Planking, also known as lying down game or face downs, often see players compete to find the most unusual and original location in which to plank.
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A favorite hobby for many, planking has led to serious issues including deaths, injuries and police arrest. On 13 May 2011, a 20-year-old man from Gladstone in central Queensland was charged for allegedly planking on a police vehicle. Popular planking locations include park benches and other public places. On 15 May 2011, Acton Beale, a 20-year-old man, plunged to his death after reportedly planking on a seventh-floor balcony in Brisbane, Australia. He became the first known casualty of the planking fad.
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Paul Carran, a New Zealander living in Sydney who claims to have invented planking in 2008, was accused by Beale's friends of holding responsibility for the planking death.
Immediately after Beale's death, Australia's Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, warned plankers that the focus has to be on keeping yourself safe first. The Queensland Opposition and the state's police have requested people to stop participating in the fad.
On 29 May 2011, Max Key, son of New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, uploaded a photograph on Facebook of himself planking on a lounge suite as his father stood behind him.
Picture of 16-year-old Max Key lying face down across the back of a sofa appeared on the “Planking New Zealand” page on Facebook, which has almost 13,000 members.
According to KnowYourMeme.com, planking began in 2006, after two British students posted pictures of themselves participating in the lying down game.
But many say that planking might have been inspired by an infamous scene from the 1993 movie The Program, in which the quarterback lies down on the yellow line in the middle of a highway as cars fly past. The scene was later cut from the movie.
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Peopleplanking.com, a site dedicated for sharing pictures, videos, and ideas on planking explains the planking rules.
1. Most important rule is make sure you plank safe
2. You must always lay face down, ensuring your face remains expressionless for the duration of the Plank.
3. Your legs must remain straight, and together with toes pointed.
4. Your arms must be placed by your side, held straight and fingers pointed.
5. You must make it known that you are Planking. Saying 'I am Planking' usually get this across. Sternly announcing it will ensure a good result.
6. Once again your safety should always be considered. Properly thought through Planking procedures should always go to plan. Never put yourself at undue risk.
7. First Aid should never be far away. Ice, Bandaids, Cast Plaster, needle and thread, emotional support and a quick escape route need to be on hand.