Somewhat of a small-town celebrity, Lawrence Ortiz — commonly referred to as “The Trampoline Man” — can be found every day around noon on East De la Guerra Street, jumping away on his mini-trampoline in his front yard.
Ortiz grew up in Santa Barbara with his parents and five siblings. When he was younger, he was an avid marathon runner, running the Los Angeles marathon seven times and the Long Beach Marathon several times as well. “You see those mountains behind you?” he asked. “I would run all through those … I’d go up De la Guerra, to APS, up to the Mission, and back down,” he explained. “I was able to do it; I never got tired of it,” he said, looking into the distance.
“When you’re running, you get your second wind, and then you don’t get tired,” Ortiz explained. “I could run and run and run.”
But that was before he had his two knees replaced about 20 years ago. Since having the replacements, Ortiz has created an exercise ritual with just a set of weights, a personal-sized trampoline, and a small boom box. Every day when the sun is high, he puts on his sunscreen, rolls out his trampoline, grabs his weights, turns on the radio, and starts his workout routine.
He does about 30 minutes of weights, sit-ups, and push-ups and then another 30-44 minutes on the trampoline every day, he says. “I need to exercise — I can’t do nothing,” he explains. Unlike many people with knee or hip replacements, Ortiz claims to have no pain in his joints, and he prides himself on his ability to walk up the stairs without using the rails. “A lot of people, when they have surgery, they don’t exercise, and then their joints freeze up,” he notes.