One wheel is better than two for Mike Padial, who picked up unicycling five years ago and has not looked back.
The former Nelson College student is headed to the world champs in Italy next week.
He is the best unicyclist in New Zealand, and treated his former high school to a demonstration of his skills yesterday.
In front of an audience of around 1000 students he jumped on to metre-high boxes and rolled his way across a metal pole suspended in the air.
It was his first solo performance.
The 20-year-old said he was a little bit nervous. "It gets easier once you're up there."
He was not the only nervous one when he jumped over a row of students on stage.
He first jumped over one student lying on his back and worked his way up to four students lying side by side.
He reckons he could clear seven people.
Mr Padial claimed the title of third best unicyclist in the world after competing in the 2010 world champs in Wellington.
He plans to keep going to the event, which is held every two years.
"I want to go to every single one, as many as possible," he said.
He is aiming for a spot in the top three.
After five years on one wheel, the basics of unicycling are easy for Mr Padial.
"I could eat with two hands while riding around," he said.
The real challenge for him is the trials event, where competitors must navigate obstacle courses on their unicycle without touching the ground.
In Italy he will compete in the trials and street events, long jump and high jump.
Mr Padial works full-time on top of his training, which involves a lot of time at the gym and around two hours on the unicycle each day.
He builds his own obstacles to practise on.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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