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    Hopkin Skate Blog — Gabe Gywnne

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    Gabe in Hawaii - the beginning, shoes optional

    It's day number 4 in Hawaii and to be honest I don't think I'll ever leave. The lifestyle that goes down in the house of Ethan Lau is easily the best way of living I have ever found. Fresh fruit from the jungle daily, butter smooth hairpins and driveways everywhere, friendly locals, no sharp things or poisonous snakes and spiders to look out for, meaning shoes are definitely not required AND you can ride in the back of a ute making hitchhiking or cruising with a big crew of skaters way too easy. When I first arrived at the airport in Honolulu it was easy enough to spot Ethan waiting for me. No shirt, no shoes and definitely no worries, the guy gives off some of the raddest vibes known to mankind. From when I saw the shaka flying out the window of the truck and the grin on his face I knew this was going to be a rad time.
    Don't worry be happy
    On the drive back to Ethan's I noticed a couple of things. For one, the landscape here is ridiculous. The whole chain of islands that makes up Hawaii is all a result from some gnarly volcanic activity which makes for some insanely unpredictable landscape. This also means that nearly all the roads here are paved with volcanic rock. If you didn't already know, Volcanic rock is the smoothest most predictable and forgiving pavement known to mankind, it's even nice to push around on barefoot! Another thing I noticed was the amount of people who had built their houses further and further up into the mountains. It clicked at once that every one of those lights up there had a road leading to it and there was no way in hell those roads were straight due to the crazy angles of the landscape. I had been here 15 minutes and was already frothing. After an epic feast of fresh fruit that Ethan had harvested that day and the welcome surprise of Daniel Hawes [aussie shredder, rides for Rayne camping out in the basement I passed out, stoked to wake up and explore the zone. The next morning myself and Dani woke up way to early and decided to go and shred the neighbourhood on some mini's. The whole area is skateboard friendly in terms of smooth footpath transitions and no sharp lips on driveways. I convinced Dani to dig the Hawaii vibes and remove his shoes prior to skating and I don't think I've ever seen someone so scared from bombing a little neighbourhood hill, it definitely takes some getting used to not being able to footbreak or run off your board [or crash for that matter]. After the first bomb Dani figured he could carve to keep his speed down and we were stoked. After a little shred and a trip to the supermarket we returned to the house to find Ethan and Nelly [Ethan's rad girlfriend who bakes us cookies] awake and stoked to take us into the jungle to do some avocado harvesting for our lunch. We drove up a local favorite run called Tantalust and about halfway up pulled off to the side of the road and followed Ethan into the jungle. After a short hike we came to a huge avocado tree, usually there would be some gnarly climbing involved but the tree had sensed our coming and dropped a handful of her best fruit into the soft ground for us, thank you avocado tree for the delicious lunch. Avocado sandwiches were followed by fresh dragonfruit and giant orange-grapefuit hybrid fruit which tastes amazing [also known as crystal nectar]. And then a swim at a spot known as the China Banks. The China Banks is a long rock platform that stretches out from one of Honolulu's many beaches. You jump off the rock into the ocean and then have to wait for a big wave to lift you back up to the rock edge to get out. Getting owned by the waves against a rock isn't all that bad when the water is the same temperature as a bath! Swimming made us thirsty indeed so the next stop was one of Ethan's coconut tree harvest spots. We ninja'd into an abandoned lot filled with coconut tree's and watched him ninja up with a machete between his teeth and send a shitload of coconuts flying down to us below. After very firm instructions on how to open the bastards without removing your fingers in the process, we were all slurping down fresh, sweet young coconut juice without mercy. Free nectar is the best nectar.
    Nectar or lose finger?
    Coconuts were followed by an expedition into the jungle to go swim at a waterfall and cliff jump. On the way in we stopped to harvest and sample a type of passionfruit that tastes like coconut and mango. I saw it way up in a tree and Ethan was up there like a monkey in seconds to grab it for us, it was ridiculously good. Another stop was made to do some tree climbing. Guava tree's are tall, thin, strong and incredibly flexible and they grow in really close proximity to each other. This means you can climb up one and then transfer from tree to tree for as long as you can stay up there. If you need to go further to reach the next promising looking branch you just shimmy further up the giant bendy tree and the whole thing bends in the direction you wish to travel. Apparently you can travel all the way down to the river via the trees but it takes a good amount of time and the sun was setting. Next time I'll strap a go-pro to my head and try to go the full distance, this is some next-level shit. Gabe mastering extreme Guava tree climbing
    Guava tree's were left to chill and the hike towards the waterfall continued. We descended into a valley and followed a creek all the way up until we reached the waterfall. If you have seen any videos of Hawaii on skatehousemedia or sector 9 you have probably seen this waterfall. The sickest part is the cliff jump right next to it. You have a deep spot about 2m by 2m to land in and a lot of unfriendly rocks if you miss. Just before I jumped Ethan went and sat up in the top of the waterfall and stopped the flow. You should have seen confusion on the tourists faces when the waterfall just stopped, the anticipation was hilarious. Then I jumped and the flow resumed and they all still couldn't see him up there messing with them. They were baffled. On the way out we harvested some bamboo shoots, these are so delicious in a stir-fry but are also really tricky to harvest and not all too plentiful. Hopefully we gather enough in the next few days to make an epic bamboo shoot pad thai. For dinner that night we went and ate some damn good cheap Sashimi, the huge influx of Japanese, Korean and Chinese in Honolulu means that there is good, cheap asian food wherever you go. Another win for Hawaii, HOORAY! To top it all off, we finished the day with a tray of freshly baked cookies thanks to Ethan's missus, Nelly. Thank you Nelly for the amazing cookies. Pretty much, Hawaii is THE SHIT, enough said. More updates coming soon, we're trying to make it out to the island of Kuwait next week for a few days. Flights are pretty cheap and apparently it's even more legit than where we are right now in terms of roads, fruit and lifestyle. I didn't think that was possible but hey, bring it! Gabe Hop's note: Skates for Sector 9 and makes videos for Skatehousemedia

    N-Tense D-Centz Day 4: Dawg, Jacko and the new team Jedus

    The continuing story of Dawg and his quest for hills thrills and spills Words by Mr Adam Yates esquire Word of the Day: "Tu Meke" (too mek eh) - Too Much The main plan was to get to Jacko in Hamilton by mid arvi. Usual runtime time in the morning eh. The crew are getting it down, so it all just runs pretty smooth, we're getting it organised reasonably early. Today we're chasing a road that never been sk8d on the other side of Lake Rotorua. For those that are familiar with Makara, it was to be like it! exciting!!! yeah, aghhhh, not really. Mondo rough and not anything really that exciting. Don't knock me though. still sick to be out on the road n turning wheels. Wake up and Roll ya know!! yew!! So we been learning maori words for the last two days. Bodhi's doin a hell job throwin down the local knowledge. Today's Maori word was "Tu Meke". it means too much. Yesterday's word was "Waka"(waa ka). This one I liked. It is simply the vessel that gets you from A to B. That be anything that transports your arse, e.g.: LONGBOARD or Canoe? Hamilton, again for me, but the for the Tour was to be their first visit to see the man and how he'd pulled up from his surgery. I'm sooo glad that he's got his mumzi here. Made his stay a great deal more homely I'm sure, yeah mumzi!! Lea had gone out and got Jacko a rad caramel mud cake and 23 shitty poof candles. yew!! Reckon he had no worries smashing the lot! ha. Off to Whangamate ( funga-mada) for the night. 90 minutes North of Hamilton. On the way we passed through a town called Tirua, aka "Tin town". Everything here was tin. Tin dawg, tin sheep, tin car, tin flowers. Token ozzi, Shazza (ville) has taken the challenge of makin rad words out of Concrete Wave stickers. Team JEDUS is born with everyone getting one of Shazza's DIY creations. Shitty weather has set in. nooooo. I'm really hoping that the weather clears up. Headin up the north I think we're in for some clearer weather and smoother roads. Talks been about this hill, Coromandel. meant to be pretty sweet, butter smooth and a heap of turns eh, can't wait. Lets hope the rain gods are on our side and they'll allow mondo jedus stoke sessions to take place. Bodhi again has hooked up the accommodation at a backpackers and smashing some grub Bucko's, the local pub with grub n cold beer. Please rain gods, let us see the sun an some blue skies, meke aroha ( much love). Dawg

    N-Tense D-Centz Day 3

    I'm really behind here on following the tour. Yatesy has been sending me stuff almost every day and I have been loving it but not sharing. The usual excuses that unfortunately does not include too much skating. So remember, these are updates from last week: Day 3 by Adam Yates brought to you by those downhill bombin criminals at Landyachtz Woke this morn to the tune of "happy birthday to you". Twas the big poofs birthday and just cause he was in the hospital was no excuse not to call the man. It was an ensemble of youth mixed with the perfect harmony of 10 waking sk8ers. Man we have lovely voices! This good vibe set the mood for the morning and the crew were stoked to hit the road even though the weather wasn't the best. Bodhi had called a bridge jump, white water rafting and a hot river swim. to get it all done we had to bounce by 10am. Motivation was teasing the jedus and we were on the road by 9:40am. After breaki on the road to Rotorua, we sussed out a few of the local hills in the immediate surrounding areas. No good. NZ chip seal bro! Passed a Geothermal Power Plant, and a cloud factory- indeed where clouds come from according to the kiwi?? Bridge jump @ Araiatia Dam on rapids rd. Well the names got the goods, does the spot?
    From the bridge, looking up river, a series of rapids and hell lil water features. Looking down, an eddy and a few big brown trout hangin, snapping bugs from the surface. Bodhi got his shit on so I followed suit. Turned out when we walked to the bridge edge, it was covered in barbed wire with the piss ant gap to hang through. Roughly 8 meters, hang in drop. Bodhi stood there and basically just said to me do it! I've done it. jump there. better make it quick? deal with this joint is that every day they release a mondo slab of water that pits the entire river below. not somewhere u wanna be, even if u stoked on getting pitted yo! It was now or never. drop i did. cold yes. i didn't hang around. Craigos was next to drop. Yeah bra! All the time while, Benbro and Gabwagh were rigging up Kellys line to catch the trout. Not to be with all that noise, sorry boys! Next was the Kaituna River and the home of Kaitiaki Adventures and their Team of sickunts that spread stoke up to 4-5 times a day.
    This river was a class R5 or what I took in, pretty serious- can do you damage sorta river - pay respects eh! Rolled in and the bus was stoked to get amongst it. Once again Bodhi got it done and hooked the N-Tense D-Centz crew up with the mondo goods. Free!!!! At a quick glance at the board and the cost of sending peeps down per head was 85 kiwi dollar. This adventure fuel stoked kuzzi crew were hookin us up around 1000 bucks of rafting. Hell. Come raft with this mob for sure!!
    Come raft with this mob for sure
    Ok so after the basic set up it was down the river and the proper respects paid, the traditional prayer," karakia". Basic rundown of the Maori tradition, the river was once used as a burial ground in the early days and to say a prayer…. upon riding and even in each little section, is just respect. It was crazy the amount of respect the locals paid nature! The water was "full" as they called it, basically meaning that the final water fall was to be 5-6 meters. There's hell opportunities for "pitted" status. I was in a raft with Bohdi, Leone, Speedy, Bondi, and the token ozzy, Shazza- aka Ville, the fin. maaaaate! I ended up in the drink before the boats ... thanks Bodhi!
    Getting pitted
    BOOM in, down we go. Top section was mellow and fun but I could feel the volume in the current and I realised that these guys were serious. Cool. Gedus flowing strong the second was sorta the same just a lil more. The power of the water was gaining in each meter we dropped. 1400 metres in total distance and a vertical drop of 62 metres. The third was the next to come. We lined up behind and dropped the 6 meter drop. It was pretty epic eh. The whole session left the crew all buzzed. frothing we threw down a few boxes of beer for the boys and spono'd them with a sticker pack from hell 4 the efforts and hit the road for the arvi to session a full blown 5 star lodge and its supposedly siiik driveway. 20 minutes we rocked up at the lodge. The road wasn't so cool but the crew was keen to turn wheels. I found it more interesting chasing baby pigs with Bondi while Gabe and Marrisa took the liking of havin chickens sit on their shoulders. Farm yard fun done and off to the accommodation for the nyt. Campin by Lake Rotorua in some cozy lil setup and the hell feed of tacos cooked up by Bennbro. I'm stoked to have spent the day in such a positive way.

    NZ Tour 2012: man down in a game changing crash

    Words by Yatesy DAY 5 How to put this. best place ever. Yeah Julia for hookin us up with the hell pad. such a comfy base called home even if it was for a few days, ur home was ours and we treated it as such!! Journey north to Ruapehu. what a day. the crew hit the road early with the kitchen a cookin in town of wellington. best bakery pie and sanga combo ever and a quick stop over for the boys to get rugged up at campers paradise before the journey to Mordor! Best way to describe the trip is one of Gabes earlier photos. A to B on NZ roads- allow more time. We certainly took the long way and that was no more pronounced than the drive that took us through Rimutaka Mountain Pass. Wet as hell, bendy as and just as tight as a rich man's wallet. A lil too gnar to turn wheels so enjoy we did from the comfort of the IMAX. Man this truly was the country of Hobbits eh. Furns, Waterfalls and all things mondo kuzzi styles. All we needed was a few Kiwis and Moa's to be shreddin the shit with us. Co pilot for the journey Benbro and I felt the need to share the stoke with a Tui or two. oioi! Ok so now we'd been driving for the best part of 6 hours and all everyone wanted to do was turn wheels and get hella pitted on Mt Ruapehu. Stopped at a gas station to fill up and get our munch on as its been a SAFE journey as always. Can never be too safe eh. Especially on roads your unfamiliar with. I asked the Luvvi at the gas station what the mountain was doin. her reply was " see that cloud au, its behind there and blowing like mad bro" haaaaaa. again. too much chur bro kuzzzi tafe eh!! Anyways, full of treats but slightly devod we journeyed into the sun of the afternoon to look upon Mordor and its heavy clouds. booooooo. Benbro was shattered. I was too. I'm sure just quietly everyone wanted to see all its glory, not hidden behind the weather. Turn right into the Whakapapa Village and Mordor was there in all her glory. Still she had a cover of cloud on the lid but the landscape was that of the moon. Rocks and nothing but lumps and bumps. So to the road. Butter pavement again and NO straights, just mondo turn after hectic hell super grip fun as f&ck turns yo!! Thing I've been leaving out is the wind! Try in the ball park of 50-60knt ( 120-130k/p/h) and blowing down her tight tidy curves. After a few runs down with the boys, Gabe, Benbro, Jack, Bondi, Myself and Luca all had our jedus running full tilt. Nothing sets off the flow than skidding down one of the most epic roads in the world with a tailwind of 120kms?? CRAZY??? Stayed at the top of Ruapehu in some dorms that Bodhi and Speedy hooked up. Mate, hats off to u two. U really got the Crew sorted in some hell accommodation. Anyone thinking of N-tense D-centz tour for 2013, DO IT. GET ER DONE EH!!!! these boys run it proper. Hell feed cook up by Kuzzi Ash, rounds of beer pong and some beats, need less to say it was good times! DAY 6 --- DAY 1 of the N-tense D-centz It was to be an early rise with the excitement of a whole day of sk8in Mt Ruapehu. the whole crew were buzzing. the conditions were sunny and dry but still hella windy. Not the intensity of the previous afternoon but the gusts were still ferocious none the less. A quick bite to eat and a stretch and punters were getting stoked and it wasn't long before the call was made. Speedy got us into gear and Bodhi warmed the bus. Here it was, Day 1 of the tour and what a place to be. Standing with all ya buddies on top of a volcano, stoked on the ride ahead. An unfortunate turn of events was just around the next bend, literally. As I stated earlier, the gusts were violent and the unpredictable nature of them was to be the undoing of my brother, a true soldier, Jacko Shapiera. As he puts it, he was coming into the top section not really feeling it. He didn't feel comfortable and as he took a long sweeping left turn, a violent gust held him off his apex and forced him to put it into a slide with no chance of controlling the apex and eventually drifting into oncoming traffic. Lucky for Jack that the driver had seen the events unfolding on the road in front and slowed nearly to a stop, minimising impact. I was around 150 metres behind and didn't see the impact but to come around the bend to see ya wingman looking back at ya - words were not needed here to know how he was feeling and the unfortunate result of the accident. A true professional as always, Jacko controlled himself in a manner that was a lil un-natural. He was calm. Portraying himself as a professional, even under these unforgiving circumstances. The 1st response team for the mountain were quick in getting a splint on and the particular things they do in an emergency. They called St Johns and he was off to hospital for x-rays and a cast. This wasn't the final trip for the man today. A total of 3 and a half hours in the back of ambulances, 15mgs of morphine and 4 bottles of what the docs call " jungle juice" and we were at Hamilton and Waikato Hospital. After being emitted into the E and A, Jack went in for surgery to re-correct a sever compound fracture to the Tibia/Fibia bones of his right lower leg. I cannot begin to describe the emotion that we shared on the way to the hospital. Words sometimes are just for those involved. I will say, I love Jacko like a brother, he's like blood. Kindred. This was to be a massive year for Jackson Shapiera and to have it all taken away in one powerful stroke from the hand of god just seems cruel. There must be different plan for Jacko this year. Whatever it may be I'm sure it will be GREAT and to say that Jacko will be a serious contender when he gets back from rehabilitation is a warning to the world. This guy does things right and usually gets what he wants. Bro, anything, anytime. U holla at ya wingman eh! Open letter from Rob and Maga McWhinnie to Jacko Maga: Accidents are going to happen, its all part of the sport and the risky life style we live. It could happen to you or the person you love the most. Jacko my friend, you are probably surprised and devo'd, from my experience I can tell you time flies, if you keep yourself busy and open to opportunities, wounds heal if you give them the right care and when some doors close many others open for more positive adventures. Acostambo got Rob and me closer and we had the trip of a life time, Rob became a talented filmmaker, I started skating and fell in love with the speed and adventure and we realized that accidents are part of sport but also part of our life. If we decide to learn from them, we could get many other fantastic adventures and grow up in life. Experiences are the direct way to learn and make us wise. love ya jackson, Maga Rob: Jackbro, I'm shocked and still coming to terms with what you've done, I logged online last night to upload a video about returning to Acostambo, where I destroyed my leg years ago and found that you too had destroyed yours, funny timing, I hope you watch the movie and see my perspective, how things like this make and create us and direct our lives. A huge thanks to the rest of the team that helped you to hospital and gave you support when you needed it. I'm sure all of you are a bit rattled by the events and I think a team safety meeting is in order to recap and rethink the year ahead. Jacko you will be dearly missed from Kiera and Newtons. you are our coach and leader and I hope your continue to inspire us and push us to be better riders. See you home soon bro, Rob

    NZ Tour 2012: Day 4

    Before I post the big one, I have to catch up and tell you a tale by Gabe that landed in my inbox. There will be a few posts today, be patient, I'll get to them all in the next hour. It will become apparent fairly quick why there has been no NZ blog posts the last 48 hours. Words by Gabe Gwynne We awoke late on Sunday morning, some had decided to hit the town the night before and it was pretty late in the day before we rounded the whole crew into the van and off to the slide jam that had been mentioned at the race the day before. The prospects were looking good as we rolled up into the suburban estates of North Wellington. But as we neared the top it became apparent that the hill was copping a gnarly headwind....FUUUUUUCK! After a handful of full tuck slide hill runs [yes, you literally had to tuck into each slide] Team Hopkin decided to not be a part of the competition. We chilled and jammed down the hill while the local groms battled it out for domination of the full tuck slide hill. After a solid couple of hours of jamming the hill, the winners were announced. In first place was young Luke Steezy Scott, the kid was killing it all day with his smooth toeside 180's and switch checks. Just behind him with pretty much equal steeze was Ryan MacMillan. Unfortunately we forgot the name of the dude who got 3rd, he was a tiny grom in a red shirt who was ripping mega monkey heel styles down the hill with some serious balls. Whoever you were little grom dude, you were rad! After a few full runs of the estate the jam was held on, we jumped in the van and followed the convoy of cars to a skatepark a few minutes down the road. As we came around the corner and saw the park there was an eruption of frothing and general stoke. I had never seen a park like this before, every single bank had a perfect transition for getting pitted on a longboard. The banks were massive, flowy and smooth and to make it even better there was a goddamn bomb INTO THE PARK! You could pick how far up the hill you wanted to bomb in from for ultimate pittage. After a quick jam I decided to chill in the sun and take some shots of the boys ripping it up - hope you like them!