Life is one giant roller coaster for Lowestoft man
06:30 03 January 2012
As the old saying goes life is full of ups and downs.
And for David Ellis his life can certainly be said to be a roller coaster of emotions – thanks to 867 different types of ups and downs.
For, as these photographs show, Mr Ellis has a love of the high life as he travels around the globe to ride roller coasters.
Since discovering a love of roller coasters at the age of 10 Mr Ellis, 45, from Lowestoft has been on 867 different hair-raising rides and on the way has become a worldwide internet sensation.
This year has seen an amazing three million views of a video Mr Ellis filmed zooming down an alpine coaster in Austria.
For one week in November the footage was the most watched page on the Youtube website globally, sharing his breakneck journey down a mountain.
The claim to internet fame is another feather in the cap of the Waveney District Council chief accountant.
In August 2010 he joined another 101 roller-coaster enthusiasts in Essex in setting the Guinness World Record for the most naked people on an amusement park ride.
And by 2013 Mr Ellis hopes to reach a personal target of going on his 1,000th different roller coaster by arranging a provisional trip to visit the attractions in China.
If he reaches the target he may want to send a postcard from China to the town of Blackpool, which sparked his love of roller coasters.
Shortly after riding his first attraction, the roller coaster at Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach, he went on his first “grown-up” roller coasters when he was 10 at Blackpool Pleasure Beach while on a family holiday.
He still vividly recalls his first ride, which sparked his love of roller coasters and has seen him go to America, Canada, Japan, South Korea and Europe to enjoy his hobby.
Mr Ellis, of Beaconsfield Road and who has enjoyed going on the Enigma ride at Lowestoft’s Pleasurewood Hills theme park, said: “I was really nervous. But I loved it once it got going. It was just a real thrill, a real buzz and I still get that today.”
In the 1990s Mr Ellis accelerated his love of roller coasters by joining the Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain and then the European Coaster Club, which both have more than 1,000 members and organise various trips to theme parks around the world to ride their best roller coasters.
Since then he has travelled the world, reaching speeds of 128mph on the 456ft-high Kingda Ka roller coaster in New Jersey and coping with accelerating from 0 to 107mph in 1.8 seconds on Dodonpa, a Japanese roller coaster. In 1999 and 2000 he bared all on a Welsh roller coaster by going naked on it and has since set and beaten twice the world record for the most people without any clothes on a roller coaster, most recently by joining 101 other riders on the Green Scream at Adventure Island in Essex.
Then, in perhaps his greatest accomplishment, he went on the Sommerrodelbahn Alpine roller coaster in Mieders, Austria, and filmed himself zooming down a mountain at speeds of up to 27mph on a scary four-minute journey without using a handheld brake.
This year the footage went viral on Youtube and now has more than 3.6 million hits as people log on in their droves to view the remarkable footage.
Describing becoming an internet sensation, Mr Ellis said: “It took my by total surprise. It has all been a bit surreal to be honest – I am a bit gobsmacked about the whole thing.”
Mr Ellis also shares his hobby with his wife of nine years Susan, who has been on 788 different roller coasters. They even got married on a roller-coaster club trip,
Summing up his love affair with roller coasters, he said: “It has been a real blast. There is a great social aspect to it as I have made many friends as well.”
To view the Youtube footage of Mr Ellis on the Austrian ride visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqCkICXWdWI or visit www.edp24.co.uk/news or www. lowestoftjournal24.co.uk and click on the story about Mr Ellis.