By Jackson Shapiera It has been a long and epic 2 days.
We packed into a van on Thursday afternoon and head off for Auckland. It was awesome skating in Wellington, the terrain there is so unique and the layout of each suburb creates so many different types of hills to skate on. The most hectic part of it is that most of the epic downhill runs are through the city. You can be bombing down a road for maybe 2 or 3k's going through fast straights and sweeping corners and even hairpin turns, but running through traffic lights and keeping eyes out for side-streets and traffic. They feel like runs you want to ride a solid downhill rig on and hammer at mach 10 but riding through the city gives it a whole new perspective. On the way out of Wellington we stopped at this amazing hill called Paekakariki for a few runs. The scenery on this hill was beautiful. The hill runs along the side of a mountain thats right on the coast. Its fast and really turny, the whole time we were flying down the hill navigating the pavement changes and the steep windy sections but at the same time taking in one of the most amazing views I've seen in a long time. Local shredder Api is really stepping up the game and charging like a warrior. Its been fun to skate with the crew here and to see how they have progressed since last I was here.
After Paekakariki, the plan was to travel to a town close to Mt Ruapehu to find somewhere to sleep and get up for some mountain runs first thing in the morning. The reality was, we had so much fun skating the last hill, that we ended up at the bottom of the Mt Ruapehu way past 1am. No where open. So the last resort was to rough it out and sleep in the grass or make some form of bedding arrangement in the van and try get as much sleep as possible. Which for me, unfortunately, didn't work out to well. On the bright side, when the morning sun hit, everyone was keen to get up and get on with the day. Skateboarding down a volcano in that magic hour of first light was just incredible. The layout there is so barren from the active volcano that it has turned its surroundings to just jagged rock and steep slopes, but has one of the most epic, fast and smoothest paved roads New Zealand has to offer running down from just below the peak. Flying down the road at nearly 95ks with the rising sun on our back overlooking a sea of clouds shrouding the valley below the mountain has ticked the list of top 10 most memorable moments of my life. We got at least 8 runs in before the legs said no more and then piled back into the van and continued on to Auckland. When we got here we went and checked out the race hill and had a quick riders meeting to check out what is planned for the Double Down Outlaw. We also got to have a few runs of the hill and skate with some of the local crew. There's a lot of keen longboarders here ready to have a dig for first place, so it will be rad to see how it all pans out on Saturday.