Paul Basagoitia, or Paul “Bas” as he’s more widely known, is no stranger to surpassing expectations and overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds. Born and raised in Minden, Nevada, Basagoitia was riding bikes – without training wheels – from the age of two. By the time he turned seven, he was winning BMX contests.
In 2004 when Basagoitia was still in his teens, he tagged along with friend and fellow Reno-area native, professional mountain biker Cam Zink, who was heading to one of the world’s premier mountain biking competitions, Crankworx held annually in Whistler, BC. Once there, he decided to not let the fact that he didn’t even have a mountain bike hold him back, and he entered the mountain bike slopestyle contest. On a bike borrowed from Zink, Basagoitia pulled off a stunning run that ended with a perfect backflip onto a massive step-up to win the event. “The reason I won was because I translated the tricks and discipline I’d learned in BMX into mountain biking. I was the only person doing these tricks at the time and it’s the reason I won. I was ahead of the game,” Basagoitia explained.
He returned to Crankworx the next year to prove that his win wasn’t a fluke; repeating his slopestyle win and cementing his place at the top of mountain biking. As he reached his twenties, he began looking for ways to progress his sport becoming the first person to complete a 720 on a mountain bike and landing the first double backflip on natural terrain in front of a global audience at the 2012 Red Bull Rampage event in Utah.
It was only a short three years later back at Red Bull Rampage, where Basagoitia came in as one of the favorites to win, that his life changed forever. A slight mistake saw him off his line and tumbling down the rock face. He suffered a burst-fracture of his 12th vertebrae and partially severed his spinal cord.
Starting from the first days in the hospital, where he found out that he was paralyzed, Basagoitia turned his camera onto himself and began to capture his tremendous recovery experience. These personal video clips share his struggles and triumphs, as he moves from the hospital to rehab and eventually home. Nine months into his recovery, Red Bull Media House with director Fernando Villena began working with Basagoitia to tell his story in a way that could raise awareness and help others who have suffered spinal cord injuries.
As we see in the documentary Any One of Us, Basagoitia’s drive and determination push him to set big goals and overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. When asked if he has any regrets, Basagoitia is quick to answer: “No regrets! I have a sour taste from my last crash, that one big mistake still haunts me. But to look back at everything before that moment it was worth it. I competed at a very high level for 12 years, I travelled the world, met cool people and lived out a childhood dream.” With his fiancée, Nichole Munk by his side, he is amazingly back on his bike, and sharing his inspiring story.