Introducing Parkour: As Josh Hill demonstrated for us in Hamilton, it’s a physically demanding, non-competitive sport that involves running, jumping and climbing at speed to negotiate walls, railings and steps. *Photo by James Whittaker
Introducing Parkour: As Josh Hill demonstrated for us in Hamilton, it’s a physically demanding, non-competitive sport that involves running, jumping and climbing at speed to negotiate walls, railings and steps. *Photo by James Whittaker
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FRIDAY, JULY 15: Rubber-necked bystanders do double takes as Josh Hill leaps Spiderman-like over a low wall.

He lands in a compact crouch on a thin strip of metal railing, pauses for a second and then takes off again, bouncing over another wall and away.

Leaping across pathways, vaulting railings, climbing walls with astonishing speed, Hill moves with the light-footedness of a Kung Fu master.

If you saw him streak past, you might think he was a stunt man being pursued by the cops in a movie chase sequence.

But he’s just playing. This is Parkour — an extreme sport which takes the concept of a children’s adventure playground to an urban environment.

Rock climbing instructor Hill has all the skills — balance, flexibility and a taste for adrenaline.

As he propels himself from the upper-storey of the Bacardi two-level car park it’s clear that all those qualities are required.

There are risks involved. Get a stunt like that wrong and he’d be out of action for a little while, at least.

Hill, who is trying to set up a Parkour association in Bermuda, insists that proportionately more people get injured cycling or playing soccer. He says the sport is an extension of the skills kids learn on adventure playgrounds.

“You learn all these skills as a kid — running, jumping, climbing — and then you stop.

“What if you carried on? You would develop these kind of skills. They seem unusual because not many people do it.

“Basically it is all about using your body to get from point ‘a’ to point ‘b’ as quickly as possible.”

At first Hill, who got a taste for the sport as a student in Toronto, was out on his own — turning Bull’s Head car park and other favourite spots into his personal playground.

Gradually, as Internet videos and movies about Parkour became more common, it started to take-off in Bermuda. Now there’s a handful of locals involved.

Hill also trains with a young man referred to him by a friend, who is a psychologist.

He said he thought the activity could be a good, fun outlet for young people whose adventurous personalities sometimes lead them into trouble.

“I hadn’t really reached out to people until now because I figured it was just me doing it. I found through rock climbing that more and more young people were getting into it and I’m working on setting up an association.

“I’m starting up a website to get information out to people and see where it goes.”