What is Planking?
Planking is an activity where the person lies facing downward on the ground or across an object, arms straight at their side with palms flat and facing inward, toes pointed, and body as stiff as a wooden board. It is typically done in a funny or unusual place and a picture is typically taken and posted online.
The objective is to plank in extreme or unusual places and in unique or unusual body positions in order to create a memorable photograph. For instance, you can plank on your desk, in the main isle of a grocery store, the hood of your car (like a hood ornament), across benches in a public park, or on or next to public monuments. The more unusual or unique the location, the more successful the plank is considered to be.
History of planking
Around 1995, two English teenagers, Gary Clarkson and Christian Langdon, created the “lying down game”, taking pictures of themselves planking in unusual and bizarre settings. Later, in 2004, a French website posted similar pictures of people posing “a plat ventre” (on their bellies). By 2007, Clarkson and Langdon had created a Facebook page for their “lying down game”. Their friends began joining in on the fun and word spread. Soon they had 400,000 Facebook fans participating in the game. The Lying Down Game also caught on in Australia where they called it “planking”.
Media attention prompted more interest from the public. In 2009, seven staff members of an English hospital regularly planked at work and posted their escapades online. Their boss spotted the pictures on the Facebook website and they were promptly suspended from their jobs. The strange occurrence made the national news and sparked the public’s curiosity.
The dangers of planking
Planking received more publicity in 2011 when 20-year-old Acton Beale from Brisbane, Australia, fell off a seven story balcony while attempt to balance on a narrow railing. Another youngster went into a coma while trying to plank on the hood of a moving car while several more plankers were arrested for attempting to plank on moving cars. Several had been arrested planning on police vehicles and on May 19, 2011, a student was caught planking on the ledge of a school building. Several days later, a New Zealand student was caught planking on a railroad track in front of an oncoming train.
The peak of planking
In 2011, David “Wolfman” Williams, a star soccer player, began planking after every goal that he scored. Indy car racer Scott Dixon planked on the tires of his race car prompting other racers to duplicate the celebratory method. Planking had reached the mainstream.
Other planking variants developed including Pillaring (posing like a stone pillar), Teapotting (posing like a teapot), and Beasting (posing with hands out like claws and snarling at the camera).
On May 25, 2011, the first “Global Planking Day” was introduced to the world.
Other Planking Pictures
Click pictures for full-size view.