<
>

BMX visionary Dane Searls dead at 23

Australian dirt jumper Dane Searls has passed away following injuries sustained earlier in the week from a balcony jump. Unit Clothing

Giants of Dirt creator and BMX dirt jump inspiration Dane Searls died Friday morning at Gold Coast Hospital in Australia, according to a statement from the Queensland Police. He was 23.

Searls succumbed to injuries sustained after he tried to jump into a swimming pool at Surfers Paradise night club Billy's Beach House on Sunday night in Queensland, Australia. He suffered traumatic head and back injuries, and had remained in a coma since the accident.

"The man was taken to the intensive care unit of the Gold Coast Hospital after the incident, however he died this morning," Queensland police said in a statement, adding that a report would be forwarded to the coroner.

Searls, a BMX dirt jumping visionary that created the Giants of Dirt project and hoped to push his dream of large scale dirt jumping contests and events into the mainstream, was mourned by the BMX community via Twitter.

"Such a shame you had to leave us so early. You'll forever be missed. Your second home just got a little dimmer too. Love you brother," said BMX dirt legend and television personality T.J. Lavin.

Together with Searls' sponsor Unit Clothing, Searls spearheaded the Giants of Dirt project in August of 2010. The idea behind the project was to construct "the world's biggest dirt jumps." Constructed west of Brisbane, Australia, the Giants of Dirt dirt jumps consisted of four jumps in a row that measured 32-feet (first jump), 35-feet (second jump), 50-feet (third jump) and 60-feet (fourth jump.)

The idea, untested on a BMX bike at the time, allowed Searls to experiment with a new brand of BMX big air dirt jumping, and the videos that surfaced from Searls' Giants of Dirt riding sessions quickly went viral in the BMX world.

"I think this will help BMX dirt in a big way. Maybe we will get more contests in Australia and big dirt jump contests around the world," said Searls in an interview with ESPN earlier this year.

Due to flooding along the Gold Coast in Australia last year, Searls was unable to complete the Giants of Dirt project. But last week, he returned to the project and reportedly made it through the entire set of dirt jumps.

Paul Everest, director of Unit clothing which sponsored the popular rider, said Searls had successfully completed the series of four jumps and had set a world record. "He has pushed the sport to a whole new level," Everest said earlier this week.

"Not many of us get to live our dreams and see them become reality. Dane got to do this before we lost him," added Everest via the Unit Clothing Facebook page.