The silly salmon challenge involves wailing while jumping horizontally with flapping legs like a fish tail, into any body of water when someone tells you to "do the silly salmon". The jump has sometimes been done onto other surfaces, such as into hedges or onto fast food counters, and are often from a high vantage point, raising safety concerns.
The stunt first made headlines last month when 23-year-old YouTuber Luke Erwin jumped into a pool from a balcony at Sydney's Bondi Icebergs Club. The trend, which started in Australia, has since gone global, trending on Facebook and YouTube with copycat videos posted from as far afield as the US, UK, Thailand and Germany.
Erwin has since starred in other silly salmon challenges with fellow YouTuber Jackson O'Doherty. Their first compilation video has been viewed more than 62 million times on Facebook. But on 9 January they took it too far, with Erwin jumping off the Goodwill Bridge – "the biggest bridge I could find in Brisbane" – and into the Brisbane River.
Security guards alerted police to their actions, and the pair were arrested just 20 minutes later. They are now due in court on 19 February, charged with one count of unregulated high-risk behaviour.
Posting on Instagram on 11 January, Erwin confirmed the pair had been arrested, writing: "What a crazy past few days with the bro! I landed in Brisbane 40 minutes later we both got arrested but we didn't let that get us down."
In a video explaining how the silly salmon went wrong, alongside video of police at the scene, O'Doherty said: "He jumped off it, about 20 minutes later, we got arrested... and then all s**t just went south."
The pair also asked YouTube commenters to say where they want to see them do the silly salmon next, promising to get on a plane and fly wherever in the world gets the most votes. They also asked people to protest outside the courthouse on their hearing date to "protect the silly salmon".
O'Doherty said: "Silly salmon is a movement, it's a big part of our lives right now and we're not going to let the police stand in our way of doing this."