Who Invented The Kong Gainer & It’s Variations?

who invented the kong gainer

The good ol’ Monkey Gainer (it was originally called)! Which was later to be named by the majority as the Kong Gainer. I remember this one as the most iconic revolutionary moves in the history of the sport and I was lucky enough to be there at the very beginning.

I happened to be at Daniel’s home in Moreton when he was practising it on the bonnet of a van onto a crash mat. This was back in 2007, so quite some time ago and the Freerunning world was different back then.

When Daniel first began practising this one, I thought to myself, is that really possible? There seemed to be a higher risk than any other move at the time. It was really stepping into unknown territory that no other Freerunner had seen before.

Where & when was the Kong Gainer (Monkey Gainer) created?

The Kong Gainer was first performed in Moreton town on the Wirral, UK. Daniel Ilabaca’s childhood hometown and a place with strong Parkour history.

The first video on YouTube showing the Monkey Gainer was uploaded on Daniel & Chris Ilabacas channel on the 15th April 2007. I remember this day so clearly as I was so blown away by the move, watching it over and over again.

The first ever video release of the Kong Gainer

The YouTube channel eventually transformed into Breach Apparel, which is Chris Ilabaca & family’s Parkour clothing brand. Learn more about Breach here.

Regarding the names of the Kong Gainer (Monkey Gainer)

There was a bit of uproar back in the day regarding Freerunning trick names. Daniel first released the video as the Monkey Gainer which is why I want to mention this throughout the blog. For many years in the early days, everyone called it the Monkey Gainer, but over time people called it different things.

I guess if you want to be technical, then Kong Gainer is a better term, but really who cares? We all understand the terms and if Daniel wanted it called the Monkey Gainer, then that’s what it will be. I will always keep calling it that as we all called it that for many years since day one.

Since then, the name has changed on the first YouTube video to please people. There were multiple names thrown in the bucket for the move such as “Monkey Gainer”, “Kong Gainer”, “Catpass Gainer” and more. I believe Daniel had enough of people being so fussy and eventually written it as the Kong Gainer.

Variations & progressions of the Kong Gainer

Again over the years, there’s always progression. In 2007 the Kong Gainer was one of the top level moves, and now days it’s progressed even further.

Kong Gainers on harder ground

Ryan Doyle was one of the first I remember to begin taking the Kong Gainer into tougher scenarios.

I performed this one below in 2009 onto concrete on the Isle of Man. I remember this was terrifying and taken a little while to go for. Big thanks to Alex Potts for waiting for so long and filming me! This video is from my Showreel 2010.

The Kong Double Gainer

The Kong Double Gainer was first ever performed outside by Travis Verkaik aka. Verky, a young British lad who is ultra talented. This was performed in London Southbank on 17th March 2018.

Kong Gainer 360

The Kong Gainer 360 was first performed outside by Calen Chan. Again, Calen is a young American lad who has some serious skills. This was first uploaded (& maybe performed) on 14th May 2016 in America.


There’s a brief insight into the history of the Kong Gainer. If you have any suggestions for moves you want to see, please contact us!

About Author

I am a Free Runner from the early days of Parkour/Freerunning. I first bagen training in 2005 in the Isle of Man. I then spent many years in Liverpool, Wirral, Brighton, Horsham & Basingstoke.

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