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    Hopkin Skate Blog — Maga McWhinnie

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    All Moss'd Out race report

    All Moss'd Out race report

    mossd1 All Moss'd Out, was run and won on Monday. If you were not there, it was a great day and we only got a little bit wet. Here is the big grom myth about the rain: It is not more dangerous, it is just different. You'll have more fun, and it helps your freeride/slide technique. In an interview with Api in 2009 and he said this about his progression:

    I thought sliding was impossible, it wasn't until one day I was out skating and the road was wet, I tried a 180 in the rain and my board did it then it pulled back to normal and there was my first pendulum. Once I got that down I learnt a bunch of slides and variations, like colemans, 360s, stand up 180s and some switch slides.

    Back to Moss'd out. It rained all morning, roads were soaked, volunteers got wet but were stoked. All Moss'd out is held on a sweet hill in Mosman/Clifton Gardens. The locals and residents were chill, no one called the police. The ranger came for a drive by and a look, and was happy. The hill starts with a small hand hand sweep and then into a left hairpin (not that intense more of a dogleg) Another steep hill in to a right hand corner, into a hill that goes to the most intense corner, a real hairpin to the finish.  One of the great features of the course is a series of steps and pathways that take you all the way to the top in a direct line, you don't have to walk back up the road to the start.

    Central Coast represent! Central Coast represent!

    With rain on the whole road, the course went from hard to challenging. A few things happen when it rains to change a race. The speed and the racing slows down, which suits the inexperienced. Sandbagging becomes easier and more effective. Why? It becomes more effective because the competitive racers will push themselves into the corners, take more risks and crash more often. (Sandbagging is the art of starting behind the leaders, drafting or waiting for a mistake: aka doin a Bradbury). Steven Bradbury is the Australian Patron Saint of Sandbagging.

    mossd6 Racing was a series of three rounds, everyone racing each other for points to sort out the places for the final racing. Everyone moved through tot eh final tree. It was a standard tree of racing - 4 racers per race. 1st and 2nd progress to the next round. Finals and placings were: 1st Robdog 2nd Matty Rae 3rd Callum 4th Jake It was great seeing all the skaters traveling from Bathurst, Newcastle, Central Coast and Wollongong. I was disappointed that Sydney crews were not well represented, a lot of missing faces. Some of the more experienced skaters don't like to get wet anymore. Big thumbs up to Maga, Ned and Ashley for all racing on the day,  and we did have a girls final which was won by Ashley!

    The reason you go to outlaw race events You don't have to race. You can enjoy the day by, watching the racing, or getting involved and volunteering. Nick Gibbons, Rohan, Bredon and Hugh did that. They marshaled the course, did car spotting. Nick, with random help from a few groms, on the finishline was awesome. Trav managed the startline with his usual bravado. Big thank you to those guys. Rob McWhinnie organises a lot of these outlaws. It helps support our scene, and they are also community fundraisers. Money raised goes to ASRA and also to help support Rob and Maga traveling to World Cup events. It is more than just racing, they are learning and social events. Rob goes through course with all the skaters. He was giving advice on how to skate the last corner of the event, that is experience you can not get watching online videos. Skaters travel to these events, you'll met people from all over, who might invite you to skate some of their local hills one day. PLUS you get fed! Rob is a chef, he provides food for all his events. At Pumpstation there was Minestrone soup, at Moss'd Out it was freshly made ham and salad sandwiches. At Deep End on Saturday it will be sandwiches again, and Mt Keira on Sunday will be a BBQ.

    Hop's tips for wet weather events If you are coming to watch or volunteer, go get a rain poncho from the $2 shop. They usually have them, they are about $2 to $4. They'll keep you dry without having to wear heavy rain gear all day. If you racing and are worried about your board, then a few things at the end of the day's racing, will help your deck live to fight another day. Wipe it down, get all the moisture off. Turn your board upside down and spin each wheel, in a dry place, for about 2 to 5 minutes on each wheel. This will remove all the water out of your bearings, dry them out, stop them seizing up over night. You'll have to do it straight away, so on the train or bus on the way home or in the garage at home. If you have any other tips, post them up on our Facebook page or in the comments below. When are the next events? Deep End is on this Saturday 29th June Keira Kaos is on this Sunday 30th June I'll see you all there! (please note I just changed the dates, I got them wrong)

    Finishline and rego tent Finishline and rego tent

    Last hairpin Last hairpin

    mossd5 mossd4 mossd2

    The Wild West Outlaw

    The Wild West Outlaw

    The Wild West Out law In the back country, far from Sydney's busy streets and surrounded by dirt roads, bush land and farms, BenBro and Duddy  had found a long sweeping downhill run, starting in butter and ending in chunder. The ideal location for Australia's end of year outlaw to rule all outlaws. Maga has been looking forward to more Aussie races since we got back from the Euro tour mid year, after hitting 3 world cups and mobbing mountain roads like you wouldn't believe, coming home and racing footpaths and alleys just didn't cut it. I've been riding as many different styles as possible lately, moving from board to board, getting out on the my custom DH setup from Fibretec  is always a step up, speed and concentration mixed with thrill and risk. The wild west hill would test you on all accounts and with riders travelling from around the whole country to race, it would only take one slip up to possibly ruin your day. When we left on the race morning, we drove up some nasty back road, 4wd stuff, we pushed on and with a little following the nose we came across the butter smooth tar that only teased you at the top of the run. NACCOS where there setting up hay bales and cleaning the track, we pulled up to find Yates, Kam, Duber and the rest chilling on the final corner, big hugs all round and a quick catch up over a safety  meeting, Maga wanted to check the gnar hairpin that followed the chunder straight, so we walked up and had a closer look at what would be a pinnacle point of the race, Mustard came hauling through the left hander already getting it dialled, the steep straight into the hairpin had a unskateable entire left hand lane, it was full of craters and forced the riders to use only the right lane, the apex was late into the corner too and with exit speed imperative you had to stay wide and chop it like it was your job.


    sector 9 bus captain Bruce de Graf"

    The sector9  bus from the hopshop arrived, piloted by bruiser and stack to the rafters with speed hungry groms shitting their pants after seeing the bigboys course they were about to suit up and race on. You wouldn't  believe it but I've  have never had to race against Maga in a DH, BenBro started the day with a 5 round robin Qualify session that would seed you into a 32man single elim format after lunch, the round robin was a excuses  for practice on the hill but also race practice with other riders, 1st round comes and Maga is suited up and ready to race we barely realise that we are in the same heat and it wouldnt be the last for us racing together on the day.


    high speed style from Maga

    I've got my game face on and so does she, after the push off you pick up speed really fast, its butter smooth and seems to get steeper, the corner drifts left before rallying to the right, you can't see around the corner and grabbing rail your other hand is floating over the inside scrub as you need to keep the line tight, the exit pinches back to the left and after accelerating through the corner you get dragged to the outside edge, trees fly by as you push 80km/h and the g force kicks in as the road comes back up to level, at this moment your fairy tale run ends and a sudden slap in the face with chunder chip seals almost gives you a bleeding nose, you need to hold on and stay in tuck

    Kam killing it out in front"

    The quicker you can maintain across the rough the better chance you have, the road slowly risers up hill and over a right hand crest, the outside lane, the left lane was smooth around here, and even when racing hard you needed to remember it was faster too. i would have a chance now to get worried about maga. did she really make that? id check behind and have a look and SHIT YES there she was,  getting rattled to death on the chunder but still rolling. seeing her mobing hills was enough to stoke me out and calmed me down as i headed into the final section of the run. Shes been progressing well, surprising  me and impressing  others as she's  getting to more and more races and sessioning at  freerides.

    local shredder Caspian hanging out front while dominating Quals"

    After a solid morning session, and a good stack blowing my line around the big left hander and going bush bashing in my leathers, i had qualified equal first with Caspian. Maga Equal 16th with Penny, a solid result and a goal we have been aiming for a while. Making the cut in an OPENs event can be only half the challenge for a aspiring racer, and beating half the field is the way to do it. Benny and his lovely missus and prepared sandwiches  and put on a massive esky of beers, water and supplies, the 32 man tree meant everyone got to race, we had barely any traffic and had plenty of time thanks to JackBro being solid on the books and the sector9 bus running smooth. Dejan flying around the final corner while young rippers chase him down

    i had made it to the semis, bonus round guys, at this point you have raced all day and its only gonna get better, the first heat was all the grommies, Jayden, Dijon, Kelly  and Mail while the second heat was Yates, Kam, Chad  and myself. i was stoked on all the Hopkin boys holding tight and still in it, i wasn't really worried about the outcome and knew what happened  happens, i trusted everyone to not do anything stupid and the fastest rider would take the win, Kam pushed off hard like a mofo, made me wake up a bit, he was hungry hey, i slipped in behind him and we peaced out on the others until the left hander when Yates tried making a move, but when following me in he was was borked by a mad wobble  i got over the inside line and he lost control in the apex, kam was stoked in 1st and had momentum going into the finals,  dijan and kelly made it too,  so the Finals would be a Hopkin Race Team battle with Yates racing for 5th in the consi. BenBro hosted an awesome event, it was a great moment when i saw his face stoking out on all the boys making the finals, even though i knew he wanted to be here with us he was happy to just cheer us on as the bus drove back up the hill one last time. Lining up against your best of mates is one of the great times in DH racing for me, you spend so much time mobing hills with these guys and jaming out on monster runs its hard not to be stoked when we get a whole race hill to our selves. [caption id="attachment_4333" align="aligncenter" width="618" caption="one very tight run with yates and myself"]one very tight run with yates and myself

    I wasnt gonna let Kam beat me off the push this time and dejan has smoked me off the start line before so i had to be ready to attack and take them by surprise. off the push Kam shot off and i had to dig deep to slap the foot down hard and fast, i heard the other guys stop pushing and threw an extra one or two big ones, i had the lead and kam was sniffing my arse, but now i was in the lead i could drive the car, i needed to cover my line and drive it home. as we hit the chunder i felt a small push from kam, i was hoging the smooth lane so he wasnt able to pass, hahahha, we mobed over the crest and now kelly and dejan where both drafting us too, we entered the steep section before the big left hander and dejan came up on kam and gave him a push now kam wasn't going to push me again so he moved up on my outside as we entered the corner, we looked at each other and judged our speed and entry line, i was about to get shafted as he moved in closer so a friendly shove kept us at arm's length,  we dove in faster than ever and it was too tight, we were going to lose traction, but who would lose speed? i had some hectic proto type wheels on ,over  100mm contact patch, 75a with 99a core ( thanks Jacko and old mate at S9 ), i had trusted them to not float off and they didnt disappoint,  Kam kept drifting and i griped up and ripped it, all the way out to the apex and down to the final right sweeper, Dejan and kelly got bucked off and both dislocated their shoulders some how, shit eh. Kam followed us in and the celebrations began before we crossed the line.

    ash maga and alix taking the girls podium.

    Maga won the girls too and had a great time doing so, we havnt been so stoked from a race for a very long time and will remember that weekend for a while yet.

    hopkin race team, Dejan - Rob - Kam and kelly grom

    I'd like to thank BenBro and family, Duds, duber, PC, bruiser, Ryan, jackbro, all of NACCOS and every volunteer that made the event possible also the sponsors that supported the event, Sector9 Australia sent riders down from Qld and forked out $$$ to get Sydney groms to from the race in the event bus. also Otang, Glyde, Oneliner and Hopkin for helping out sponsering the event. and all my personal sponsers especially Fibretec for helping me build a board that i can win races on, Kahalani for trucks when i want to go fast, Riptide Bushings to stay stable and Hopkin Skate for everything else. these are rad days il remember for a long time. all photo credits to Astrid Carey, thank you for donating your time and skill. -Rob.

    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: Lea shows us the view from the women's bracket at Turbine

    Words by Lea Robbo Greetings from NZ! What an incredible town Wellington is for skating. Fast downhill and freeride runs everywhere. If I was not so in love with Sydney I would move here just for the hills. Though the town is pretty rad too and the locals friendly and relaxed. My introduction to Wellington skating did not require much effort. I walked out of our guest house and threw myself down the hill outside. Oh my, it was spectacular. Three kilometres long, butter smooth, sweeping corners, fast! I did about 10 runs in a row as Benbro kindly drove behind offering pointers and getting stoked with me on the ride back up. What a dude. The next big task was to tackle the Wind Turbine Race. The view from the top of the hill looking out over Wellington was breathtaking.View from the top of Wind Turbine

    The design of the hill was cool, but the surface was inconsistent and rough as guts, so riding down it felt sketchy as. My plan was to ride in the girls bracket and then also enter the opens. I made it through practice and then my first race was against Marisa Nunez from Peru. I kicked out in front cleared the first corner with a slide, though lost a puck. Marisa made a good pass on the small up hill in the middle of the run. I tucked hard and chased her down. As we rounded the second last corner she went out wide and I began to pass on the inside, getting pulled through by her draft. I was surfing through but put my glove down lightly to steady myself. Then whack, my glove with no puck grabbed the rough road and my arm was pulled out! Gutted. We were having such an awesome run together. But that was me done for the day. I cruised on down to the finish line and asked if someone could please put my shoulder back in. Kelly-grom kindly did the task with a loud 'crack' and 'snap', much to the disgust of the surrounding skaters (BTW don't try this at home, I've had my shoulder out before, but you really should go to hospital). My shoulder started to seize a little so it would have been silly to continue skating - though I did consider it! I don't like to be beaten easily! Ishtar Buckland from Sweden was also claimed by the road in a gnarly crash into a dirt wall, so that left three ladies in the women's bracket with Marisa placing first, and Racheal London and Amy London from NZ placing second and third respectively. They all rode well on the challenging hill. 

    From left to right: Rachael London (2nd), Marisa Nunez (1st) and Amy London (3rd)

    Racing aside, the brilliant part of this event was linking in with these international female riders. Dasha Kornienko from Canada, a World Cup racer of many years, was there spectating. Along with Dasha all the girls hung together and commented on how pleased we were to finally meet. We also stoked out as we talked about all the skating, hanging out and racing we'd be doing back in Sydney in five weeks for the Mount Keira World Cup. What a race it's going to be. I can't wait to race Marisa again and see her in full flight, she is a tidy rider, and fast! And to have the Aussie girls step up and race hard against international women is going to be awesome. To the Aussie team- Maga, Gemma, Deanne - get ready to shred! I can hardly wait! Thanks to Rachael London and Max Gordy for all of their hard work and organisation of the event, and to all of the locals who made me feel so welcome. Also to Hopkin for sending me over here. Luca keeps wondering how I am surviving living with seven blokes on a skate trip. Sometimes the boys can be a bit stinky, but I think they are all brilliant guys and I'm stoked to be here! Skate safe, skate hard, particularly you girls! Lea Robbo x

    End of the World Tour 2012 - the most epic mountains ever skated

    Words by Rob McWhinnie After a week traveling the Andes in search of the biggest mountains we could find, I'm stoked to have made it back safe and have had an unforgettable experience. The goal of the End of the World tour was to find Abra Malaga, the back road to the epic Machu Picchu and skate it top to bottom. Along the way we found many new roads and created friendships to last a life time. Two months ago my buddy Pablo Seone, owner of Chaman Longboards was having a beer with me at a BBQ, we were a little wasted and started talking about hills in the country that had never been skated, he rushed to the laptop that was already surrounded by people checking photos from that days freeride event and pulled up Google earth, typed in a string of words and directions in front of us arrived a massive 50km plus, 30 hairpin, middle of nowhere mountain road. It makes its way down between 2 5000m high peaks stretching 1000m above the summit of the road. It was Abra Malaga and it was EPIC!!!! As far as we knew no one had even been close to riding it, it’s a back road through a national park to the ancient Machu Picchu, the city of the Incas, little did I know how awesome and crazy the trip would be to get there. Soon after seeing the hill on screen Pablo offered to pay our bus fare to get to Cuzco to go skate it!! Yeeeeeeww this was the start of a massive sponsor drive that eventuated in a fully paid for trip for myself and 5 good mates to reach Abra Malaga to bomb and film it. The road trip is 24 hours to Cuzco and we had a new H1 van to enjoy it. Unlike most skate trips you or I have been, this one included 3 girls and 3 guys. The girls were: Marisa Nunez, Ishta Backlund and Maga McWhinnie, you couldn’t choose 3 better girls to travel with, amazing, fearless skaters and positive vibes all day. Still, girls being girls they packed a shit load and took forever to wake up in the mornings. Jose Cortez and Christian Salmon would be joining me, getting rowdy and bombing everything on the trip. Jose shreds anything and Christian is an awesome videographer for Choro Longboarding helping me document the adventure. First stop on the way was Nazca, famous for its alien airports and megaliths in the lifeless desert. It is now going to be famous for the 70km downhill paradise we found on an empty road out of town, Mt Poquito ( poquito meaning small) burned most of our petrol getting up and we only had time for a little corner session every 10-15km on the way up but made plans to skate it on the way home, at the summit we stopped to check out the view and a little grommet came out of nowhere to talk and play on our boards. I’m sure Yori won’t forget us for a long time to come.

    Yori on the top of Poquito

    Once in we made it to Cuzco we wanted to leave and find mountains to skate. Cuzco is a crazy city, built hundreds of years ago as a treasury for the Incan empire, once including an entire garden made from gold, flowers, bugs, birds and beast would stand basking in the sun entirely made of gold. You can guess what happened when the Spanish turned up, so now the city is half Inca masterpieces and half Spanish churches, in a weird but beautiful mix. I organized free stay with a local hostel. The Kokopelli Hostel had put Marisa and Ishta up before on our Mancora Endless summer of Gnar trip and they knew what we were up to and provided us with a massive room and bunk beds for the entire week. A short drive out of town and we hit our first hill, half way down it turned into a sand pit and made for some slipping and sliding even on the straights. We could have stopped but it was a bit of fun drifting our way down. Across the Sacred Valley of the Incas, we noticed our next run, climbing high up the mountain to some ruins at the peak was a dead end road with little bridges over the rivers, hairpins around cliff faces and straights through the green farm land. We spent a full day skating Pisac, warming up for the bigger mountains to come and having some fun as a group for the first time on a hill. If you have seen any of my photos or videos before from longboarding in Peru you would have noticed that I’m usually in the desert of some kind. Where we found ourselves now was a green, lush, rich diversity of life atmosphere, with rivers, wild plants animals everywhere, completely relaxing and awesome. After a few days skating local roads we planned the trip to Abra Malaga, 250km away, on the way we passed all the tourist stops and ancient ruins. The closer we came the more wild and extreme the environment became, it was like stepping back into the dinosaur period. When we arrived at the base of the mountain everyone was majorly stoked to have even made it, the mountain just erupts out of the river plains, we drove skyward for an hour to reach the summit, stopping and admiring the view and unbelievable amount of hairpins and sheer cliff face passes. Once at the top, well damn I forgot how hard it was to breath, the environment was insane, massive clouds where blowing right up against the cliffs and moving at a speed more like smoke from a fire, after putting on rain wheels and stretching it was time to face the road and bomb it. No one except myself had rode wet weather wheels on anything seriously needing them and it took a while to convince the crew that they are shit and you will need them. I had 6 sets made up at the Fico Longboarding workshop, we customized a disk sander to rotate the wheels at warp speed and used a hunting knife to cut the wheels. Instead of sanding off the urethane it melted off like butter and produced the best wet weather wheels I’ve ever seen. So we kicked off in the dry and quickly got in the flow on the easy first section of sweepers and pins, Maga was keeping up as we all were taking it easy having fun and admiring the view as we passed between the two peaks either side of the road, it was a huge deal for her to conquer this hill as it was for me too, it was even better to be doing together. Soon it began to rain, it got steeper, colder and clouds began to block the view of the next corner, I stopped the group and we had a few practice runs at predrifting into a hairy hairpin, while it was bucketing down. We were all drenched but every one was smiling ear to ear. Jose fell in love with rain riding, blasting out standys sending out rooster tails of water. The girls got confidence to slide in the rain, locking up and railing, so we did some filming then decided it was time to bomb the steep section. I had a word to Maga and wished her luck and to take it easy, she was going to do it but at her own pace and safely, I however wanted to get sideways and have some fun so we headed off separately, the next 35mins of downhill in the rain was the 4 of us now smoking each other around hairpins and throwing massive predrifts into corners like pros in a DH race, the best thing about rain riding is it feels like your doing 80 when you bust a slide. At one stage I thought I was going to freeze solid. The wind chill at 60kmh down the straights was terrible, should have worn a full face! We stopped when the rain gave way and road started to dry, had some lunch and changed wheels, did some interviews and rang our clothes dry. I brought dry clothes hahahaha, I felt like a million bucks. The rest of the day we sessioned the bottom section, 8 hairpins 4 straights, 1 bridge, cows, horses, donkeys, kids with water bombs, hi fiving old men and perfect pavement. That has got to be one of the best afternoons I’ve skated in a long time and the biggest, longest decent I’ve ever made in my life. Over the next few days, we would trek to Mach Picchu and spend the day safe on a rock looking over the ancient city surrounded by mountains rising into the sky. Other days we would relax on a mountain road just having fun drafting and filming, the way home would be another 24hour trip so we planned to do it over 2 days and skated the hell out of everything we arrived at. The entire trip wouldn’t have been possible with out our Major sponsors Chaman Longboards, RipTide Bushings, Rayne Longboards, Hopkin Skate and the guys at Kahalani, TeamB (arbi), Kokopelli hostels, Nuqa Clothing, Choro longboarding and Fico longboards peru. These guys believed in us and supported the whole trip, I’m stoked to represent all of them and its awesome the level of support they have shown to longboarding development and exploration. Overall the trip was incredible, I really couldn’t imagine doing it again anytime soon though, it was exhausting and extreme, its taken a solid week to lose the flu I got after riding raining mountains one day and arid desert the next. I’m glad, that like last years Across the Andes trip, I’ve discovered new roads and epic hills. It inspires the locals to leave the big cities and explore their own country, I’m stoked to have made it home safe and conquered my fear of returning to the big roads of the Andes once again. The friends that joined me will be friends for life now, we experienced some awesome shit together and risked everything to do it, downhill skateboarding is our life and we are living every day we do it. See you back home soon!!! Rob

    Rob McWhinnie (do rad shit)