When a man fell to his death early Sunday morning while planking outside a seventh story balcony in Brisbane, Australia, people around the world asked themselves the same question: What is planking?
Essentially, planking involves lying flat on your stomach in unusual (occasionally dangerous) positions and posing for photographs.
Two groups lay claim to inventing the stunt. One group was formed in 2000 by Brits Gary Clarkson and Christian Langdon as the lying down game, while the other started eight years later in South Australia as planking. Both have rival Facebook sites.
While the phenomenon is spreading across the globe, it has gained increasing media coverage in Australia. Last week, the nation's leading morning show host Kerri-Anne Kennerley opened up a show by planking on the set's sofa in a white dress and heels.
As the craze went viral, Facebook's Planking Australia page grew to 120,000 likes. Planking Australia includes over 1,000 photos of horizontal participants planking anything from minimart displays to trash cans and television sets.
Last week, Queensland police warned plankers of the dangers of the activity when a man was caught allegedly planking on a police car. The 20-year-old was charged with being on police equipment without lawful excuse.
Following the tragic death at Kangaroo Point in Brisbane, police are urging plankers to re-think their actions. Police fear that as planking gains popularity there may be more injuries and potentially further deaths, Deputy Commissioner Ross Barnet said in a statement. Accepting a risk of injury to yourself is one thing, but the potential is there for others to be injured as a result of your behavior.
Police say that while the dead man, in his 20s, fell from the balcony railing on Sunday, his friend was nearby photographing.