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It's the end of the world IGSA and do I feel fine?

Sorry this looks like it will be a long blog post. First to Jacko words from Calgary: Such a boring day, everything took so long to happen. Things got a little bit out of hand at the end of the day when it was 4.30 pm and they haven't even started the downhill skateboarding finals. The riders were in an up-roar. Things were running so slowly for no reason. In the end the skaters took over. We rallied together and ran our own heats. I was at the top ready to walk down the track filming the finals but as nothing was happening, I was lurking at the top for a good 2 hours waiting for something to happen and watching all the skaters start to get a little anxious as to why everything was running so slowly. In the end the crew had enough, Kevin was stepping up and telling the guy on the start line to pull his shit together and start acting like the guy at the top, get the heats ready and prompt the rest of the track to get ready for racing. There were too many chiefs, not enough indians. Everyone wanted things to happen but it just slowed things down and no one was really focusing on getting things done quick. Kevin and I got our loud voices together and rallied all the skaters up in their heats and put them on the start line and then just started running the heats ourselves. They were running coloured arm bands to distinguish which rider was which (which was kind of pointless as every rider had numbers on their helmets) but there were not enough bands to go around. The general consensus was the honor system - if you did not come 3rd or higher, just go sit down. If you crashed in your heat and you're going to lose, get off the track. All the riders agreed on these terms and racing got under way. Because of the lack of arm bands I guess the IGSA wigged out and couldn't get it together. James Kelly was getting through rounds and was put down as out within the first few heats, when someone called Roger Jones was getting through. Riders were just sick of the fuck-arounds and just worked together to make sure everyone knew what heat they were in and who was in the next round. Once things got under way it all ran well like a machine, until 5.30 came along (about half way through round 2) and the chairlift was shut down for the day. DEEEERRRP. No we are back to shuttles, how fun. In the end the race got run and crew raced hard, James won the race and is now world champ, as you would have read in previous blogs, but right here I'm just describing the f around all the riders had to pay over $200 for. Here is what Kevin said on his Facebook page Hop's words: Watching the video from Australia, it was clear there was a problem. We were saw the skaters organizing themselves, Kevin standing up in front announcing something. Without any words to go with the pictures, I was joking, Kevin was asking if there was anyone here not on Aera flow?  We didn't realize it was a complete break down in race organisation, we just assumed it was an IGSA race organisation slow down, not melt down. I'm not an IGSA apologist but if a race organizer has problems, it is unfair to blame IGSA. Essentially IGSA is an umbrella organisation for a group of race promoters. I don't personally know all of them but I am assuming some are businessman, some are fellow racers and some are non profit organisations. The goal for all of them is to make money or to make a profit. Losing money is not a good business model, it has no future. Some promoters might say we aim to break even but there is always a small profit built in for those cost over runs. The biggest myth in this sport is the one that race organizers or IGSA are making lots of money. In Australia, ASRA closes a road down for three days, the budget is way over the $50,000 rider fees that can potentially be collected. If you start reducing budgets to increase prize money then it is the safety of competitors that will be compromised in the long term. It is not just poor organizers that lose money on events. ASRA was looking down the barrel of huge money loss at Mt. Keira this year but four sponsors stepped up and saved the day: Landyachtz, Loaded and JHS Distribution. Oh and the fourth sponsor was that place you will buy your next longboard at :-) I would like to say that Marcus Rietema is in my top 10 longboarding heroes. Our community and world would be a far different place without his dedication. Skaters say they would do this sport without getting paid, but guaranteed the top racers in the world would look very different if no one got prize money, no one got sponsor paid or flowed gear for the last 5 years. Marcus has essentially worked for a decade and not got paid. Yet he still smiling at every IGSA race, he does not dummy spit that media companies outside of our community don't see the value in what we do or if his organisation gets let down by amateur race promoters. Lets get real here. This is an amateur sport, run by volunteers. Aren't we all just faking it until we make it? You are not a professional sports person unless you can make enough money in your career to retire. Making money to pay the month's expenses is not my definition of pro. That is a job like working in a skateshop. How come IGSA gets the blame when an event is run poorly but the event organizer gets praised when it goes right? ASRA is sometimes held up as an excellent race organizer but IGSA never gets any credit. Double standards? Here is the problem. This sport can not rely on its own industry to support all the aspects for a world wide downhill competition. Brands such as Landyachtz are paying for racers equipment, travel expenses, then they are asked to pay for event sponsorship! There are plenty of other soft costs that never get accounted for, such as closing down a business so the staff can go volunteer or race at an event. This sport does not have a "boardshorts" product like the surfing industry, that is high margin and can be sold to the mainstream. Skateboarding does, it's called skate shoes but the skateboard brands ain't going to let longboarders or racers into that feeding trough unless they can dress the longboarder up as a street skater and leverage off something they are not involved in. Be careful for what you wish for. Going independent, and to be successful would mean no prize money for a few years. The reason ASRA is so successful is it is run by volunteers that don't get paid and who DON'T compete. ASRA essentially is a group of people from all parts of the community with a passion for skateboard racing. They bring those diverse skills together to make something happen. They also have thick skins that can tolerate abuse. They work stupid long hours, and give up a lot of personal time to make shit happen. Why kill something like IGSA that has so much history and goodwill behind it? If you design some trucks, make them and the axles keep bending do you kill the whole project, start a new company with a new name and try again? No, you do the evaluation and then redesign. What we have here, is a failure to communicate. If riders are not happy, they should get more involved in IGSA not start a new version of IGSA. IGSA and Marcus needs to be more flexible. This sport has evolved, it needs to change and make itself more relevant. It appears IGSA is designed around the notation of creating content for TV. There is no TV deal coming, what our community represents is everything TV is fighting against. Free online content. Our community and sport is like no other in the world. They have grown up on the internet, they consume more internet than anyone else because what they want to watch is not on TV so they use the internet to create the TV they want to watch. The genie is out of the bottle, it is not going back in. As a community, are we going to watch TV to see our sport? Think about where you were, what you were doing when Newtons was broadcast on Youtube or Calgary was broadcast on Ustream. We like content creators like Brian and Push Culture because we can consume our sport whenever we want. TV only works if we are willing to tune in at 7.30 pm on a Friday night to watch the sport. I don't care how cool you think you are, the audience for downhill is the million plus longboarders out there not Joe and Betty mainstream. It should be broadcast online, there should be mainstream sponsors like food, drink, and apparel because those million longboarders do consume. Race organizers need to understand when they are in over their head, they need to ask for help. What is so bad about competitors stepping it up and helping organize an event? Be the change you want to be. Competitors should stop expecting that their money buys them 24 hour concierge service at an event. There should be a riders representative at every event not to complain to but to organize some riders to help out. Riders should take more responsibility. At Newtons there was two volunteers dedicated to finding downhill riders for their race. How ridiculous is that! This blog post is not about blame. It is about pointing out that there are a lot of reasons why things go bad. I am not opposed to an independent tour. I actually think it is a good idea, something that is needed to give IGSA some competition and improve the overall scene. Destroying IGSA will only set the sport back 5 years of development. If the riders feel frustrated, I'm sorry to break the bad news to you, the pain will only get worse. As this sport grows, the grommets you laugh at will be the ones that reap the benefit of all this early pioneering. Rod Laver one of the greatest tennis players of all time made 1.5 million in prize money during his whole career, he was one of the first of the reap the benefit of the "open" or professional era. Over a decade later Borg was the first to win a million dollars in a season (1979). Fast forward 34 years: whoever wins the Australian Open next year will win over 2.3 million dollars, but it is all relative, sometimes even that is not enough.

Hopkin Racing Team's Map of Tassie Tour - Day Two

Day Two in the Team's Show Us Your Map of Tassie tour. In today's ozzie adventure ... words by Adam Yates Day Two: tastes like ...mmm...west coast. Woke after spending the night at the crazy haunted feel of the Empire Hotel, fresh and ready to hit some more of the "gold".

View from the Empire Hotel, Queenstown Tasmania

Hung round town and got our feed on and bought some epic seconds from the local vinnies store. The lady inside was stoked to help out a group of good lookn young fellas from " the mainland".

Bennie: Clothes by Vinnies, Attitude by Rocky

The hill didn't feel like it did the arvi before. No sun and no headwind meant for some fast edging lines with some extra vision leading into some turns. We chilled here, sessioned a bit, filmed, talked to other travelers and basically just jammed on one of the funnest hills I've ever ridden. A few drops and a drive by of one of the local 5-0, the team decided to go bouldering before the journey north. An abandoned mine pit was too much to pass up!! Boulders were rolled and shit got rad! The rain was bout to set in down here. peace Queenstown, thanks.

Sponsor signage done - cnr of Batchelor and Philip before the Lyell

We had a plan to go explore and discover more gold. The drive is absolutely amazing, from one extreme to the other. Massive mountains to rolling hills. One thing was obvious, shit was getting steep, some of these would be great if it wasn't for the surface. soldier on. Hellyer Gorge. middle bum f$#k no-where. The pavement was sweet butter sweet and a bit of a leg burn of a 7km run. Smooth winding curves mixed with the odd dropping switchback and we were turning wheels and screaming "hell- yer"!! Krew in tassie love it! It's epic. everyone is stoked to see us coin something so different. again, got a photo with a few local grey nomads, shared the stoke and luny bound to be. Cradle Mountain National Park was basically at the epic-centre of our south-western journey and there it was, outta nowhere a lookout and a 10% hwy bomb. Looked sweet. "hit it up dawg" was the call and me and Jacko hit into it blind. hitting the 90's and BOOM. cattle grid. turns out we'd journeyed into cattle country. All was good. Cops in Tassie have treated us well. no complaints. Tassie cops are rad!! Into Launceston real late, as usual getting the most outta every hour of light turning wheels. Screwed around getting eats, lurked in Coles' carpark, hooked up a floor to kip on and there it is. day two done. This Yatedawg moment bought to you on a Landyachtz

Hey Jacko, that's Lake Burbury, you fool

Mischo smokes Kevin's bacon - Teutonia race report

Teutonia 2011 through Jackson Shapiera's eyes: The day is done and a Champion is born. Mischo Erban dominated the race and was crowned 2011 IGSA world champion. Riding the hill for the first time is a scary thing. Getting comfortable on it and trying to gain speed and control is the next step. But racing someone down the hill is a whole new level. Once you hit a certain speed, the power of a draft is amplified so much. Being able to sit in someone's slip stream and time it right means you can boost on past and take the lead, however passing too soon opens up the opportunity for your opponent to get into your draft and pass you back. Finding the right time to make a pass is key, but one of the most difficult things to do while racing on this hill. If you let your opponent get too far ahead at the start and you have no draft, game over. If you make a pass too soon and open up for your opponent down the straight at the end, game over. Its so hard to pick the right time to pass, you have to make decisions quickly and figure it out as you go. Having experience on this hill is important. It really showed that the people who have skated and raced here before are the ones who come out on top. It would be extremely hard for one to just show up for the first time and win (unless your name is Kevin Reimer). The Brazilians who know this hill train so hard to be strong for the race, once you go up against someone who is OG at Teutonia, your day is pretty much over. My first round I was lucky enough to have someone with not much experience on the hill, so I pretty much got a free ticket to round two. The next round I had an amazing race with a local Brazilian. Not sure how many times he has raced here before but he gave me a run for my money! The lead changed 3 times before hitting the sweeper, and I decided to open up coming into the turn to try get into a good position for the straight. After he passed me through the turn I got right back into the draft and as we hit over 100kph, it was like pressing the button for the nitrous, and boom away I went! Unfortunately for me, my qualifying position was not ideal, so the next round I was up against Kevin Reimer. It was so good be on the race track with Kevin again, physically he might not be 100%, but mentally he is in perfect form. This is key for racing this hill. I pretty much didn't stand a chance, his start was much better than mine and he was able to pick a quick line through the first drop to pull away and give me no draft at all. I was unable to keep up with him coming into the steep section so he pretty much just peaced out and owned the place. It was unfortunate that my day was over, but in a way it was good as I was able to sit on the track and watch some amazing racing unfold. Coming into the Semi Finals, it was the same 4 riders as last year: Kevin, Danky, Mischo and Dalua. However this year the positions had swapped. Mischo was facing Kevin, Danky was facing Dalua. Mischo had been in top form all day, he was happy with his ability and technique on the hill and after every run there was the biggest smile on his face. The one who is winning is usually the one having the most fun. Coming into the straight, Mischo had a solid lead on Kevin, he was able to carry his speed and distance all the way to the finish line and claim the first spot in the finals. In the 2nd round of the Semi Finals, Danky was leading Dalua down the final straight. Danky has lots of experience on this hill and knows how to hold a solid tuck. Dalua was so close behind that when he would get a speed boost from the draft, he did not have enough distance to build up momentum to get passed him. Unfortunately for Dalua, he was stuck behind Danky all the way to the finish line and did not make it into the finals. In the finals, Kevin and Dalua were swapping the lead into the final straight and ended up in a drag race, side by side. Kevin was forced onto the left lane and hit the same chunder patch Dalua hit last year in the finals, he broke tuck for a split second and allowed Dalua to take the lead and claim 3rd place. With Mischo against Danky, it was all over before it began. Mischo's skill on the hill was far superior than Danky's on this day, and he was charging way out in front all the way to the finish line. It was such an amazing race to watch, the demand for skill and precision on this track is something I was not expecting. Being a part of this race has really opened my eyes to a new form of racing and I feel privileged to experience it. The day before I rode the hill, I was shitting my pants and afraid of what was to come. The day after the race, I was already so excited to come back for more! Videos from Jackson's mobile Second Semi Final Teutonia 2011 Danky vs DaluaFinal of 2011 IGSA World Championships Teutonia Mischo vs Danky

Kevin Reimer talks Aera trucks and can I steal them?

Bathurst, Monday morning after Newtons, November 2010. I managed to corner Kevin in the Citigate hotel foyer, he was looking for a grom to give away his race trucks. Kevin is distracted, with Aera trucks in his hands, the opportunity was too good, so I got him to run through the changes in the truck. This interview is part of the the lost Newtons Tapes, which I found,  we have held it over until our stock of Aera trucks arrived. Unfortunately they they have been a long time coming. First trucks sold out very quick to skaters and the skateshops around the world did not get many, Hopshop missed out. Second production run we scored a few sets, they are in the Hopshop now. Next time your in the Hopshop, you should ask to look at one out of the cabinet. They are beautiful, and as you'll see in this interview, functional as well. [Hop's notes: I'm thinking, I have a shot at getting some free trucks here]

click on the raw trucks

Hop: Tell me about the changes you have been working on for the new Aera 7 series? KR: Before the pocket use to run all the way across the trucks, now there is just a bump in the middle of the regular unflipped side and that gives about 10% (extra) strength. And on the other side, the pocket use to go all the way across and continue up into the bushing seat and now it has been joined together and that is about 20%. And then if they have that magic 7 on them, it means they are made of a different material that is 50% stronger. So overall if you had the new material and the different design you be 80% stronger. It is a good healthy change. [Hop's notes: I have one truck in my hand, but Kevin wont let go of the other one]

Do you have the Magic number 7 on your Aeras?

Hop: When you going into production with those?

KR: Done. Now. We have about 150 sets coming. [Hop's notes: I'm trying to think of other questions, keep Kevin talking to give myself time to get the other truck]

Hop: You're using Venon Eliminators for your personal trucks?

KR: The eliminator gives it a progressive turn, as in as you turn more it becomes harder to turn and eventually get to the natural end of the turn. The barrel on the bottom leaves it open I think it does not restrict it too much

Hop: Barrel on the top?

KR: Yeah barrel on the top (roadside) [hop's notes: he is still looking around the room for that grom], so it just feels the right way and that is how I would send them out, most people ask for all barrels if they want to freeride because you get a lot more turn if you have all barrels. Some guys actually run a cone on the top if you really want to freeride and you got loose trucks.

Hop: How do you set yours up for race day?

KR: I have a red eliminator on the front (boardside) and a red barrel on top (roadside). In the back I have a green elim (boardside) and a green barrel (boardside). [Hop's notes: I have both trucks now, I'm elbowing my brother and muttering under my breath start the car...Brianne walks past we're distracted]

Hop: And for freeriding?

KR: I use 50 degree baseplates and I run reds all the way around. So I have red elim bottom (boardside) and red barrel top (roadside) and at the back red elim bottom and red barrel top. [Hop's notes: I can see my car, it's 50 metres away, I think I could out run Kevin, if I make a break for it with the trucks...pssst Scott start the frickin car]

Hop: And are you doing baseplates?

KR: Yes. So there is 38, 46, and a 50. Pretty much all the bases covered.

KR: Excuse me ...and with those final words, Kevin takes the trucks back, and some grom just score free Aeras and I kick my brother. We gotta work on better signals. Three hour trip back to Sydney from Bathurst, just my brother and I, and a Red Hot Chili Peppers CD. We agree on one thing, Brianne can be distracting...and how nice were those trucks! Available now in the Hopshop...unfortunately you have to pay but they are worth it!