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Words from Ben Hay: Elements

Learning all the skills and how to be a good rider while having loads of fun is basically what most skaters aspire to do. Although some things cant be practiced and learnt in short time, time on the board and being witness to hundreds of different incidents teaches you a lot more. Experience is something that never stops - every rider no matter how long they have been doing it constantly learns new things and governing factors that further add to our knowledge and therefore help us to become better riders. Adapting to the prevailing conditions is vital to perform well at a race or even getting down a hill safely. Knowing what effects that the surrounding conditions may have on the way you need to ride the hill is something that is hard to be taught. Personal experience is improved by having an open mind and learning from your mistakes and the mistakes of others. After a certain time your brain begins to take these inputs of information and turns it into whats known as 'second nature' or 'instinct' - doing it without thinking about it. It is at this stage that your riding really starts to improve. With your skating being lead by instinct and second nature it becomes easier to put your mind on other things that become beneficial to your added personal progression. Being aware of the prevailing wind while high speed racing or riding has huge benefits - Knowing the parts of the hill where its a head wind is beneficial when planning tactics for racing or passing. Also knowing how a tail wind will affect your braking is important. Skating a hill one day with a slight headwind can trick your mind and set a standard for how you perceive the hill can be ridden. Returning to the same hill with a solid tailwind can turn what was a seemingly  fun and basic hill into a crazy fast beast swallowing up skaters and spitting them out. Newtons nation 2012 was a classic example of favourable conditions, with riders being able to catch plenty of air - The elbow had never seemed so friendly. The constant progression in riders abilitys was also a big factor but im calling a return to heavy braking the next year if we have conditions similar to 2009 when it was a 30kt tailwind hurling riders down the top part of the course. Tailwinds also affect a riders ability to slow down behind other riders - pulling out of the draft and standing up to catch some air has way less of an effect if its a tailwind. Slight speed checks or a tap of the foot are more commonly needed to slow down and keep you and your buddy's safe. Another disadvantage with skateboarding down fast and open mountain passes in strong winds is a riders ability to stay in control and on the road. Roads in mountainous areas tend to follow gullys wich can create wind tunnels were wind can funnel through, gusts bounce of protruding bluffs on the hill and can hit the rider side on forcing them off their line. As the rider attempts to fight against the sidegust to stay on the road, the gust eases initiating a high speed twitch and the skater goes down. In other situations you can also struggle to hold the line you need to make a turn. The forces of gravity coupled with a 40kt wind can be to much for a human body to control. Once the wind suddenly lets go and is no longer forcing a skater in a certain way, its easy to lose your balance as you no longer have to fight against that force and all of a sudden you fall. Alpine areas and higher altitudes or places with extreme and quickly changing climates seem to host some crazy out of control winds. Checking a new hill first before riding is always good idea. Check for damp or wet spots before mobbin' in at ridiculous speeds. Being aware of the dangers and all the aspects that govern your ride down the hill makes it safer and easier - good riders are smart riders and have more on their minds than just doing a sick skid.

Hopkin Christmas sticker mail out

Instead of a Christmas card this year, we are sending STICKERS to all our wonderful customers! If you were a Hopshop customer this year, thank you, you made 2011 the best year ever. We loved seeing you in the skateshop, at the events, talking online and generally being part of the Australian skateboard community.

OK SO HERE IS THE DEAL

We have collected over $100,000 worth of skate stickers from all your favourite brands. We are mailing out to our top 3000 customers over 20,000 stickers!! First 1000 envelopes were mailed out a couple of days ago, if you have received mail, you are one of the top Hopshop customers. Not everyone is going to get stickers, we had to make a few rules. You had to have ordered something in 2011, and for logistic reasons, the cut off was the end of November. We sorted customers by their total orders, so if you only ordered bushings this year, you probably missed out. You had to have a Hopshop account or ordered online, it is only these customers that we know who you are and your address. That's why it is so important to have a Hopshop account ... you know it is free. HUGE thank you to the brands that helped us share the stoke this Christmas. It sounds simple but it has been a huge effort getting organised. Stickers have been arriving months in advance, and they have been hidden in the Hopshop waiting for mail out time. There is also a real cost to all the skate companies that participate. PLEASE give them a huge shout out. I have provided below all their social contacts. Like them, friend them, send them a thank you. We want this to be an annual event, if you share the stoke, they will see the value in doing it all again. Big thank you to the elves in the Hopshop that stuffed envelopes: Caspian, Harrison, Josh. Also the family insider help from Veronique and Lisa. Special mention to the distributors: John and Christine at JHS and Co, Peter at Goliath, Glenn at Black Box.

WHAT STICKERS HAVE BEEN SENT OUT

Caliber Trucks Caliber on Facebook or Find them on the web Give em lots of love, they were very generous. Loaded Boards Our friends at Loaded and Orangatang are always first to join an event to stoke skaters in a major way, they send a slab of stickers!! Big moon hugs to Loaded - you can squeeze their face or grab their tweets or watch the vids Rayne longboards Always a favourite in the skateshop, and they love you very much with thousands of stickers. You can return that love on the face or tickling their twitter or watching their moves Sector 9 Shout out to the Sector 9 Australia team, you rocked Australia with a suitcase of stickers. Show em that they are not too big for a hug, pinch em on the tweeter or stalk em on facebook or just be a voyeur. If it wasn't for these blokes, Jackson would not be Number Two in the world !! (IGSA World Cup rankings) Heelside Magazine Your favorite Australian skateboard magazine. They are original, creative, bold and crazy. They deliver you something your mum does not understand and probably does not approve of, so let them know their hard work is appreciated. Get social on their arse. Or a quick little spray.  You must subscribe for them to survive. ASRA - Australian Skateboard Racing Association They are the only REAL skateboard association in Australia. Real members, elected board, community inspired and skateboarders looking after skateboarding. So who is fake? SbA or Skateboard Australia are a $2 event company. The sham is our tax money is funding a private skateboard company. No elected officials. No accountability. Hundreds of thousands of dollars siphoned off with our Government's approval. They know the facts, and continue to waste your money. WE NEED TO GET MAD. Join ASRA. Even better become a financial member, it makes ASRA stronger and SbA look stupider. Time magazine has made the Protester the person of the year. You can make a difference. You can change the world. You can create the world you want to live in. No generation in history has more power at their fingertips than you. Protest. Talk. Yell. Scream. Skate. Create. Dream. Then take small steps to make it happen. Contact your elected politician or senator. Tell them to stop wasting our money and take skateboarding seriously. Then get your mum, dad and all the family to do the same thing. If you use twitter, so do they. Fallen Shoes Some of the raddest skate stickers you'll find on the planet. I did not scan every sticker that went out. If you got something different, post a pic. On the Fbook or on the inter webbie thing, they probably dont want to know you like them, they're too cool for school. And are core = only little boards here (they're easier to carry). Early Skateboards The OG crew on the Goldie, designing boards for Australia. Twitter or FB or web Fibretec: Swiss made dream machines. They are fine like a piece of ... art. 50 stickers were add into the mix. Vicious Griptape: Sent 50 special decals to stoke, if you got one, your lucky. If you have their tape on your deck your even luckier...and probably dont have any fingerprints. Bombsquad, Ladera, Dekline and Slippery Dip all contributed some special stickers. Thank you to everyone who is apart of the Australian skateboard/longboard scene. Lets do it all again next year. We promise the Hopshop will be bigger and better in 2012. We hope you will be a part it. Live life ... skate every day. PS: We send out stuckers to our bro's in New Zealand. We  love our cousins across the ditch too! TWITTER USERS We are using #hopkinstickers