03/11/1985 at 01:00 AM EST
Back in those carefree days of the early '60s, when pogo sticks were as common as hula hoops had been a few years earlier, things were really hopping. Then came the Dark Ages of the pogo sticks, and they stood unused, springs slowly rusting, in dusty garages. More so than in most businesses, pogo sticks have had their ups and downs, but now, thanks to improved technology, they have bounced back. With high-grade molded plastic and heavy-duty frames, the new models are selling for as much as $100. To promote their product, a new company called Trileen Inc. put together a traveling, five-man exhibition pogo-stick team (below), which has been performing breathtaking straddle jumps and mid-air revolutions in parking lots and shopping malls across California. "We're just a bunch of ham athletes," says Rob Banis, 24, captain of the team and a gymnastic coach. Last summer he broke the Guinness world record by bouncing 125,102 times in 17 hours and 26 minutes on his space-age stick. Says Banis with a wince, "I couldn't walk for two days afterward." Can the new, improved hula hoop be very far behind?