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features

Bound for success

Jak Phillips pays a visit to Oxygen Freejumping in west London and explores whether it can help jumpstart the UK’s fledgling trampoline park market

By Jak Phillips | Published in Health Club Management 2015 issue 9
Stalker and Turok have a wealth 
of health and fitness experience
Stalker and Turok have a wealth of health and fitness experience
NASA research found that 10 minutes of bouncing on a trampoline is a better cardiovascular workout than 33 minutes of running

xygen Freejumping, a new venture helmed by ex-ukactive chair David Stalker and LA Fitness founder Fred Turok, has sprung open the doors of London’s first trampoline park in West Acton.

The debut site for the operation was officially opened in July by the mayor of Ealing Harbhajan Kaur Dheer, film star and freerunning legend Sébastien Foucan, and Team GB gymnasts Jenna Barrett and William Cowen.

The offering
A veritable treasure chest for fans of flips and tumbles, Oxygen Freejumping in Acton features a phalanx of springs, soft landings and fun fillers.

There are 150 connected trampolines on the main floor, along with dodgeball courts, a giant airbag, ‘walk the wall trampolines’, basketball hoops and tumble tracks. The West Acton site spans 27,000sq ft; forthcoming parks are due to measure 20,000–40,000sq ft.

Adults taking their kids along can watch from the sanctuary of the on-site café, while those eager to grab a slice of the action can take part in a fitness class. Dubbed O-Fit, the soon-to-launch £10 rebounder classes will be held in both the on-site exercise studio and in the wider park. Having trumpeted NASA research which found that 10 minutes of bouncing on a trampoline is a better cardiovascular workout than 33 minutes of running, Oxygen’s hour-long classes will presumably not be for the faint-hearted.

First and foremost though, Oxygen Freejumping is focused on fun. Operating under the tagline ‘The air is better up here’ and fronted by a whimsical mascot called ‘Little O’, the park’s emphasis is firmly on having a good time.

“I challenge you all to jump on a trampoline and not smile,” said Stalker at the opening party. “We look forward to hosting your parties, teaching you to jump, helping you to get fit, learning together how to freerun – but most of all making sure you have a fantastic time.”

The team
The brainchild of founders Stalker and Turok, Oxygen Freejumping has amassed a top team of staff and investors to help realise the dream of a national trampolining empire.

As was the case during their time together at ukactive, Stalker is CEO of the business while Turok is chair. Meanwhile, former ukactive public affairs director Stephen Wilson is also on board as Oxygen’s strategy director.

The trampoline concept proved popular with investors from its early stages, with more than £2.5m raised during the venture’s fundraising phase with support from Jacaranda Capital Partners and Radius Equity.

It was then announced in May that Former Places for People Leisure CEO Steve Philpott had become the latest leisure industry heavyweight to back Oxygen, joining as an investor and non-executive director. The arrival of Philpott, who boasts extensive experience across the leisure industry as both an investor and operator, was hailed by Stalker as a major triumph.

“Steve’s many years as a senior player in all kinds of areas of leisure makes him a fantastic sounding board on both strategy and day-to-day operations,” Stalker told Health Club Management.

The Foucan factor
The company is no doubt built on solid foundations with its carefully-amassed team of industry veterans, but it was the partnership with a freerunning pioneer and French film star which brought an extra element of excitement to Stalker and Turok’s offering.

Sébastien Foucan, the man who is credited as one of the founders of freerunning, will oversee a series of academies that will give children and adults the opportunity to experience the sport ‘Foucan-style’.

A dedicated 3,000sq ft (279sq m) Foucan obstacle course will feature at every Oxygen trampoline park, which the Frenchman believes will herald the start of a “fantastic journey”.

“I’m very excited to be collaborating with Oxygen Freejumping to create a new experience of freerunning,” said Foucan, who famously showcased his high-octane skills in the opening sequence to the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale – remember the guy jumping on the cranes?

“What I’m passionate about is developing an environment where people can play with freedom – because for me, activity is vitality.”

Oxygen Freejumping - our VERDICT

The first thing you have to say about Oxygen Freejumping is that it’s a hell of a lot of fun. And that, of course, is precisely the point.


The enjoyment factor means you work up a sweat without even realising, and this is where Stalker and Turok pick up where they left off at ukactive: finding simple ways to get people moving more. At a time when English schoolchildren are less fit than ever before, it’s refreshing to see an exciting new activity arise which doesn’t require joysticks and a computer screen.

Sticking to your physical activity roots is one thing, but finding a viable business model to nurture them is quite another – and from a business perspective, Oxygen Freejumping is phenomenally marketable. Offering everything from children’s parties to workout classes, gymnastics academies to freerunning or even dodgeball, there’s literally something for all ages and demographics, so we can expect those trampoline coils to rarely stop springing.

Like barre classes and boutique studios, trampoline parks are another active leisure concept to trickle into our market from the US, where nearly 400 sites have sprung up in the past decade. Expect many more to open across the UK in the next 18 months as operators rush to tap the sector’s latent potential. Stalker is aiming to open six more sites over the next 12 months and says there are already a further 15 in the planning pipeline.

One area where trampoline parks have come under scrutiny in the US is over safety, after several deaths and injuries hit the headlines. In this instance, UK operators appear to have learned from their American cousins’ mistakes, with parks like Oxygen implementing rigorous staff training programmes, reinforced from a legal perspective by several disclaimers that guests must sign before entering the arena.

There are six more openings planned for the next year
There are six more openings planned for the next year
Oxygen Freejumping in Acton is already drawing the crowds
Oxygen Freejumping in Acton is already drawing the crowds
Oxygen Freejumping in Acton is already drawing the crowds
Oxygen Freejumping in Acton is already drawing the crowds
Oxygen Freejumping in Acton is already drawing the crowds
Oxygen Freejumping in Acton is already drawing the crowds
Oxygen Freejumping in Acton is already drawing the crowds
Oxygen Freejumping in Acton is already drawing the crowds
Foucan is seen as a freerunning founder
Foucan is seen as a freerunning founder
Foucan is seen as a freerunning founder
Foucan is seen as a freerunning founder
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/567370_526685.jpg
Trampolining is a better CV workout than running, says NASA – we visit Oxygen Freejumping to see what it's all about
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features

Bound for success

Jak Phillips pays a visit to Oxygen Freejumping in west London and explores whether it can help jumpstart the UK’s fledgling trampoline park market

By Jak Phillips | Published in Health Club Management 2015 issue 9
Stalker and Turok have a wealth 
of health and fitness experience
Stalker and Turok have a wealth of health and fitness experience
NASA research found that 10 minutes of bouncing on a trampoline is a better cardiovascular workout than 33 minutes of running

xygen Freejumping, a new venture helmed by ex-ukactive chair David Stalker and LA Fitness founder Fred Turok, has sprung open the doors of London’s first trampoline park in West Acton.

The debut site for the operation was officially opened in July by the mayor of Ealing Harbhajan Kaur Dheer, film star and freerunning legend Sébastien Foucan, and Team GB gymnasts Jenna Barrett and William Cowen.

The offering
A veritable treasure chest for fans of flips and tumbles, Oxygen Freejumping in Acton features a phalanx of springs, soft landings and fun fillers.

There are 150 connected trampolines on the main floor, along with dodgeball courts, a giant airbag, ‘walk the wall trampolines’, basketball hoops and tumble tracks. The West Acton site spans 27,000sq ft; forthcoming parks are due to measure 20,000–40,000sq ft.

Adults taking their kids along can watch from the sanctuary of the on-site café, while those eager to grab a slice of the action can take part in a fitness class. Dubbed O-Fit, the soon-to-launch £10 rebounder classes will be held in both the on-site exercise studio and in the wider park. Having trumpeted NASA research which found that 10 minutes of bouncing on a trampoline is a better cardiovascular workout than 33 minutes of running, Oxygen’s hour-long classes will presumably not be for the faint-hearted.

First and foremost though, Oxygen Freejumping is focused on fun. Operating under the tagline ‘The air is better up here’ and fronted by a whimsical mascot called ‘Little O’, the park’s emphasis is firmly on having a good time.

“I challenge you all to jump on a trampoline and not smile,” said Stalker at the opening party. “We look forward to hosting your parties, teaching you to jump, helping you to get fit, learning together how to freerun – but most of all making sure you have a fantastic time.”

The team
The brainchild of founders Stalker and Turok, Oxygen Freejumping has amassed a top team of staff and investors to help realise the dream of a national trampolining empire.

As was the case during their time together at ukactive, Stalker is CEO of the business while Turok is chair. Meanwhile, former ukactive public affairs director Stephen Wilson is also on board as Oxygen’s strategy director.

The trampoline concept proved popular with investors from its early stages, with more than £2.5m raised during the venture’s fundraising phase with support from Jacaranda Capital Partners and Radius Equity.

It was then announced in May that Former Places for People Leisure CEO Steve Philpott had become the latest leisure industry heavyweight to back Oxygen, joining as an investor and non-executive director. The arrival of Philpott, who boasts extensive experience across the leisure industry as both an investor and operator, was hailed by Stalker as a major triumph.

“Steve’s many years as a senior player in all kinds of areas of leisure makes him a fantastic sounding board on both strategy and day-to-day operations,” Stalker told Health Club Management.

The Foucan factor
The company is no doubt built on solid foundations with its carefully-amassed team of industry veterans, but it was the partnership with a freerunning pioneer and French film star which brought an extra element of excitement to Stalker and Turok’s offering.

Sébastien Foucan, the man who is credited as one of the founders of freerunning, will oversee a series of academies that will give children and adults the opportunity to experience the sport ‘Foucan-style’.

A dedicated 3,000sq ft (279sq m) Foucan obstacle course will feature at every Oxygen trampoline park, which the Frenchman believes will herald the start of a “fantastic journey”.

“I’m very excited to be collaborating with Oxygen Freejumping to create a new experience of freerunning,” said Foucan, who famously showcased his high-octane skills in the opening sequence to the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale – remember the guy jumping on the cranes?

“What I’m passionate about is developing an environment where people can play with freedom – because for me, activity is vitality.”

Oxygen Freejumping - our VERDICT

The first thing you have to say about Oxygen Freejumping is that it’s a hell of a lot of fun. And that, of course, is precisely the point.


The enjoyment factor means you work up a sweat without even realising, and this is where Stalker and Turok pick up where they left off at ukactive: finding simple ways to get people moving more. At a time when English schoolchildren are less fit than ever before, it’s refreshing to see an exciting new activity arise which doesn’t require joysticks and a computer screen.

Sticking to your physical activity roots is one thing, but finding a viable business model to nurture them is quite another – and from a business perspective, Oxygen Freejumping is phenomenally marketable. Offering everything from children’s parties to workout classes, gymnastics academies to freerunning or even dodgeball, there’s literally something for all ages and demographics, so we can expect those trampoline coils to rarely stop springing.

Like barre classes and boutique studios, trampoline parks are another active leisure concept to trickle into our market from the US, where nearly 400 sites have sprung up in the past decade. Expect many more to open across the UK in the next 18 months as operators rush to tap the sector’s latent potential. Stalker is aiming to open six more sites over the next 12 months and says there are already a further 15 in the planning pipeline.

One area where trampoline parks have come under scrutiny in the US is over safety, after several deaths and injuries hit the headlines. In this instance, UK operators appear to have learned from their American cousins’ mistakes, with parks like Oxygen implementing rigorous staff training programmes, reinforced from a legal perspective by several disclaimers that guests must sign before entering the arena.

There are six more openings planned for the next year
There are six more openings planned for the next year
Oxygen Freejumping in Acton is already drawing the crowds
Oxygen Freejumping in Acton is already drawing the crowds
Oxygen Freejumping in Acton is already drawing the crowds
Oxygen Freejumping in Acton is already drawing the crowds
Oxygen Freejumping in Acton is already drawing the crowds
Oxygen Freejumping in Acton is already drawing the crowds
Oxygen Freejumping in Acton is already drawing the crowds
Oxygen Freejumping in Acton is already drawing the crowds
Foucan is seen as a freerunning founder
Foucan is seen as a freerunning founder
Foucan is seen as a freerunning founder
Foucan is seen as a freerunning founder
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/567370_526685.jpg
Trampolining is a better CV workout than running, says NASA – we visit Oxygen Freejumping to see what it's all about
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Featured supplier news
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It’s just months away until active-net 2020, the two-day educational, networking and business meetings event, which attracts professionals from across the leisure sector.
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Harlands Group Overview
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An overview of the Harlands Group, the membership management experts. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Legend Club Management Systems (UK) Ltd
Legend provides the leading software solution for driving improvements in leisure operations. We deliver savings ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Incorpore Ltd
Incorpore is a leading fitness and wellness company who have been successfully delivering solutions to ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Fitness equipment
Miha Bodytec GmbH: Fitness equipment
Locking solutions
Ojmar: Locking solutions
Audio visual
Hutchison Technologies: Audio visual
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Professional services
Deloitte UK: Professional services
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Exercise equipment
Star Trac / Core Health & Fitness: Exercise equipment
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Fitness software
Go Do.Fitness: Fitness software
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Debit Finance Collections: Direct debit solutions
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Diary dates
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tbc, Fort Lauderdale, United States
Diary dates
21-23 Jan 2020
Harrogate Convention Centre, Harrogate, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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Diary dates
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Diary dates
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Diary dates
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Diary dates
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Diary dates
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Diary dates
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Diary dates
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