively environment to work in.
‘You never know what you’re going to come into.’
A popular new year resolution for many people is to get themselves fit and active.
Gym memberships rocket at the beginning of the year, but a lot of people give up after a few weeks as they don’t enjoy the atmosphere.
But Flip Out offers an alternative to going to a gym.
The adult classes are a full body workout that burns calories.
Lauren says: ‘It’s amazing for cardio. You’re burning calories from just bouncing and it also gets your heart rate going.
‘Trampolining also increases endorphins, which enhances your mood. It’s much more fun than going on a treadmill.
‘We find people come here because so many of them are sick of going to the gym. The classes aren’t like going to a spinning class where you get shouted at for an hour. You can just bounce and even that gets your heart rate up.
‘It is also a lot softer on joints as trampolines take up to 80 per cent of your body weight.’
More than 2,000 people visit Flip Out each week and some will have been inspired the success of our gymnasts during the Rio Olympics.
Max Whitlock won gold in the men’s floor exercise and pommel horse and Louis Smith took silver in the pommel horse.
Lauren says: ‘We get so many children coming up to our marshals asking them if they can teach them how to do tricks and flips. Our Ninja classes help them learn those things.
‘The marshals interact and play games with them, giving them sweets for doing a good trick.
‘That can make a six-year-old’s day and put a smile on their face.’
Flip Out also runs birthday parties, which get booked up well in advance, and people travel from a wide area to burn off energy.
Lauren adds: ‘The amount of people that travel to come here is crazy.
‘A lot of parents, especially through the half-term, say they bring their children to stop them sitting in their bedrooms.
‘They also come after school to stop them staying in watching TV, especially when it is cold and dark.
‘Nothing like this was open when I was younger, but I would have loved it.
‘We get groups of teenagers and have after-dark sessions on a Friday and Saturday.
‘Parents drop their teenagers off and know they will be safe instead of them going to sit in a park or something.
‘Saturday and Sundays, we are booked up with parties. We are also looking to put something out there for younger ones in the future.’
After having a go, I can confirm it’s lots of fun. My inner child emerged and, although I was a long way off being the next Max Whitlock, my heart was racing by the time I came off the equipment.
It was a highly enjoyable experience, one I would certainly repeat.
So if you want to get in shape or just let off steam, jump to it!
Christelle Yazdanpanah surprised her daughter Florence, five, as well as son Vinnie, 11 months, with a trip from West Wittering to burn off some Christmas energy at Flip Out.
Florence had so much fun that Christelle booked her daughter in for an extra hour of trampolining.
Christelle says: ‘This is the ideal place to come when it’s raining and cold outside as you can’t go to the beach. It’s great as you know the children can’t hurt themselves.’
She adds: ‘The safety is brilliant. Although there are lots of children around, they’re not all on the same things at the same time and they don’t have to queue.’
Sharon Noble, who took her son Charlie and his friend Mollie Feltham, both nine (pictured), says: ‘ It wears the children out here and gives us a bit of a break. I think it is great value for money.
‘If you are stuck and it’s raining outside, you can bring the children down here and they can jump on the trampolines.
Molly says: ‘It is really good to practice skills here.
‘You can do front flips, hand stands and other things.
Charlie says: ‘It is fun and a really good way of getting rid of energy.’
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Address: Unit 4, Harbour Gate business park, Southampton Road, Portsmouth, PO6 4BQ
Opening hours: Monday 11am–8pm (8pm-9pm Flip Fit – not open to public)
Tuesday 11am–8pm (8pm-9pm Flip Fit – not open to public)
Wednesday 11am–8pm (Adult Intro 8pm-9pm coming soon)
Thursday 11am–8pm (Flip Fit – not open to public)
Saturday 10am–9pm (9am-10am Little Ninjas 6-10 years – not open to public)
Prices: £10 per hour, £5 for each hour afterwards
Classes - Flip Fit for over-16s - Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 8pm-9pm, £7.50 per session
Little Ninjas for 6-10 year-olds - Saturdays 9am-10am, £7.50 per session
Mini-flippers (unlimited use) - Monday-Friday 11am-3pm, £10