Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Josh "Wild" Wright in the Canadian outdoors. Part 1

Canadian Wilderness Expedition Day #1

Woke up at 7:30 am to Nick grinding some coffee beans in the kitchen. Still drunk from the night before, I staggered out of bed and began packing immediately. The Eh Team van swung through at 8 sharp to pick me up. Guff, Jacob, Yatesy, and Frankie all greeted me with an excited “Goodmorning Cunt!”. We ripped over to Charlie's place to pick him up before heading over to the legendary Bon’s for an awesome, cheap and delicious breakfast with crappy coffee. After Bon’s breaky we split and began the long voyage north on the Sea to Sky Highway. It was my first time on the gorgeous Sea to Sky and there were some of the most beautiful views I've ever seen! Mountains meet the ocean in the most spectacular way. The dense, low slung clouds seemingly consumed the mountain tops giving off a vibe of mystery.

 Making a quick stop in Squamish to buy some flats of beer (Fuck man! Canada charges an arm and leg for booze. What the hell is the deal man!) and some brooms from the local hardware store and we are back on the road!  As we approached Whistler I thought it was about time for a shotgun, this sudden “Shotgun!” call became a standard on the trip. Beautiful sights = Shotgunnism. We made a quick stop for a quick beer and a piss then back on the road!

 Yatesy is the man when it comes to keeping on schedule. A short drive after the shotgun stop we make a detour at Ben Dubreuil’s to say “What's up!?”. Yup, that means another beer or three. While at Ben’s the sky opened up a little and wet the roads down. So we took a ride up this rad gnarly highway road and my ears kept popping around every hairpin. Fuck man this road was righteous!! Steep as fuck with tight hairpins. About half way up the road we entered those still low-hanging clouds. Fog all around, cold damp air engulfing us.We rip up this mountain and after a bit we stumble across a rad river with a massive log jam spanning the width. We burn out into the turn off, kick our shoes and socks off, roll up out pants and sprint to the water. A solid 13* Celsius and we are freezing in the pissing rain trying to make our way out onto the logs.

 After a few minutes we decided this was too awesome of a place to not shotgun a beer. We throw back a beer, take a leak and run back to the van to blast the heat.

 After a good time climbing and descending we enter a small mountain town that I can’t pronounce the name of. This town was in a valley surrounded with breath taking mountain views and a big raging river tearing through the heart of it.

 The weather cleared and the sun started peeking through. We hit up the market to get dinner in order. After the market we split to find Charlie's mystery cabin in the woods. We got a little lost but Yatesy's internal GPS held it together [because our phones had zero service] and we found the way here. A delicious pasta, garlic bread and salad dinner was whipped up by Frankie and Yatesy [Thanks guys it was delicious!]. A few beers later, we were all nice and relaxed and enjoyin’ the view.

Guff was trying to nail down his knife throwing skills and Jacob and I attempted to fish in the lake (to no avail). The sky cleared briefly and we got a short view of the stars as the sky darkened. The temperature dropped with the setting sun and the Fireball kept us warm late into the night.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Adam Yates Goes to China. Part 2

Day 4.

Start the day with a stroll through the streets waiting for Shan. When he turns up, he takes us for some food. Funny cause in the meantime while we waited for him, Jacob went and got bulk food and had a mini feast. On the menu, thanks to shan, was lamb hot noodle soup in a sweet little ally kitchen. Best way to start the day eh, big feed of good food.   

Meet everyone in this place that's geographically the center strip of Beijing. We are starting our way towards the forbidden temple from the north. It's a killer hot day and everything is sticky! We set off and head south along the promenade and the sites of the Olympic Park and all it's stadiums are amazing. There's the Media Tower, the Water Cube, the Birds Nest and the accommodation built for all the high profile business associates comprises of 5 high-rise buildings, the 1st of which is twice the size and is oddly shaped. The 5 buildings together are  meant to resemble a dragon swimming toward Tiananmen Square. The architecture is off the hook. It's been super busy as its a long weekend to celebrate the "Mid Moon". There's people out flying kites and riding bikes. It's great to see how passionate these people are about their culture.

We skate for what seems like kilometers. Hours pass. We pass the Drum Tower, The Emperor's Garden and end up at The Forbidden City. Back in the dynasty period women weren't allowed to leave the city to find a soulmate, they were considered the property of the emperor. If he wanted them, they had no choice. If he didn't, they spent their lives in solitude never to be wed. At the end of the period there was around 1000 women and girls living like this inside the walls. Most of them chose suicide or murder if they had fallen pregnant by the emperor, to protect their newborn daughter of living in those conditions.

We didn't get to Tiananmen Square because it's getting dark and we still had to visit the first longboard store in Beijing. This is where it started to get really interesting. As if it wasn't busy enough already on the roads, it's getting dark and there seems to be even more traffic, cars, susses  bikes, carts and humans that just pop out for behind parked cars! That's another thing, car parks? Not likely! Wherever there's room, there's someone trying to force a spot, most times not even being off the road???? All this aside we belt into a shitty little alley and went right down the end. It was at this stage I would've felt uneasy if it wasn't for the company. The Longboard Store is a tiny little outfit with a shit load of gear. It's got a great variety of all boards, wheels and trucks. It was this that concreted the seriousness of the local scene here in Beijing. Great shop, great crew, great city!

Dinner is on the cards and its become part of the norm to expect something different. On tonights menu, Donkey! Fair dinkum. We were asked if we wanted to try organs or meat. Both Jacob and I were keen on meat but thought we'd sample a bit of donkey organs as well. We had Donkey meat soup, rotten egg that was cured in mud as a side, some beans, radish and slaw and a Donkey Intestine burger. Surprisingly, it all tastes pretty nice. I'd definitely try it all again!

More skating is on the cards after dinner and we head back toward the Olympic Park. They built an access road and a tunnel right in the middle as a means of accommodating the excess traffic for the Olympics and presently don't use it at all. This is Beijing's “secret” session spot as the locals put it. It's cool. Outta the way from prying eyes, and u can play longboards all night!

Get back to the hotel at 2am and after 3 days of skating in the longboard.cn Festival 2013 and some kilometers traveled turning wheels, we’re both cactus. Shower and hit the sack. Goodnight Irene!

Day 5.

Final day in Beijing and I'm thinking that I haven't seen this country to its full potential. There's so much out there that's assumed to be undiscovered gold. I hear of random stories from one group to the next of the surroundings of their individual cities. Good thing for me, I've made their acquaintance and we are now good friends. Offers have been thrown at us to come and visit them in their respective cities. Now it'd be stupid of me to share these places, I guess ya'll gonna have to see it as it gets uncovered  by LY. I'd like for this to be the case anyway.

As I lay here in bed, listening to Jacob snore, I can't help but think of the good times that we've had here in Beijing. Joe and Shan from XWing distribution are throwing bulk dollar into the community of long boarding, spurring growth within the country, growth such as longboard.cn which is primely ran by our man K  (Haohan). He represents both these brands well and together with a great support network, China's longboard scene is on the way to great things. It's already achieved so much in such a short time. It pays homage to its people, hard working at sustaining a lasting culture. These guys are the newest in this massive family of people that share a love of longboarding and its an absolute privilege to have spent this short but very intense look into their scene, their language, their culture, their country. Already lookin forward to the next time I get #dragonpitted with these guys.

Till then, it's been Niu Be!!!  Xie Xie, zai jian!  (...it's been awesome!!! Thankyou, goodbye)!

Photos by: Jacob Lambert

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Adam Yates Goes to China. Part 1

Photos by: Jacob Lambert

Day 1.

After 20 hrs of traveling I arrive at Beijing International airport. The size of the city was hard to depict from the air as the pollution was the worst I’ve ever been witness too. I'd have to say the visibility is in the range of 150 meters, not an inch more. The thorough work that went into planning for a visa I was expecting a pretty full on time passing through customs. The first sign of how intense it was gonna be was the Heat Transfer u have to pass through, for what I don't know? The lineup is off the hook and it’s got to be in 85-90% humidity. Peeps everywhere. Guess it’s just a small look at what’s to come, at least this is somewhat organized!

Joe from XWing Distribution picks us up from an incredibly busy terminal. It's so spread out between the place you land and go through customs to the place you get your bags, then it's another massive hike to the car park. You wouldn't want to be late!

Is no so much of a drive to where our accommodation is for the night.One thing for sure is that the city is busy and is massive. There's no real structure of where to drive or who to follow. More of a case of every man for himself and to have eyes in the back of your head!

We meet some of the crew from the Chinese Downhill scene and with them is K, a young fella who really has his shit on lock down, the one behind longboard.cn. He takes us to some little, on the street, BBQ and we chow down on some of the local delicacies. He calls himself the "ordering king"! I’d say it’s a pretty fair assumption with the quality that's been laid before us.

Full and eager to hit the sack after a belly full of eats and beer, it's off to bed and tomorrow can't come soon enough!

Day 2.

Quality!! What a sleep! Really helps sleeping with a full belly! Comatose! Today we were to check out of our hotel and catch the train up to the Olympic Forest Park. The weather has unfortunately come across wet with a few more showers planned to set in over the course of the day. You'd think with some rain it’d cool things down. Quite the opposite. Moist and needing water we jam into the train. Epic, it's got AC! Winning. We rode the number 8 line that was new for the Olympics and the reasoning behind using the number 8, it is in fact a sign of fortune and wealth, I guess they thought the Olympic Games was going to be good for their economy. For us it was the case that we were fortunate to have our fair paid for and ride in air conditioned comfort north to Olympic Forest Park.

The scene here is lively. Everyone is interested in who these two white boys are! Jacob and I jam around the park in the wet while crew sit undercover and wonder why? They soon caught on that it was all turning wheels, wet or dry! There was a small presentation to introduce the start of the 3 day festival. Next thing ya know, K has called me and Jacob up to be introduced. We even had our own interpreter!

The events that were on the cards for today are the push race, flatland freestyle and the hippy jump. Punters lined up at the start line for the push race. Jacobs deep on the startling getting the shot and I was on the edge of the road further up waiting to see the carnage. Crew threw down and as with any Chinese style start, I'm pleased to say there was carnage. Boards and bodies flying everywhere! I kicked in from the back of the field and felt the need to haul, not far behind the lead, finishing in 5th. Jacob had a joke and said" dawg, u shoulda entered"!

Foods been on the cards all day and its finally time to eat. The Chinese eat big and skip breakfast apparently! By 1pm I'm munging and I'm finding it harder to hold Jacob from tearing his limbs off and consuming them for substance! Tasty little rice box with different treats came at the perfect time, a little late but perfect nonetheless.

After a little lie down and re hydrate it was time for the hippy jump. Never really appealed to me but as it is with most of the different peeps u skate with around the world, u support those who do and get ya stoke on watching them do what they do! No haters here! It started at a pretty mellow 400mm. No surprise that everyone made it threw the first few rounds. As it crept toward 1000mm peeps be dropping and by the time it was at 1200mm there were only 3 punters left. The winner jumped a height of 1300mm his name converted was "light" from the Tiger Surf Shop team from Taiwan. He was riding the 2013 Tomahawk. Nice one bra!

To finish up the day it was the flatland freestyle. I was asked to judge? I was down and good thing for me I've been touching on my Mandarin cause the score sheet was hectic to say the least. These guys really get down on their flatland stuff. No wonder when the whole of the Beijing area is mondo flat! It was pretty cool seeing what tricks they all had dancing, spins, manuals, finger flips, u all get the point, they were getting tricky! The girls who competed where stylin and could have competed against the guys! The girl’s final was run and there was one that stood ahead of the rest in her abilities. The guys, not so much. 4 riders got thrown in to an elimination game of Skate. The winner was last year’s champ. He skated damn well, flowing and fast.

That's the day’s events done. It's time to party. The crew have been talking this up since we got here. On a bus and travel 90 minutes NW into the mountains. Accommodation, dinner, beers and the bus ride is all covered! I can't thank Joe and the crew from Xwing enough. U guys know what’s up! Thanks.

Day 3.

Wow. Epic party. Epic accommodation. Epic crew. These guys really know how to throw down right. The hospitality since we have arrived cannot be faulted. Dinners, Transport, Accommodation and in the case of last night, all the hard liquor ya need for night of good times. We taught the Chinese how to Shot-gun with the fridge full of local beer. Needless to say there were some sorry heads at breakfast in the morning. Full buffet brekkie asian style. The food here is totally different to anything I've ever sampled around the world, very interesting and full of flavour.

Today’s event is the slide jam and longest slide comp! Yeah, finally were hitting some hills. The hotel we stayed at was at the foothills of the mountains to the north of Beijing. Its beautiful. Its peaceful. The green and the air is fresh. Now this is what id imagined the outer areas to be like. Its gonna be a great day! As we meander over to the hill with all the days goodies, the road impresses me right away. Its not at all the steepest hill but the pavement was perfect blacktop. Not a fault. Smooth uber butter was here in the middle of the mountains. It looked brand new! The spot we were to jam was a small section that was around 200 meters long and the viewing was easy from anywhere on the edge.

There were some really different styles. Some crew got down on the hard wheels. Some hands down. Some faster standees. There was a great mix of it all. Some of the guys from the flatland comp where showing they could also throw down on the downhill styles. It was really fun just jamming with all these different styles ya know, everyone was their own, doin it their way. Thats wat i love about this sport. Freedom of expression.

We skated for the best part of 5 hours before crew sat down to have lunch. Meals here are an occasion and the time is spent bonding with either your family of your friends. Its a respectful time thats part of the culture. Same as yesterday, ricebox's were the treat.  Joe brought Jacob and I over ours and we sat down and chowed down with everyone else. After lunch it was the longest slide comp. The way they run things is very regulated here. Nothing like a slide comp of the US or Canada. There's a system they do things here and it must work for them. Its 1 rider at a time, they introduce the rider to the road and then he/she will mob in and jam a slide. Didn't really matter whether u did it hands down or not, there was a different score for each. As with any of the events over the last day and a bit, we are here to support the scene and sk8 with the riders. We're not gonna just show up and take all they're prizes. Its funny because longest slides went to me and Jacob. Jacob got me by a lousy meter sliding his way to peoples hearts with an impressive 17 meters on the flatter part of the hill. The longest slide was actually awarded to "Light" from the Tiger Surf Shop Team from Taiwan. He now has won two of the weekend's events, doin it all on LY gear!

Best trick came next. Again, 3 runs to showcase your trick, one at a time. There were some really interesting tricks being attempted and also being landed. Cross step slides, Hard Wheel, Shov-its, crazy foot off board action? Its like some of them are doing martial arts of some sort while they are rolling down the hill. Epic. It was hard to pick a winner as the different styles made the individuals tricks epic in their own right. I had to give best trick of the girls to a hands down 360 spin. For the guys, a fella named "onion" won it with a super stylish toeside skid into a shov-it, again to the guy that won the flatland event. Apparently, he skates street real good? Another great day nearly over, time to head back into the city.

As I've mentioned, the hospitality has been second to none. The Xwing Crew have gone out of their ways to make sure Jacob and I have everything we need and more. Dinner tonight is at a Beijing Duck BBQ that is over 600 years old. That's right, they been cooking duck for 600 years and believe it when i say that its been the same fire that's been burning for the whole time! Hows that for cultural belief. That's doing it right! Shan asked us if there is anything we won't eat. NANANANANA was the response and when the food came to that table I could see the look on Jacobs face was one of intrigue. What are we about to eat? All parts of the Duck done different ways, nothing to waste. There was Duck Head, brain and all, tongue, kidney, liver, stomach, egg, wing, and yeah there was some normal breast and leg meat as well, to go with the pancakes. These are all delicacies of the Beijing area and its a privilege to share this meal with our new friends. Chinese Rice Wine at 42% accommodates the meal cleansing the palate to get the most out of all the different flavours! It was HEAVY! Its an epic feast as always!

Back to the room for a few more beers and an interview that was sorta funny as the translation at times can be a little weird, especially after a few brews and that bloody Rice Wine. Tomorrow, we skate through Beijing and see the sites!

To be continued...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Hawaii Winter Outlaw Series: Event 1 Words By: Mackenzie Yoshida

The sun was shining, vibes were good, stoke levels were high... its September and the Wheel Turners of Hawaii were geared up n' ready for the kick off of the Hawaii Winter Outlaw Series! A little over 50 skaters got together on the North Shore of Oahu on Saturday, September 14th for the Hawaiian Ridge Rusher 3. The 1st of 6 events in the series.

We all gathered at the beach to meet, greet and get signed up. Then the cars full of skaters paraded up the hill to the jam zone. Once getting parked we all HIKED into to road. The cool thing about this zone is its a heavenly slab of butter in the middle of the forest... therefor cars have little, to no access to the road. Pretty epic huh? Downside... its about a 2 mile hike to get to get in there and its nothing but hills. So your pretty beat just from the walk in! BUT, its soo worth it.

When we all got to the jam zone we went straight to warm up runs, no need for last minute clean up thanks to the early bird crew. There were up bright and early sweeping the course to ensure that it would be pristine.

Once riders got some runs under their belts and looked comfortable, we had our riders meeting, made the bracket for the day and got started.

The Ridge Rusher course is a fairly easy course. Just under 1 mile long, riders go through several dips, 2 quick uphill sections, and back to back sweeper turns. No drifting is needed, some of the top riders barley brake tuck for the whole course. Oh ya! We also have a limited push box at the start line to keep things fun. This usually makes for some tight, intense heats.

From the very first heat of round 1, this year was proving to be no different. Every 4 man heat was full of passes and held tight till they crossed the finish. With the road cleaner then we've ever had it, riders could take any line they needed to get that win. After everyone battled it out the top 2 from every heat moved on. Some series veterans moved on but there were also lots of new faces killing it!

Round 2 there were 8 heats of 4 riders, every heat was stacked.

The heats rolled on smoothly and lots of the past years event finalist were knocked out already... including Nikko Kamanuwai who had won this event every year its happened! The King of the hill has been dethroned.

Now its the quarter finals of event 1, the top 16 skaters on the hill are focused and ready. 4 heats of 4. Riders from all areas of Oahu.

The heats were tight from the moment i said GO!
 All 4 skaters would sprint and jump on their boards at the end of the push box... from there it was a constant switch off. Throughout this course there are multiple prime spots to make clean passes and the skaters took advantage of every one of em.

Another round of NUTS racing flew by, leaving us with our top 8 riders of event 1.
Semi Final 1 was Ian Coronas, Kenny Bergstrom, Evan Twigg Smith and Rhys Morishima. And Semi Final 2 was KJ Nakanelua, Dante Alston, Josh Perry and Jordan Teets.

We gave the riders a few minute break, cleared the course and the consilation final was under way.
The consi was tight as the shallow end of a pool! As the riders came around the final right bend, Dante and Kenny broke away for a drag race to the finish. Jordan and Rhys followed closely behind.

BOOM! Finals Time.
 "Racers ready, set.... GO!" i said and the racers were sprinting! KJ getting the front position out of the push box as the rolling 3 fell in line. Racers kept it close, Evan Twigg Smith managed to weave from 4th to 2nd in line through out the middle of the course. As they came around the last bend KJ's smile could be seen for miles! He knew he had locked down 1st Place.  Within seconds of KJ coming across the finish, the rest of the heat came by in a line. Everyone stoked on a good day of racing.

Following the event we gave riders a little freeride time since the stoke was still in the air.
I went to clean up the tops bit and take a run down. This resulted in me crashing and breaking my clavicle, getting stitches and tearing all sorts of things... there goes my chance of racing H.W.O.S this year! Not the highlight of the day.

Once we all got off the hill, we headed down to the beach where we rewarded our top 8 riders with CASH MONEY to help them get to the next events. Then we passed out schwag to as many riders as we could.

Nothing but Smiles.
A GREAT kick off event to yet another Hawaii Winter Outlaw Series.
Thanks everyone for coming out!

Photos - WheelTurnerHawaii, Matt Hirata
Landyachtz Presents
The Hawaii Winter Outlaw Series
Event 1- The Hawaiian Ridge Rusher 3

1st - KJ Nakanelua
2nd- Evan Twigg Smith
3rd- Josh Perry
4th- Ian Coronas
5th- Dante Alston
6th- Kenny Bergstrom
7th- Jordan Teets
8th- Rhys Morishima