Directed by Jeff Tremaine
Produced by Johnny Knoxville and Spike Jonze

Mat Hoffman is one of the pioneers of BMX. His motivation is neither money nor fame; it's the purity of the sport.

Qualified May 28 8pm ET
The Good, The Bad, and The Hungry July 2 9pm ET
30 for 30 on ESPN+

Upcoming Schedule

About The Birth of Big Air

Film Summary

In 1985, at the tender age of 13, Mat Hoffman entered into the BMX circuit as an amateur, and by 16 he had risen to the professional level. Throughout his storied career, Hoffman has ignored conventional limitations, instead, focusing his efforts on the purity of the sport and the pursuit of "what's next." His motivations stem purely from his own ambitions, and even without endorsements, cameras, fame and fans, Hoffman would still be working to push the boundaries of gravity. Academy Award nominee Spike Jonze and extreme sport fanatic Johnny Knoxville, along with director Jeff Tremaine, will showcase the inner workings and exploits of the man who gave birth to "Big Air."

Director's Take

Mat is awesome as sh-t, so we decided to make a movie about him.

--Spike Jonze, Jeff Tremaine, Johnny Knoxville

I grew up riding BMX. I stole wood to build ramps. I got chased by security guards from the mall. Spike Jonze and I were outcasts; we rode bikes and skateboards and listened to punk rock. We got our first jobs together at the premier BMX shop on the East Coast, and later we ventured across the country to Los Angeles. Our dreams led us to start our careers at the leading BMX publication in the 1980s. Eventually, we were able to repay that debt of inspiration and share what's great about action sports with the masses through our work at Dickhouse.

I first crossed paths with Mat Hoffman when BMX was a small sport. Even at age 16, Mat was the best rider anyone had ever seen. I watched him take punishing slams and get back up time and again. He was a gladiator whose spirit couldn't be broken. He is one of those guys who found his purpose in life early on. The irony about Mat is he does what he was born to do, and it could kill him.

In the early 1990s, the sport of BMX was at an all-time low. Mat was organizing events, building his own bikes and redefining riding. In his quest to go higher he built the tallest ramp ever constructed. He cleared the 20-foot aerial mark, set a world record and lost his spleen in the process. The birth of Big Air stands as one of the crowing achievements in all of action sports.

What's Everyone Saying?

Directed by Jeff Tremaine

Jeff Tremaine was born a poor military brat and was hustled from state to state until finally settling in the area of Rockville, Maryland. There he defied his parents on a regular basis and got into all sorts of ne'er-do-well activities such as skateboarding, BMX, reggae music and art. Perhaps most key is that in high school Tremaine met Adam Spiegel, a hyperactive little pipsqueak that puberty had somehow skipped over. In 1985, Jeff was booted from the parental nest and landed in St. Louis where he attended Washington University.

Tremaine headed out west to join back up with his childhood friend Adam, now known as Spike. Tremaine slid into the layout jockey position on "Go", the result of a collision between Freestylin' and BMX Action. Tremaine briefly waffled over to a snowboard magazine in 1992 before being hired on as the art/editorial director for Big Brother, a fledgling skateboard rag that had gotten off on the altogether wrong foot with its first issue. In time, however, his leadership took Big Brother to new and exciting levels of distribution, notoriety, and an all-encompassing sense of stupidity not normally tolerated in any industry.

It's no big secret what happened past this point in the life of Jeffrey Tremaine. In addition to helming the "Jackass" franchise, Tremaine has served as executive producer and co-creator of "Wildboyz," executive producer and co-creator on "Rob and Big," and has directed music videos for Turbonegro, Andrew WK, and The Sahara Hot Nights.

Watch interview with Christie

Directed by:

Jeff Tremaine

Executive Producers:

Mat Hoffman
Mark Lewman
Keith Clinkscales
John Dahl
Joan Lynch
Connor Schell
Bill Simmons
John Skipper
John Walsh


Jeff Tremaine
Johnny Knoxville
Spike Jonze
Priya Swaminathan
Mitch Wright

Associate Producer:

Deirdre Fenton


Seth Casriel


Buy the "30 for 30 Fifth Anniversary" box set. Available exclusively at Groupon ».