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Gabe's Summer of Shred

We asked Gabe to give us a run down on where he is touring this year in the Northern summer... [Gabe] Finally, the time has come. Sydney is getting colder, the warmth of summer fading away into Autumn, its time to go shred another summer. On Monday begins an epic adventure of wheelyboarding, since coming back from my last adventure to the northern hemisphere all I have been thinking about is planning my next trip to the land of endless canyon roads and crazy shredders who say Duuuuude way too much. Last year I only got to spend a week and a half in California, which is nowhere near enough time to skate the variety of roads on offer. That's OK, this time ill have a solid month of shredding not only in California but at the Maryhill Freeride in Washington, Buffalo Bill in Colorado and Ditch Slap in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ditch Slap is held in several different ditches in Albuquerque, ranging from tight, steep ditches to huge, open monster ditches that run for miles and have 30 foot banks on each side. there are stories of kingpins snapping due to the speed you hit the transition coming back down, scary shit! After a 5 weeks skating Cali I'll be jumping on a plane with the Sector 9 crew and flying up to Vancouver, B.C to meet fellow Aussie shredders Kam Kite, Kelly Carter and Jacko and shred down some sweet runs in Vancouver's British Properties. After a couple of days in Vancouver we'll be driving onto a ferry which will take us to Pender Harbour for Danger Bay 10 and Jakes Rash with plenty of shredding the local hills in between. After Jakes Rash we'll make our way back down to Vancouver for the Britannia Classic [Gold Rush]. This is easily my favorite event, three days of freeriding and racing down one of B.C's sickest hills with pretty much every shredder in North America. what more could you ask for? The Britannia Classic is the last race in Vancouver but I'll be hanging around skating the BP's, South Vancouver, Cypress and Seymour Mountains and hopefully making a trip down to Summerland to skate my favorite hill in Canada, Giants Head. After 8 months of recurring dreams of that road I think its time to go back and skate it again. A few weeks after Britannia I'll be driving up to Kewlona to ride the hill I missed out on last year. I have heard many a tale of how awesome the road is and definitely don't want to miss it again this year, I might be able to grab a ride up with none other than Tony Graves, who until recently was the resident Canadian at Hopkin Skate. Soon after Kewlona I'll be flying back down to California for a few weeks before driving back out to Maryhill for the Festival of Speed. Tuck races aren't really my piece of cake but it will be rad to experience the crazy party that is Maryhill, I'll be sleeping in my leathers for extra firework protection that's for sure. Then it will be back to Cali for another 5 weeks of intensive shredding before flying down to Sao Paulo, Brazil to visit family and skate some gnarly rainforest roads with Dalua down in Porto Alegre. Hoping to hook up with Marcelo Costa again, he took me out to all the raddest spots to get sideways last time I was there and ripped down hills like a mofo on his tech slide board. Here's a short video I took of him about a year ago, I'm scared to think how hard he's ripping now... Marcelo Costa From Brazil I'm flying back home to aussieland, hopefully right when its starting to get warm again ;) See you all in 5 Months, look out for my blog posts on whats going down with the races, the riders and the swag [gear]. Peace Gabe

Gabe on Vernon and Giants Head the best hill he has ever skated

Here is Gabe's account of the Vernon Downhill weekend.

Just got back from Vernon, what a trip it was! Jacko, Leigh, Bow and myself drove the team Ozzie car down on Friday afternoon. We set up camp at a campsite about 200m away from Okanagan Lake and had an early night to get some rest for freeriding and qualis the next day. On Saturday we awoke to a hot, sunny day and after a breakfast of bagels and coffee drove up to the hill to start practice. The hill runs through a residential neighbourhood and has two main corners. From the top you kick off down a slight left hand sweeper and tuck through two very mellow sweepers, the road drops away to the right and you come hauling into the first tight lefty at about 70. Most people were throwing down small heelside checks into it but K-rimes took the fastest time of the day by standing up and surfing a big, clean line through the left. The people throwing down footbreaks were getting booed by the crowd of local mega groms (none older than about 12) hyped up on sugar and Strikers booming voice through the microphone. After the left hander there's a flat, slightly sloping straight that drops down into a right hander, this corner was just a bit less than a hairpin and required no braking for. It had a nasty little rough patch running across the apex which threw me off in both my quali's. After the right hander there was a pretty slow straight which dropped down to the finish line. After the first day Jacko had qualified 13th with myself, leigh and bowditch all managing to crash out and place pretty terribly. The next day we were back at the hill and psyched for some tight, gnarly racing. We got another 5 practice runs before the heats began. I had switched over from my dropped through Killswitch to my Voodoo Doll and was feeling much more comfortable through the corners. First up were the Junior heats. To start I had a 5 man heat against a few fast juniors, one of them Alex Tongue from Portland, he was the fastest qualifying junior placing 11th overall. I was second off the push and held it all the way through the race, just hanging off Alex's draft the whole way down. Boom! I was in the finals. In the finals I had Wolfgang Coleman; who rides for Landyachtz, Alex; who rides for Eastside Longboards, and Mike Slota; who rides for Rayne. Again I took second place off the push, this time right behind Alex getting sucked down the hill by his draft. Coming into the left hander he stood up and airbraked and I had to push him into the corner to avoid tangling up. I managed to push him off, throw a lightning fast heelside check, sneak on his inside and pass him coming out of the corner, I WAS WINNING! I held first place down the straight to the right hander, and just as I came through the apex I hit the rough patch at the wrong angle and slid out into the bales... shit happens eh. After the Junior, Women's and Streetluge races the Open's started. Most of the first heats were two man heats so no-one was trying very hard, almost everyone would continue to round 2. Bowditch got unlucky and had a three man heat with two fast riders, he crashed out in the lefty and was knocked out. Leigh crashed on his first too but managed to push off hard and take 2nd place. Jacko and I had two man heats so we were in no matter what. Round two Leigh and I were knocked out, I had Dalua and a Vernon local who were both out in the lead the whole way, I took third place and spent the rest of the day sitting on top of the Loco and watching the carnage on the lefty. Jacko made it through to the semi finals but had a tough heat and was knocked out. He almost took first in the consolation final but was beaten by Mischo by his hand. We partied hard that night at the campground and climbed a hill to watch the sunrise over the mountains and lake, beautiful place. After crashing out at about 7.30AM we woke around midday and convoyed to Giants Head with the Loco to do some gnar shredding. Giants Head was easily the BEST hill I have ever skated. Steep, one lane wide with 13 hairpins, all butter smooth and perfectly slippery. It took me three runs to do the whole thing without a hand down, in some sections I was having to bust big standup slides at 50-60 into these tight, gnarly hairpins. After 7 runs I had taken about 16mm off my Sector9 freeride wheels. These wheels were amazing for throwing down big, fast standup 180s and checks. Yates, Leigh, Jacko and I camped at Giants Head for the night, Bowditch went back to Vancouver on the Loco with a pretty nasty staph infection, he was breaking out in hives and wasnt looking too healthy, he's just gone to the hospital now to have another checkup. Today we woke to cloudy skies and before we could even get our gear on it started pissing down with rain, Leigh hadn't skated the day before and was mega bummed at not being able to shred down Canada's best hill, silly bugger! Unfortunately we didn't get any footage of Giants Head, our GoPro's were dead from Vernon. This Thursday we're flying out to California, Evren is coming to pick me up from the airport. I'll be staying with him in one of the gnarliest areas of cali, Laguna Beach. At the moment our boards are locked in the boot of the team Aussie car, the lock was bent somehow and now we cant open it and get out gear out! Talk to you soon! Gabe