Backyard Adventures

Post-Christmas blahs have set in. Children are lolling about the house, and I got a couple of nice checks for Christmas. Time for a jump start.

Steve Wymore is manager of Backyard Adventures in San Marcos (760-432-8260; additional location in Old Town, 619-497-1898). “We carry the AlleyOop trampoline,” he said. “It comes with a lifetime warranty for the frame, five years on the surrounding netting, and five years for the bed, or jumping surface. I constantly have people coming in who have purchased trampolines at Walmart [$398 with enclosure] or Sports Authority [$299 with enclosure], and then found they have to replace them after two years. Most warranties on these $300 trampolines are one year on the frame and 90 days on everything else. You pay more for the best, but this is something that you will have for years.”

Backyard Adventures offers a single-bed trampoline ($1099 with enclosure) and a double bed ($1699), both 14 feet in diameter. “The double bed offers a more cushioned landing,” said Wymore. “It’s like there’s an air shock between the two beds. But both have variable bounce, which means that half the springs go into effect just a split-second after the first half. That prevents the hard rebound that you get with most trampolines, and that rebound is what can lead to strains and sprains. Still, if adults or people with bad backs or knees are going to use it, I recommend the double bed, just because of the cushioned landing. Kids seem to like the single bed better — it has a little more spring to it.” (Wymore knows about the kids’ preferences because they get to test out the trampolines at the San Marcos showroom.)

Another safety bonus: “The protective enclosure netting on both of these trampolines is tied in on the inside, where the netting connects to the pad. Most other trampolines have netting that ties in on the outside, and that will let you bounce two or three feet off the trampoline, which can be an issue. Further, the entrance is through an overlap in the net — none of this zipper stuff. That way, you don’t have to worry about a kid falling through the opening if it gets left unzipped.”

Wymore offers setup and delivery for between $350 and $375 for the double bed. “We can put it anywhere, as long as the ground is relatively flat. I don’t recommend setting them into the ground — moisture in the hole can cause rust problems. The only reason for sinking a trampoline into the ground is to prevent fall-off problems, but the netting prevents that now. Oh, and I suggest getting the ladder that hooks into the frame [$59.95].”

Next I spoke with Susan Wilson, co-owner of Bounce California in Poway (858-592-1439;, a gym that specializes in gymnastics, trampoline, and cheering. “We use semiprofessional trampolines with a rectangular bed [7'x14']. That gives you a larger surface than a lot of home-use, round trampolines. Also, home-use trampolines have to be able to last outdoors, so they’re made from polypropylene. Ours have a web-weave, so that air can pass through the holes — it gives you a higher jump. Some of our physically stronger kids can jump to the point where the head is 20 feet up in the air.”

Wilson offered some basic safety advice. “The biggest thing we stress, here and for the home, is that there is only one person ever allowed on the trampoline at a time. Most injuries occur not from flips but from a bigger kid landing on a smaller kid. Second, there always needs to be a parent present because kids do the darnedest things. Third — and we teach this here — is how to stop safely when you’re getting out of control. We teach kids to do what is called a break-fall. It’s a deep-knee bend; it looks similar to a weightlifter’s squat. And we teach them to stay in the center of the trampoline.”

Bounce California offers ten levels of trampoline classes. “Level one is just learning to jump, then adding variations such as a half- or full twist. As the routines progress, the kids learn quarter-rotations — learning to jump forward onto their hands and knees or learning to jump backwards on their backs. Later on, we progress to the somersault, which is a full rotation in the air, either forward or backward. We don’t let the kids flip right away — they need some time to gain aerial awareness.”

Costs run $146 for eight weeks. “That gets you one one-hour class per week. We do small-group instruction — a maximum of eight students per teacher. Classes run Monday through Thursday, starting at 3:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., and 5:30 p.m. And we also host birthday parties.”

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