Click image to see the stunt
"Air Tennis" was the name of this stunt in our production planning. It seemed like such an obvious idea after the Backstreet Boys "Larger than Life" video came out with the cool zero-gravity paddle ball scenes. I was totally game to attempt this one, but I figured it would be downright impossible. To make a tennis ball fall straight down with a consistent velocity was the major challenge here. The other skysurfer I wanted to work with was Tanya, who also worked with me in the popular Mountain Dew commercial. Her husband, Craig, was there to shoot video of the stunt as well as "engineer" and test the tennis ball we would be using. Joe Jennings was the other freefall cameraman. Craig was very successful in his tennis ball design, and by spending a couple of days prior to the stunt, he managed to alter the ball enough to make it fall straight down at about 100 MPH (most of the time). This made it much easier for Tanya and I to chase the tennis ball down in freefall while on our skysurf boards. On the actual stunt, Tanya and I were all over the place trying to whack the ball. Our swings were frantic and most of the time we missed. But it was a total blast. We just laughed at each other and tried to make contact with the ball as many times as possible. Whenever we hit it in the wrong direction, Craig would quickly fly over and grab the ball, then throw it back at us. It was pretty sloppy, but in the end it turned out looking pretty cool edited to "Larger than Life." I don't see any great reason to ever play "Air Tennis" again.