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Archive for September, 2014

Flyboarding Set to be the Next Big Sport

Posted on: September 29th, 2014 by Pulse

Ever want to swim like a dolphin? Now people can experience the water like a dolphin in a way that they never have before with flyboarding. A video on YouTube with over thirteen million views vividly demonstrates how fun flyboarding can be. It looks like water skiing, except amped up, and people are flying through the air, diving into the water, and swimming through it with the speed and grace of a dolphin, before being shot in the air again. For people who enjoy activities in the water, particularly physical ones, this appears to be the next big sport.

What Is Flyboarding?

physical strength to flyboard

When someone is flyboarding it’s the equivalent of being attached to a water jet pack. The water jet pack is attached to a personal water craft, and then the person in the water is attached to the flyboard and the personal water craft by a long hose. With the boat supplying the propulsion, the jet nozzles provide the pressure to push a person straight into the air and then to dive into the water.

Previously, people who enjoyed the water have engaged in such activities as tubing, where they are dragged through the water on an inner tube. Or they had water skied, which involved a person being dragged on a boat standing on water skis, and holding on to a rope attached to the boat. Those activities have been going on for many many years. But flyboarding is the latest major innovation in water sports, and is set to make a major impact. A recently new invention, it was created by Franky Zapata in 2011 and was presented to the public in 2012. Shortly afterwards the YouTube video was posted, that makes flyboarding look unbelievably fun and amazing. People have responded and since then flyboarding has continued to grow in popularity.

Flyboarding Requires Coordination And Training

But as fun as flyboarding as looks, people can’t just start flyboarding without any previous training. In fact people who want to flyboard have to undergo a training session and sign a liability release, so that they can’t sue the flyboard creators if an accident were to occur.

As amazing as flyboarding looks on the video, reportedly it doesn’t take much physical strength to flyboard, but rather proper instruction and physical coordination. So although one must be eighteen years or older to flyboard, physical size and strength shouldn’t be a major factor for who can enjoy flyboarding. There is also no limit on how much someone weighs to flyboard, making it an activity that can be enjoyed by a wide range of people. Typically rented out, it can also be purchased by people who want to engage in the activity on a regular basis.

Since being introduced to the public by Franky Zapata, flyboarding has steadily increased in popularity. Besides the United States, it has also become popular in the UK and is rented out for:

  • Corporate parties
  • Family vacations
  • Birthday parties
  • College parties

The appeal of becoming a living aquaman has proven to capture the imagination of many. And besides the recreational aspect, the first flyboarding competitions have also been held. The first one was held in Doha, Qatar as well as the second one. This appears to be an annual event, and as the popularity of flyboarding continues to grow more competitions will probably be held in the future. People who have tried flyboarding for the first time, says it takes a couple attempts to relax, but once one does then the first time being shot six feet in the air is exhilarating and exciting. And with wetsuits, people can experience flyboarding throughout the year. It’s already being hailed as the future of water sports.

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Fox V4 Helmet Lives Up to the Hype

Posted on: September 25th, 2014 by Pulse

Motor Cross

People who take part in motocross racing are participating in a strenuous and potentially dangerous competition. And that’s why having a strong, well-designed, and effective helmet is crucial to have when motocross racing. Motocross is a race where motorcycles are ridden on off-roads and done so in all types of demanding terrain and in various types of weather. Motocross was first developed in the United Kingdom and has since grown in popularity and is now practiced in the United States also. Motocross competitions are held internationally and there are variations on the type of competitions there are such as:

  • Freestyle
  • SuperMoto
  • Supercross
  • Sidecarcross

All of these types of competitions need top quality helmets to make sure the competitors are as safe as possible. And recently the Fox V4 helmet has been released to rave reviews. Before it was released a great deal of buzz and anticipation had been built around the Fox V4 Helmet’s imminent release.

Exceeding Expectations

The Fox V4 helmet is one of those rare releases that exceeds the expectations of the waiting consumer. The latest evolution of the V3 helmet, this helmet has been in the works for many years. Reportedly it’s the result of many meticulous years of fine-tuning and testing on various motocross drivers such as Ryan Dungey. Due to the dangerous nature of the motocross competitions, it was imperative that this new release by as safe as possible. Reviewers of the helmet have commented on how it has been an improvement on virtually every aspect of the older version of the helmet.

Benefits Of The Fox V4 Helmet

The Fox V4 helmet has been reported to be exceedingly more comfortable and closer fit than the V3 helmet, as well as having better ventilation. The ventilation is a key improvement, because motocross racers are always riding in long motos and become sweaty. Ventilation will help keep the racer focused and less distracted. Riders will be able to breath better wearing the V4 helmet with the increased amount of ventilation it provides. The helmet, despite all of its protection, is also surprisingly lightweight and is built with a carbon composite shell composition. The carbon composite of the helmet also helps the rider absorb any blows to the head as a result of racing. This must be a welcome innovation from motor racers, who have to carry the helmet on their head during long rides.

The general high quality of the craftsmanship has also been lauded by reviewers, who also appreciate the quality of the artistically crafted design. The visor is extremely well-made, built with a combination of mesh and carbon fiber and is well integrated into the helmet. The EPS liner also enhances the comfort of the helmet, which makes the layer against the head more comfortable to the rider. Besides this, the helmet comes in four sizes, so that no matter what size a person’s head is, one will be able to find a V4 helmet that fits well.

Already a who’s who of motocross racers are using the Fox V4 helmet, such as Ryan Dungey, Chad Reed, and Jeff Emig. Besides the impressive visual design of the helmet, it’s great that the efficacy and safety of these helmets continue to innovate on a regular basis. Serious head injuries in motocross and similar sports has to be one of the greatest worries that these riders face, and with the Fox V4 helmet they now have a piece of equipment that will help them stay safer and more comfortable during long, uncomfortable races. Because it’s an international sport, riders from all across the world will benefit from the latest Fox helmet, and the sport appears to be still growing in popularity.

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New Harness for Cameras Created for Man’s Best Friend

Posted on: September 23rd, 2014 by Pulse

With the seemingly endless YouTube videos of people’s dogs being posted, pet owners are searching for new and inventive ways to film their beloved canines. Social media is becoming more and more about video with popular sites like Vine and Instagram recently rolling out a video feature. So now more than ever pet owners want to capture every moment with their adorable pooch for themselves and an audience to see. This has led to the innovative idea of strapping a camera onto the actual dog’s themselves, so that the point of view of the dog can be captured fully.

Introducing The GoPro Camera Harness

GoPro Camera

Previously, the idea of a dog being able to take its own videos might’ve seemed like a fanciful notion, but with the rapid progression of technology it’s already a reality. GoPro has come up with the innovative idea of utilizing a harness so that two cameras can be strapped to a dog, one on it’s shoulders, and one between its two front legs so that both shots can be taken. The harness is adjustable so that it can fit a wide variety of dogs like:

  • Bulldogs
  • Labradors
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Bassett Hounds

This way, owners of dogs of all sizes can use the GoPro camera to capture the dog’s best moments. Funny point of view shots can be taken, and the dog can capture angles and moments that would be virtually impossible for the owner to be able to take.

Meeting A Demand

While the development of the GoPro dog camera may be a relatively new development, in fact people have been creating their own DIY camera harnesses for their dogs for a long time. So GoPro recognized the demand for a custom harness, and they were able to create one that is not only comfortable for the dog, but that is very user friendly for the owner.

When the harness gets dirty it can just be thrown in the washing machine, and the harness makes sure the camera is secured to the dog no matter what crazy actions it tries. With this new product, this probably hails the beginning of a wide range of technology targeted towards animals.

Only The Beginning

Even though dogs are man’s best friends they are closely followed by the ubiquitous cat. Smaller and more rental friendly, cats may be almost as popular as dogs, considering how many cat videos are floating around the internet. And they are more uniform in size, which should make creating a harness for them more simple. While GoPro has yet to announce a cat harness, it shouldn’t be surprising if that is the next step towards making cat videos, where the cats are the ones controlling the action. People who love their pets will probably delight in the GoPro harness and will be able to fill up their social media feeds with even more videos of their pets.

And besides the videos, these cameras also allow dog owners an interesting glimpse into their pets’ lives. Whether strapping the cameras on a hiking trip, or on the daily walk, they’ll be able to literally see what their pets see, what they stop to sniff at, and how the world looks from a dog’s vantage point.

Already there are many YouTube videos featuring the GoPro harness. Some people are even taking the GoPro “day in the life” idea even farther, attaching the camera to an oven to see a day in the life of their oven. But beyond that, while it doesn’t seem to have been mentioned yet, the GoPro harness seems like it would have many useful possibilities regarding search and rescue dogs, who can be made even more effective with cameras attached to their bodies.

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Will Utah Outlaw Arch-Swinging?

Posted on: September 18th, 2014 by Pulse

arch swinging

Young people crave excitement and adventure and search for novel ways to experience it. And the feelings of an adrenaline rush are often intertwined with real imminent danger, because it lends an air of unpredictability that heightens the anticipation. Most of the time, the pursuit of excitement doesn’t lead to fatalities, but in a recent case a young man of twenty-two years old, Kyle Stocking, died while taking part in the latest trend dubbed “arch-swinging.” A very popular video on YouTube depicting arch-swinging has garnered nineteen million views, which undoubtedly has helped fuel the popularity of the pastime, and people seeking to try it themselves despite the undertaking being extremely dangerous.

What Is Arch-Swinging?

The YouTube video that features arch-swinging is filmed in Utah, on the Corona Arch, which is located in Moab and features an arch in the desert that is of breathtaking beauty. In fact, Utah can boast of having some of the most beautiful and grandiose natural sights in America with their deserts. However, in this case, people weren’t content to merely view the beauty of the Corona arch, but have undertaken swinging from the extremely tall arch with a DIY rope swing.

While the exhilaration and thrill of doing it has captured people’s imagination, the reality is that arch-swinging on the Corona Arch is extremely dangerous and shouldn’t be attempted by anyone, least of all young inexperienced people who don’t grasp the concept of how truly dangerous swinging from a manmade rope swing is. In the case of Kyle Stocking he overestimated how much rope he should use to build the swing and ended up hurtling straight to the ground, since the rope was too long. While medical help was called immediately, unfortunately Kyle Stocking had already passed and couldn’t be saved. The death of such a young person when it was completely avoidable has raised concerns about the Corona arch and how accessible it is.

Will Arch-Swinging Be Outlawed?

Kyle Stockton’s sad, preventable death and the prevalence of the pastime of arch- swinging has led to the state taking some action to try to prevent another fatality from happening again. The state of Utah has banned touring companies from charging people who want to swing on it, but that seems to be as far as they are able to go. Legally, people cannot be banned from swinging on the arch, just like they can’t be banned from climbing or jumping off a mountain. In essence, while the dangers of arch jumping should be strongly emphasized and warned about, ultimately people need to use their common sense and realize that their lives are worth more than a temporary, fleeting thrill. So while it doesn’t seem like arch swinging will be outlawed anytime soon, if ever, hopefully people will learn that the risks of arch swinging far outweigh any temporary thrills.

Safer Alternatives To Arch-Swinging

Young people, and thrill-seekers in general, should seek out safer alternatives to arch-swinging and there are many. While any type of activity has a chance of an accident, most likely if a mishap were to occur, someone wouldn’t hurtle to their death like in Kyle Stockton’s case. Other activities that people can do are:

  • Riding rollercoasters
  • Skydiving
  • Kayaking
  • Skiing
  • Skateboarding

All of the previously mentioned activities provide an adrenaline rush, and when practiced in a safe and supervised manner, are much safer than arch-swinging.  Young people can visit skate parks, ride rollercoasters with friends, kayak with a group of people, and also go skiing. They can take part in all of these activities as safer alternatives to arch-swinging. Kyle Stockton’s death shows how easily something can go wrong when attempting such a dangerous feat in a completely unregulated environment.

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Snocross Racer Builds Bionic Knee

Posted on: September 16th, 2014 by Pulse

snocross racer

A rising star and a serious injury

Mike Schultz calls himself Monster Mike, and was one of the rising stars in snocross, a wintery variation on motocross racing that uses a snowmobile on snow and ice.  After earning the World Power Sport’s Association Most Improve Pro for the 2006-2007 year, he won first place in a major race in Iceland, and competed in 6 Winter X-Games between 2002 and 2008.

Mike’s story might have simply stopped there, with him continuing to excel in the snocross field, and fulfill his dream of being on the biggest racers in the world. However, in December 2008, while taking part in a race in Michigan, he was thrown off his sled, and suffered a very severe compound fracture of his left knee, requiring amputation of his leg, an injury most people would have considered tragic and career ending.

Finding a way to get back on the snowmobile

However, Mike’s love of his active lifestyle was too strong to let his injury force him to get rid of his dirt bikes and snowmobiles.  He explored existing lines of prosthetic limbs, and found that, while they might have been ok for people who just want to be able to walk and perform simple tasks, they wouldn’t survive the rigors of doing what he loved.  Using engineering knowledge gained from repairing trains in Minnesota, insurance money from his injury, and some help from his sponsor FOX racing, Mike developed the Moto Knee.

The Moto Knee is a simple to manufacture prosthetic knee with the range of motion and tension that makes it possible to engage in intense physical activity. The Moto Knee has a series of compressed air springs, working like a shock absorber to be very adaptive to different levels of resistance.  While traditional prosthetics can’t bend past 90 degress, the Moto Knee can bent 135 degrees, allowing for a much fuller range of motion.

This extended range is necessary when allowing him to pop back up after having to squat to support his weight on a high jump.  With a prototype Moto Knee, it only took 7 months for Mike to get back into racing, winning the silver medal in adaptive motocross at the 2009 X Games, and the gold as at Snowcross at the winter games.  A lot of people who had suffered an injury like Mike’s may have been told they would never be able to engage their passion for extreme sports ever again, but Mike’s ingenuity offered a hopeful way to be able to move freely again, and reimagine what is possible for disabled athletes.

Expanding the Moto Knee to others

It didn’t take too long for other people to become very interested in the exciting possibilities of the Moto Knee, and so in 2010, Mike Schultz launched Biodapt, a company that manufactures Moto Knees to anyone wishing to have a bionic knee that can come closer to withstanding the rigors of an active life.  One very exciting feature of the Moto Knee is its customizable features. It’s different parts can be adjusted to meet the unique needs and passions, allowing snowboarders, horseback riders, water-skiers, and people wanting to engage in many other types of physical activity to adjust.

Aside from extreme sports enthusiasts, another group that has found Mike’s Moto Knee very helpful have been veterans. Wayne Waldon, who lost his right leg in to a bomb blast in Iraq, was even inspired to get into snowboarding because the Moto Knee made it possible.  Mike Shultz, in addition to continuing to be a great racer, is now also an award winning inventor, and has sold over 100 prosthetics uniquely tailored to a active lifestyle.  That represents more then 100 people who have received an expanded sense of hope in what is possible for them.

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Top 5 Places to Zip Line in the World

Posted on: September 11th, 2014 by Pulse

zip lineA zip line is a series of pulleys and cables mounted on an incline, allowing you to travel from the top the bottom, often very high up into the air.  It is one of the most thrilling ways to safely approximate the experience of flying.  It is both deeply excitement, and, with properly trained operators, can be safe and easy for anyone to use. Thus, it should come as no surprise that there are a lot of possibilities when it comes to zip lines, they exist all over the world, and many try to outdo each other promising more adventure or beauty.   Here are five of the most noteworthy zip lines, to whet your appetite and see the numerous exciting possibilities.

1) The Fastest –Zip 2000 Line, Sun City, South Africa

The most noticeable thing about this zip line is the extreme speeds you can get up to.   You are placed in a unique “superman” harness you lie horizontally, feeling the wind as you go 2 kilometers reaching speeds of up to 100 miles an hour.  Speed builds up so rapidly as 2 meter ground suddenly gives way to almost 100 meters, creating a very action packed minute of flying.   It has operated since 2004 from a resort 2 miles outside of Johannesburg.

2)    The longest run – Icy Strait Point Zip Rider in Hoonah, Alaska


At almost 6,000 feet long, this zip rider is the longest in the world, with six separate cables each a mile long.  The adventure begins with a 6-mile drive up a mountain, showing spectacular views even before you harness up and drop down.  You then accelerate down a steep 1,300 foot vertical drop, as you see the Icy Strait Beach get larger.   The Icy Straight Zip Rider has operated on Chichagof Island since 2007. 

3)    The Spookiest – Screaming Eagle Tours, Banning, Georgia


This is a large complex of six different lines spread out over 10 miles throughout the Banning Mills Park in North Georgia.  There are multiple zip lines at five different grades of intensity. Level one is appropriate for any children above age 8, and level five will hurl you down a series of tunnels, shooting you out 20 stories high in the air. The massive adrenaline rush is compounded by the park’s setting of a ghost town, of buildings abandoned since the 19th century that will take you back in time, more exciting then any haunted house.

4)    The Most Likely to Freak Out a Bird – The Canopy at Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica


This zip line is in a thrilling setting of a protected rainforest, 10,500 hectares of deeply rich nature, sheltering a breathtaking diversity of wildlife within a thick forest canopy.  This sky trek offers breathtaking views of the rainforest’s canopy, allowing you to view the forest from a wide variety of vantage points.  You can take 9 cable systems, the longest of which is 2,525 feet.  There are several observational points, where you can stop to enjoy the view.

5) The Wettest – Dragon’s Breath Zip Line, Labadee, Haiti

At 2,600 feet, Dragon’s Breath is the word’s longest zip-line over water, this starts out at Labadee Beach, and puts you up 500 feet in the air above crashing waves. You reach up to 60 miles an hour, going down to a secret beach cove, watching waves hit the shore.  Dragon’s Breath is a rocky cove, named for the sound of the ocean hitting the rocks, and this zip line is the best way to get thrilling views of these beautiful beaches, with 55 seconds of feeling the wind as you glide to the water.

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Base Jumping Reaching New Heights

Posted on: September 9th, 2014 by Pulse

…Or should that be ‘Falling to new depths’?  For people driven to experience an adrenaline rush coming face to face with nature in all its gritty glory, sometimes the old way of doing things isn’t going to cut it, and we need to create new, innovative variations on a theme.  For example, snowboarding evolved out of skateboarding, surfing, and skiing.)  Likewise, base jumping exists for people who find jumping out of an airplane not quite daring enough. Base jumping involves using a parachute to leap off both natural and man-made objects. It presents few action-packed seconds that may be the closest a mere mortal will ever get to what Buzz Lightyear called “falling with style.”

Actually it’s B.A.S.E. Jumping

base jumping


The first person insane or awesome enough (take your pick) to attempt a base jump was Carl Boenish, who in 1978 successfully landed from El Capitan, a massive rock outcropping in Yosemite National Park. He and fellow base jumping pioneers created a system of different things they could jump off, with a goal of completing each type of jump. The name came from B.A.S.E. – an acronym for each jumpable surface from which the jumper will leap.


Antenna towers

Spans (bridges)

               Earth (natural formations like cliffs, canyons, and gorges)

As one might imagine, this sometimes involves some sneaking around and illegal trespassing, but base jumping events are beginning to find some official sponsorship, and there are a few places where base jumping is encouraged.  The Kjerag mountain in Lysefjorden, Norway is one such spot.

Signs of emerging popularity

What was once almost an exclusively illegal and underground activity is beginning to get more mainstream attention and official sponsorship.   One of the largest base jumping event is Bridge Day, where as many as 800 people have 6 hours to jump off West Virginia’s New River Gorge Bridge as many times as they can.

Everyone who makes all four jumps can get assigned a base number, with Base #1 going to Phil Smith in 1981. Currently, there are around 1,800 people with official base numbers, and this doesn’t account for the hundreds of enthusiasts either trying, or not seeking recognition through official channels.

Wingsuits, a full body jumpsuit that gives the body more lift and allows for more floating away, has increased the possibilities for what a jumper can do once he or she is in the air. 2012 saw the creation of the first professional team, the World Windsuit League, that uses windsuits to do “base racing,” in which jumpers raced between two points in China.

How to base jump, and what you need

Be aware that base jumping is among the most dangerous recreational activities in the world. A 2007 study of a base jumping site in Norway found that every 1 in 2,317 jumps ended in death.  Thus, it should not be attempted until you have already had a great deal of experience with skydiving. Generally, base jumping with an experienced mentor only takes places after 100 regular skydiving jumps.

Since you will be leaping from shorter distances, there’s a lot less time to deploy a parachute; there are only about 5 seconds of free-fall available. Most modern base jumpers use specialized base jumping parachutes, with a rectangular ram-air chute that allows more control over direction and speed.

Another option, particularly useful with jumps less then 300 feet, a static line that will deploy automatically is used instead.  Jumping takes place facing down, using the natural aerodynamics of the body to “fly” away from the object, to avoid hitting anything on the way down.

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X-Games Goes to Mongolia

Posted on: September 5th, 2014 by Pulse

extreme sports

The new and exciting world of extreme sports is continually expanding as more and more people are discovering how exciting adventures and communities come out of skating, boarding, and biking.   Exhibit A for how fast this growth is happening should be the X-Games. What began in 1995 in Newport, Rhode Island with (according to 500,000 spectators has grown into a phenomenon too big for one country to handle.

Global youth culture continues to inspire people from all over the world to get into these sports for themselves, brining the adrenaline to their own cultural context, and the X-Games have had to find new environments to meet the growing demand. 2013 was the first year of X-Games in Shanghai, China and Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil as the action expands globally.  Most recently, the games have expanded further into Mongolia, a landlocked country in east-central Asia between China and Russia.

This year, the Mongolian X-Games took place in the capital city of Ulan Bator, as 12 professional skateboarders traveled from Europe and Japan alongside thriving local interest, as together they filled the city’s Central Square. Alongside a monument to Chinggis Khaan, who once ruled over the world’s largest empire, the country’s youth found new opportunities to bring shred to the a rich heritage of ancient buildings and numerous mountain peaks.

Beginnings of X-Games Mongolia

This most recent event on August 17, 2014 was the most recent of three X-Games events in Mongolia.  It started on October 19, 2013, when Dagina Khot, the Mongolian Extreme Games Club cooperated with local NGOs and the government’s Cultural Authority to respond to the high level of popularity of innovative outdoor activities among the youth around Ulan Bator.

Not just an opportunity for professionals to “show off,” the Games had a real impact on Mongolia’s economy and culture, most notably impacting the government to work towards building a 143.7 km bicycle road to and around the city, which, when completed, will go a long way towards improving air and traffic quality.  The overwhelming success of this initial event led to a Winter X-Games held just a few months later, in December 2013.  Nikle Ganbaa, a local company that manufactures bicycles and mopeds has seen a dramatic rise in business, as more local youth are exposed to the adventures riding can provide.

The 2014 Summer Mongolian X-Games

Announced as a celebration of Mongolia’s 375th year as a nation, the local X-games featured from noon to 9:00 p.m., popular Mongolian bands playing alongside freestyle and high-jump contests in skateboarding, rollerblading, and BMX.  The four competitions drew 80 competitors.  One skateboarder Erkhembileg, was only 11 years old. One female skater participated for the first time, a highlight that will hopefully pave the way for many others in a traditionally male dominated culture and field.

BMX in particular is a new sport to most of the Mongolian enthusiasts; it’s sometimes been a challenge to find ways to keep practicing in the long winters, but a small core of enthusiasts are helping their passion to spread. There were a few foreign visitors, most notably the American pro skating team Carhartt Work in Progress that put on a demo show as part of the festivities.  However, at its core, this was a local, wholly Mongolian event, showcasing how local youth are enthusiastically getting into and building their own scene.

According to the event’s Facebook page the winners in each category were Bayrhuu and Tengis for skating,  BMX: Huslen in BMX, Ariunbaatar in trail biking.  One of last years’ winners, Turmunkh was overwhelmed by how youth have been so excited and inspiring. While he had to learn how to ride from online videos made in far-off countries, he now has a large group of young riders who he can teach personally.  Mongolia is thus a very exciting scene of motivated riders, and one that can only keep growing.

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