Mark Byrnes is a senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design and architecture.
A stunt that makes dudes shooting rifles while drifting seem almost tame.
With long, desert roads and a robust car culture, Saudi Arabia's stunt-loving drivers are well-documented and famously insane. But things like drifting, or "Hagwalah," the more dangerous Saudi version which involves using cars with front instead of back wheel drives, can only keep people busy for so long.
"Sidewall Skiing" is what's hot right now. The stunt involves incredibly good drivers balancing a moving car on one side (usually by driving one pair of wheels up on a ramp) while the passengers get out on the other. Once up on two wheels, the driver keeps the car balanced by steering. Sometimes the human cargo on board change some tires in the process.
If you're having a hard time imagining just how this looks, Reuters photographer Mohamed Al Hwaity recently snapped a few shots of "Sidwall Skiing" in action:
The Guardian has taken note as well, sending a video team to capture sidewall skiiers in action. One of the drivers claims "it's not dangerous," adding that "with the public present and safety measures in place, everything is fine." Yeah, okay:
Skiing has been around as a stunt performed on various TV shows and movies for a long time. But it doesn't normally include passengers hanging out the elevated side of the car.
While we'll never condone such activities, we must admit MIA's music video for "Bad Girls" makes the whole thing a little more seductive. Just not nearly enough to think it's worth trying:
Congrats, Saudi Arabia. You've managed to make the guy sitting on the hood of a moving car, a fleet of drifters chasing away a cop, and the dudes shooting rifles out a vehicle while drifting look almost tame.