Background Check: Russ Kaus

Russ Kaus is a powerhouse of a pogoer that emerged in the scene in the late 2000’s, and has been pushing the sport ever since. Russ is well known for his “Go Big” attitude and riding style, and has recently landed one of the biggest tricks in the history of pogo at Pogopalooza 2020: the Double Stickflip. Check out our interview with Russ below, and make sure to watch Russ’s edit he put together of the history of the Stickflip, located at the bottom of the article!

AllPogo: What year did you start pogoing, and how old were you?

Russ: I started bouncing when I was 13 or 14 around 2007, but I just learned how to bounce. I tried 180 barspin and twisted my ankle so I assumed it was impossible. I knew nothing of Xpogo or any other riders.

AllPogo: How did you discover the sport?

Russ: I saw a news thing on CNN of Brian Spencer cruising around LA on a Vurtego. I thought it was the coolest thing ever and since I just learned how to bounce it was perfect timing. After that I found Pogo Buffet ’08 and that blew my head apart. Those two things really got the fire started for me.

AllPogo: Who were some of your influences when you started, as well as some of your favorite videos?

Russ: Dalton was a bit younger than me but we both started at the same time and together we had the most intense progression. He would get some crazy tricks and post them so I naturally had to land them as soon as possible. He’s the GOAT. He has always been so fun to pogo with and always pushes me. I liked Fred and Nick McClintock’s style. The pogo adventures really got me into the lifestyle and all I wanted to do was travel and pogo. Dan Mahoney was a huge influence on my style. His approach to techy big air tricks got me obsessed with combining multiple tricks into one. He’s just so good it still doesn’t register to me. Everytime I get stuck I usually end up going back to his stuff to get inspiration. Bryan Pognant’s style also made me excited. I can’t do anything he does, but it sure is fun to watch him bounce.

AllPogo: What are some of your current favorite videos/riders and why?

Russ: Konner Kellogg. He gives me an intense feeling of my youthful energy. We were doing instagram live games of P.O.G.O. which would turn into just battling some of the hardest tricks out there for hours. I like Tones grinds. They got me wanting to go to skateparks and try them even though I’ve only successfully grinded once…LMAO Tehe. I liked seeing Nic Patino ride at palooza this year. He has the best style. Watching him cruise around the course is like watching an artist paint abstractly. 

AllPogo: Ever since you started pogoing, you’ve been known for going big. I remember seeing you at Pogopalooza 2013 in New York and you did a mount to Backflip off of the death plank, and that was astounding to me. Do you have a background in any other sport before you started pogoing, and what else do you think helped you achieve the balls of steel that youre known for having? (Or was it all from pogo?)

Russ: It all stems from a pro skater named Lizard King. I was obsessed with him and his skateboard crew called Deathwish when I was in highschool. They were outlaws. They didn’t care about being clean or technical. The only thing that mattered was how big and crazy it was. I kinda tried to model my bouncing after that idea. I like it. Its a good time. After awhile you just get used to it. I try not to let it take over because it’s so much easier to me to flip off a roof once then battle a trick a million times. But I like to sprinkle it in when no ones expecting it. 

AllPogo: You landed a double stickflip this year at pogopalooza 2020, which still blows my mind as well as everyone elses. I remember when stickflips werent even landed yet, and the thought of a double was just out of this world. Talk a bit about what training you had to do to finally land it, including diet and exercise (if applicable) as well as bails or other issues you came across during training.

Russ: I think I’ve tried double stickflip close to 1,000 times in my life. Even back in the day I felt like it wasn’t impossible. Once I got my hands on the TK8 and realized it was like 5-10 pounds lighter I knew I had to do it. It still took hours and hours of tries. McClintock sat outside in the middle of Pittsburgh winter filming all of my tries and helping me analyze them. I tried off the boxes, on turf, into mats, on the TK8 fun, and on the vurtego. Everything was getting so close but I was just missing the energy of palooza. With everyone there watching there was no choice but to put my feet on. Having been in the gym everyday for about 2 years now, I can’t deny having extra strength especially in my arms, core, and back helped a lot. I don’t think you have to be jacked to do the trick, but it definitely helps. Now that I’ve landed it on a TK8, I’ve been trying with a vurtego and am getting to the point where I can land it, so expect that soon! 

AllPogo: What are your future plans for the sport, whether it be riding and/or staying involved?

Russ: I did like 20 or 30 instagram edits last year which was fun but this year I want to put all my energy into 3 mind blowing full length videos. Tools head always has plenty of tools if anyone needs anything. Hopefully we can do shows again soon. I will be all up in those! One day… One day.. I will EARN a gold in Freestyle. Really don’t care when it happens. Could be next year. Could be when I’m 60. It will happen.

A big thank you to Russ for agreeing to be interviewed and taking time to answer our questions and talk about his history with our sport. As always at AllPogo, we hope you learned something new either about pogo or our featured athlete Russ Kaus! Check out the video below to see Russ’s edit he put together called “Progression of the Pogo Stickflip”!