FREE shipping for orders over $100 - Click to read more

Hopkin Skate Blog

Blog Menu

Hop Podcast #9 - Mitch Thompson interview


I have wanted to interview Mitch for a long time, I think it was at the Shedemite summer series I suggested an interview, but it has always been a bit hard to coordinate.

My last trip to Bathurst, I scheduled meetings first thing in the morning, and left enough time to meet up with Mitch and have a long conversation.

First some apologises on the quality. Am I always apologising for the podcast sound? Podcasting is a new medium I am learning. I do all the production and recording, so it is at amateur status. I think the quality of the interviews makes up for the poor sound. I am using a new recording device with directional microphones. I don't think I had the microphones close enough. The interview I did after this I held my recorder and put the microphones closer to the subject, the quality was a lot better. As the microphones were a bit too far away, I picked up a lot of the background noise, and in particular the sound of supermarket beeping (I interviewed Mitch at his work, which is in a shopping mall!). In post production I removed a lot of those sounds but in the process changed the recording tones. 

This interview has everything, we go through how Mitch sets up his Rayne board, his new mini Ronins, griptape, bearings, why he does not clean his bearings, how his designed his own wheels, and so much more. 

All the big races he has been in over the years we go through in detail. What happened in that Newtons 2017 final and the split second decision that cost him any chance of winning. Why Taylor Cook was so happy beating Mitch at Kaikoura, why Mitch missed Kaikoura this year, how did the Arirang Hill 2017 race go down, and that GoPro footage of the final. Why he tries to GoPro'd all his races, even the finals at the expense of aero.

I have been a bit lazy on this episode, I have not listed all the links and products we talk about. We might go back and add them later. If you want to contribute to teh podcast, and send me what you think the links should be, hit me up on my email (use the contact us page).

Thank you for listening. Like subscribe and share.

James Hopkin
September 2018



Hop Podcast #8 - Concrete Wave and the fine print


I got a phone call from Michael Brooke in July, to tell me, it was not public yet but he was going to announce he was stepping down from Concrete Wave magazine, handing the magazine to some new owners, and he was taking a new direction. 

He was not quitting skateboarding.

My first reaction was this is something I want to document on the podcast, I need to interview Michael. For me, that is a daunting task, I have known Michael for a long time, we are friends, there is a lot of history there, we have shared so much together. I will interview Michael, but I wanted to do something immediately to celebrate the Michael Brooke era at Concrete Wave. So this is it. Podcast number 8 is my favourite story from all those magazines. It is about Trif-dog (I dont know who that is) and his late night bomb down a hill in Newport Beach. Even if this episode does not sound like something you want to listen too, you have to hear the story, it is a classic. 

The "fine print" was a small section at the start of each Concrete wave where Michael was just...Michael. It was the first thing I always read. The best fine print was Vol 1 2006 the Trif-Dog story.

I have always remembered the Trif-Dog story, I have retold it many times, and it is classic Michael Brooke. If you have never had a beer with Michael, or a long phone call, Michael some how manages to find these characters and collect the funniest stories, that are real life and hilarious. So I have spent this week going through all my Concrete Wave magazines (I have most of them) and searching for this story. I have magazines piled up everywhere, and I start reading old issues, enjoying them all over again, and so many of the stories and articles are still gold. It was a fun week! 

So I have the first issue, I'm sharing a few things from that first issue, and then tell the Trif-Dog story. This podcast is a slightly different format. It is shorter (under 30 minutes) and it is not an interview. Just something I'm playing with, smaller episodes that I can be more consistent with. 

Enjoy my Concrete Wave ramblings. Michael if you read this, thank you. You are one of a kind, I love you brother.

Find Concrete Wave on facebook

Michael's announcement on Facebook

Concrete Wave website

Subscribe to Concrete Wave!!!!


Hop Podcast #7 Harry Clarke - living the chopstar lifestyle

This Podcast number 7 Harry Clarke aka Harry Potter aka Chopstar

I started following Harry on the international downhill scene when he appeared out of nowhere representing Australia in Europe about 3 or 4 years ago.

He is an Aussie, battling the world's best in downhill racing, and consistently doing well. In his own words, he is just on the cusp of breaking into that downhill elite with a big race win. This might be the year, he has been on the podium for a few big races this year already (3rd at Arirang Hill, and 3rd at Transylvania DH).

These are the show notes. Basically anything worth linking to that explains people and products we talk about. 

IDF number 1832

Alpen-Rauschen freeride - the best in the world? Organised by Big Mountain

Harry's first skateboard: Original Apex 37

Nine Two Five...rain or shine video 

Robert Burns

Pierre van Remoortere: a young Pierre skating


Get spicy with a sicktail

Avoiding cows (video below)

 First race in Philippines: VLT 2013 (click on young Harry below to see him at his first race) Full 2013 VLT video here

Getting stoked on Downhill with Greener pastures videos

Harry's rich slamin history at Kozakov
2014 as a junior making the B bracket final and moving through to the A bracket

 2014 was also the year Connor Ferguson, as a junior, made the open final

Met all the Aussie crew at Mt Keira 2016 

16th in 2015 at Shortakov (short version of Kozakov). Riders mentioned:
Max Wipperman
Hertler = Sebastian Hertler
Luna = Daniel Luna
Alex Charleston and other guy = Filippo Salerni
Byron = Byron Essert 
Nico = Nicola Nuehrig



In 2015 Harry finished 43rd in the world, he is still at school! 

Veggie High 2016 wins consi final

2015 Yuping Cup at Heaven's Gate mountains  (2nd in opens)
Yuping Cup Final: Adam Yates, Harry Clarke, Billy Bones, Max Ballesteros

14th in the world in 2016

Mt Keira 2016 was Harry's first Australian race, he came with Rob = Robert Burns 

Veggie High 2016 race
Yuping Cup in China

11th at Lilyhammer

6th at Teolo - the sick video of quarter final of Harry, Mitch Thompson and Alex Dehmel and Čvančara Vašek 

Second at Insul 2016 - I did not make that clear in the interview. 
Final was Mitch Thompson, Harry Clarke, Sebastian Hertler and Max Balesteros
On the podium in his thongs REPRESENT!
Korea 2018
We talk about the internet memes that followed the Korean final. It was started by Federico with this video 
Skaters mentioned: Standy Andy = Andrew Atchison
Robert Burns 2015 Arirang Hill Korea crash - Harry rates it as one of the scariest he has seen, and it was caught on video!! See below
Robert Burn's Ahmyo video part above

Racing Set Ups

This is current as of the time of the interview which was mid 2018. We are not maintaining or updating this list.

Riding on Venom wheels

He was on Orangatang or is one or...[watch this space]
Officially now rides for Madrid boards
Skater mentioned: Max Dubler
Harry's new deck, he is riding some new designs, more than just a chopped Trapster...maybe...a new production deck in the future?
Current trucks are 160mm Rogues
15 degree back baseplate with a 50 degree front [link to where you can buy rogue precisions]
Venom Tall Barrel bushings in HPF (High performance Formula)
Front bushings 78a roadside and 81a boardside 
Back bushings are both 97a
An original Chopstar is a chopped Trapstar
The downhill small stance
Bearings: Hondar or Seismic
We are flowing a Boa bearing hook up for this year's Euro tour
Racing wheels? Magnum Mach 1 78mm
Footbrake soles: Freebrake
Re: Deck spikes, you are on your own to DIY it, it is a great idea. Skaters in the 80's did a similar thing. 
Photo by Dean Tirkot: Mick Mulhall Judo Air
Skater mentioned: Mick Mulhall doing a judo air 2016 (photo by  Dean Tirkot)
Deck mods: torque block
Bam Bam gloves
Harry's secret rain wheels...sorry secret family business, no links.
The story I mention at the end, is at the Shredemite Summer Outlaw series in Turramurra, Harry told me he enjoyed the podcast, and wanted to know who would be next. To which I replied, you. I thought Harry was going to have another big year (2018), and a podcast episode could document that! 
Thanks for listening to the podcast. Can I ask a favour? Please subscribe and share. Really share it. I do these episodes to promote the sport of downhill skateboard racing, longboarding and skateboarding. I'm hoping they will encourage young people to get into the sport. Parents encourage their children to do more. And that anyone can become a fan, follow the skaters, go to events, enjoy the sport without having to participate, it truely is a global sport that can connect with everyone. 
Corrects, comments or extra questions, please leave a comment below
Hop out.

Hop Podcast #6 - Brennan Bast and skating at 140kph (87mph)


Brennan Bast, known as Bassi to skaters, is one of the fastest skaters in the world and the nicest bloke you will ever meet. Everyone's mate, a gentlemen to the core. 

As a race organiser (Newtons and Mt Keira) I have a special love for Bassi, he always haybales. Literally Bast has handled every haybale the last two years at Newtons... all 900 of them, twice! He is usually perched on top of the truck, throwing bales off, or catching and stacking them. 

I have been wanting to interview him for a long time, because he was in that legendary IDF World Cup final at Mt Keira in 2016. He was on the podium at Arirang Hill and Kozakov in 2017, finished 7th in the world in 2017!

We are haybaling at Newtons, putting bales on a truck, cleaning the track, an hour earlier Bassi has just come 2nd in the Open Downhill final, and now he is throwing haybales like they are pillows. During a break, I take the opportunity to interview Brennan, while the race is still fresh in his memory. You can hear Rob McWhinnie in the background sliding his double kick on Forest Elbow.  

First up apologises for the poor quality, but please give it a listen, there is some good stories in the interview. First 10 minutes is the Newtons interview. Then I do a phone interview for another 20 minutes. I was not using a microphone, so the sound is a bit tinny. I was recording it via my iPhone voicemail, but Telstra would only give me 5 minute long recordings. So you'll notice every 5 minutes there is a awkward edit, which is me stitching the audio together. 

What do we talk about?

The final at Newtons, what happened?

The Top Speed Challenge and Bassi skating over 140 km per hour!! What was that like and we get a real and raw answer.

Photo credits to Harfang wheels (you can buy them here)

The wet Arirang Hill race this year? How dangerous was the bottom section? How did Bassi make rain wheels for 30% of the competitors! 

We talk about Mt Keira in 2016, and how he got 2nd at Kozakov (hint a satisfying pass on Carlos at the finish).

Who is the best downhill skater in Australia at the moment? 

Can Thiago be beaten at Kozakov?

If you are new to downhill, a young person starting out, Bassi has lots of tips for you. The most important aspect you need to learn. How he got into downhill, and it was a long grind of an apprenticeship with Ado at Mt Stuart. 

Bassi's shout outs were:

Ado at cr8ive sk8
Zak Maytum
Darkspeed gloves
Ronin Trucks
Black Mamba
Vultur helmets
IDF the world downhill sanctioning body

Thank you for listening. You can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes
Podcast home is here on the website 

Find us on your favourite podcast player (we like Overcast) by searching "JAMES HOPKIN".

Suggestions, comments, requests to be interviewed, please use form on the podcast page


Hop Podcast #5 - Dan Pape the longboarding visionary

Hop Podcast #5 - Dan Pape the longboarding visionary

Above photo by Yuji Fujiyama 

I wont lie,

Dan Pape is one of my favourite humans.

His enthusiasm, his ideas, his non stop ADHD means conversations fly around and you can get lost down rabbit holes. 

He was suppose to be my podcast number one, I pitched my podcast idea with Dan last year when I was planning to go to Japan. I caught up with Dan, talked all day, had a blast exploring Yokohama with him, and then realised I had not recorded anything! Doh! 

My headline says Dan is a visionary, or is he a polymath? Or maybe more an inventor? Longboarding's idea guy? In a way he is a skateboarding genius. He lives for ideas, it is like a type of madness for him, they flow from his brain, and he has a need to make them a reality. The difference between Dan and 99% of other skateboarders is execution. Dan lives the life, he works to make his visions come true and he has been doing this since the birth of downhill. I know that is a contentious statement, because in theory downhill has been around since the start of modern skateboarding in the 70's. For me, the epicentre of downhill and the birth of modern downhill skateboarding racing is in Canada in the late 90's and early 2000's. 

Interviewing Dan is like reaching back to those days and hearing all the stories. So many of them are connected to today's longboarding.  He are some of the things and people we talk about.

He raced at Bricin "Striker" Lyon's first Danger Bay race. He raced in Danger Bay from DB1 to DB10.

On Shore boards was his first skate project

This lead to Colabo. Team members we talk about are:

Kevin Reimer

Mike McGoldrick interview about his Nine Two Five board

Brianne Davies - Women's downhill World Champion

World's first Downhill Skateboard Video: Fellowship of the Bearing



Patrick Weir  - FOTB Drone pilot and the company he now works for is Peacemaker

Mack Dawg Productions snowboard videos that inspired Dan Pape

Lid Tech - aim to create the world's first downhill helmet 

School of Riding

Dan Pape videos

Dan's new website - check it out 

SkateSlate: we'll talk about this in part two...coming soon

Dan writes at Skate Slate Japan but more recently he has started getting creative on his new blog, covering a wide range of topics, not just skateboarding.

Colabo tee shirts!!

In collaboration with Dan, we are doing some limited edition OG Colabo t-shirts. There are two versions. The double sided one is Dan's version, and the other one is Hop's version. You choose, which one do you like best, order before we close off the deal. These are printed on demand. Order one, they are printed and shipped direct. If you are in Canada or USA, they are shipped fast and cheap because the print company is in the USA.