The island of Santorini is one of the most famous tourism destinations in the world, welcoming more than two million tourists every year. Some travelers just want to enjoy the unique scenery, including its volcanic caldera, but others, such as the twins from Australia, come to practice Parkour, or “Free-running,” in its many narrow alleys, jumping from building to building.
It is unsure exactly when this video was taken in Santorini, since judging by the twin’s Instagram accounts, they are not in Greece at the moment.
The “Parkour Twins” From Australia
The twins, from Queensland, Australia, have been involved in the sport of Parkour for years. Dylan and Brodie Pawson first came to fame in their home country by joining “Australian Ninja Warrior,” a sports entertainment competition which premiered on television in July of 2017.
For those not in the know, Parkour is a sport which requires excellent physical fitness as well as other skills — including an almost preternatural amount of balance.
The Australian brothers have their own YouTube channel, with half a million subscribers, where they they share their Parkour exploits.
Parkour in Santorini
The morphology of Santorini’s unique terrain, including terraces, rooftops, domes, and swimming pools, against the background of its unparalleled scenery, made the Greek island an ideal destination for all Parkour athletes. So much so that, among all its other attributes, the idyllic Greek island is now also known as a “Parkour Paradise.”
A “Red Bull Art of Motion” Parkour contest in Santorini has taken place in what practitioners call a completely “free running” environment, requiring no extra construction of ramps, etc.
Each athlete has only 90 seconds to complete their run through a specifically-designated area, or “track,” which is the same for all participants.
The track is spread out over an area of 683 square meters (1,530,475 square feet) in the caldera of Oia. The elevation in the course can vary up to 16 meters (48 feet).
Santorini’s Parkour track is situated right on its caldera, just where thousands of tourists, even in mid-October, enjoy views of Oia’s iconic mill against the setting sun.
Free-runners are known to complete jumps of almost 7 meters (27 feet) along their courses there.
Many of the free runners who take part in this contest have practiced Parkour on their own, using the roofs of traditional houses in the villages of Oia and Fira, for years.
Parkour, or “The Art of Fleeing,” as practitioners describe it, is a non-competitive physical and spiritual art which involves quick movement from one place to another, using only the human body. It is the number one sport viewed YouTube, with more than 20 million uploads.
In the Parkour environment, everything is seen as an obstacle, whether natural or artificial, including rocks, rivers, branches, terraces, walls and railings. The sport was first developed in Lisses, a suburb of Paris, by David Belle in the 1980s. The sport’s moves were originally is inspired by Belle’s Vietnamese father, Raymond.
As those who love it describe it, the sport can be compared to the movement of animals or even the movement of water.
Every free-runner is trained to move freely in the environment, be it urban or natural, and to be able to express themselves through interaction with the various elements in space.
Beginning in Vienna in 2007, the “Red Bull Art of Motion” competition has evolved into the world’s premier Free-running and Parkour event. After being held in the nations Austria, Sweden, the US, Great Britain, Japan, Brazil and Switzerland, it arrived on Santorini in 2011, where it remained for several years.
In 2010, Parkour athlete Ryan Doyle, the founder of the World Free-running and Parkour Federation, found himself filming on Santorini. His famous words at that time were, “I could imagine this place becoming the island of Parkour.”
The first “Red Bull Art of Motion” event on Santorini was launched just one year after that, in 2011, and the Greek island instantly became the number-one destination for Parkour athletes across the globe, for seven years.
However, this event did not take place in 2018, in order for the organizers to reconfigure and improve the course used in the contest.
The event will take place in Italy on the 5th of October this year, but the organizers hope to return again soon to the idyllic isle of Santorini.