Mike Porra: The daredevil behind Nitro Circus
JORDAN BAKER THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
MAY 10, 2014
MIKE PORRA is a daredevil. Not in the same way as his employees — he has never jumped without a parachute, for example, or sailed across a 20m gap while dangling off a backflipping motorbike.
Porra is a financial risk-taker, betting the family fortune on a deadly sports circus that costs about $1 million per venue to stage, and involves 16 trucks of gear, 125 staff and an insurance bill that is terrifying.
His mantra is similar to that of the motocross daredevils who risk their life at every show: “You don’t get to play unless you take a risk.”
Porra, a Coogee native, is the chief executive of global phenomenon Nitro Circus, a troupe of action men and women who perform wild stunts on dirt bikes, motor bikes, skateboards and even shopping trolleys.
Nitro Circus promoter Mike Porra at home at Warriewood. Source: News Corp Australia
If you have never heard of Nitro Circus, you don’t have a teenage or 20-something man in your life. For that generation, says Porra, 54, extreme sports are more popular than cricket.
Why, you may ask?
“It’s scary,” says Porra. “The guys are jumping 75 foot (23m) gaps, 50 feet (15m) in the air, doing backflips, hanging off the back of the bike, landing on a metal lander. The consequences are catastrophic. And you can sit 20 feet (6m) away with a beer.”
In other words; someone might die right in front of you at any moment.
Porra is the most fascinating Australian entrepreneur you’ve never heard of.
He started his adult life as a surfer and surf lifesaver, but he could not suppress that entrepreneurial spirit, so started the Iron Man series.