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    Hopkin Skate Blog — Sector 9

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    Ethan Lau was killing it

    Ethan Lau was killing it

    That was Matt Corder's comment today on the Newtons Playground 2008 video on the Hopkin Vimeo channel. I have been wanting to do an article on my favourite moments from Newtons 2008-2013. Mainly because ASRA is not going back to Bathurst anytime soon. They are not saying never, just it is unlikely with the current Council arrangement. The next Australian World Cup will likely be 2015 and in Wollongong. I'm not going to do the top ten moments now, and it might not appear on the blog, it might be published elsewhere. However, the legend of Ethan Lau of 2008 is definitely in my top ten. For our overseas readers, let me paint the picture. Bathurst is in country NSW. During the week, Mt Panorama is quiet. Just locals going about their business and a few wannabe racers having a crack. Mt Panorama is an unusual mountain. It is a world class race track, built on a mountain and on a public road. This means anytime, outside of a race day, Joe Average can drive the track and pretend they are racing. It is heavy patroled by the police and monitored by the locals who live there. That's right, the mountain has 8 residents. Mainly farmers, a few have fruit orchards. Why Mt Panorama is iconic in the Australian skateboard community is everyone dreams of bombing the big hill. We all grew up watching racing on the mountain. And a few of our crew grew up bombing the mountain illegally and telling tales to inspire everyone. Rob McWhinnie grew up in Bathurst. Basement Skate owner Robbo went to University at the bottom of the hill. There are many other tie ins, such as Fitzy, who was instrumental in Newtons being successful in 2008. So Mt Panorama Bathurst can be a dry, hot, lonely place. Especially if you are part of the ASRA crew hay baling. In 2008 there were too many haybales (over 6000!! We used 750 in 2017), who knew what was going to happen, ASRA just didn't want to kill anyone, so everything got haybaled! On Conrod straight, no one around, a few guys pulling haybales off a truck and a Hawaiian appears out of nowhere, eating fruit. WTF. Where did you come from? It was Ethan Lau. Proclaiming Bathurst was one of his favorite places in the world. He had the mountain to bomb, it was quiet, there was fruit everywhere to eat. Nirvana! Had he been here all week sleeping the the orchard? Farmers are the same all over the world. They find someone in their orchard, they are going to shoot first and ask questions later. So the ASRA crew had to give Ethan some guidelines, such as no bombing the hill until it gets officially closed tomorrow...wear some shoes...don't get shot by a farmer. There might be some embellishment there, but it doesn't matter. We created the Ethan legend that year, and we told groms everywhere. This Hawaiian walked out of an orchard on Conrod Straight carrying a Sector 9 longboard you could buy at any surf shop, and he nearly won Newtons!! I don't know how many Aussies have been inspired by that story, but it is one of my most favorite memories of Newtons. Even in 2008, Sector 9 was "we make fun". Have you watched the Newtons 2008 TV show? Grab a peach from the orchard, chill out for half an hour and enjoy.

    Newton's 2008 Video Feature

    Jackson eats Santa GnarBra - part 2

    Jackson eats Santa GnarBra - part 2

    Jacko has been doing it cosy in San Diego. Girly model photo shoots with Dudebro, snoring on the skatehouse couch, drinkin mojitos by the breadbowl, BUT the Cali crew have got some plans for you...

    This is Santa Barbara ... but Jacko's going to Santa Gnarbra This is Santa Barbara ... but Jacko's doesn't know it, he's skatin Santa Gnarbra

    These bits telexed in by Jacko, Another rad session that was had was the dawn patrol mission with the Muir Skate crew and some other locals at Scott's favourite run out in the bloody boonies somewhere. I dunno where it was coz I slept the whole way, went to this hill last time I was here (but with a busted leg) and did some filming for the boys and all I could remember that it was a nice fast sweepy run with a couple corners that required a wee little skid. Louis had me team up with Duke Degan to shoot a little video for RAD wheels, I took some runs following him down and got to learn the lines then Louis hooked up the camera to his car (which by the way is a new pimp arse all black audi that he got off Biker for hella cheap) and took runs mobbing down behind us filming. Was pretty rad to get fast again on some open roads, but was sketchy in a way on a brand new board and a hill I've never ridden, but didn't take long to get back into the swing of things and set back into mob-mode. After San Diego it was back to Skate House then more malibu sessions and hella lurking, then Louis, Ross Druckery and Braden Tibbles all jumped on the road for a weekend to Santa Barbara to shoot some more epic shit. I was frothing hard, I took a trip to Santa Barbara when I was riding for Otang and shot a sick video with Adam Colton.Orangatang Wheels | Casting Shade with Jackson Shapiera That was a pretty epic hill, had some of the nicest pavement to slide on I've ever experienced, but unfortunately for me that was experience was not going to be re-lived. Louis was taking me to Santa GnarBra and he had another hill in mind "one that hasn't really been filmed on" and "all the good ones are over used"! There's a reason its sick to film on the others and not this one - pavement's fucked.

    santa-gnarbra But in all honesty it wasn't that bad, it was just a long ass hill with some hectic burly parts here and there that you could easily make it around and there were plenty of good sections to control your speed, it was just a lot of work and required constant agility to cut sick. We all did some follow runs again with Louis' baller ass Audi and filmed some sections of the road, pretty much wrapped it up in a day and then head back to Skate House for some further lurking.

    Jackson's San Diego girlfriend Jackson's San Diego girlfriend "Pivot"

    The Downhill Divison's lone ranger heads to Vancouver tomorrow to play Nintendo, plus I think he is going to learn how to ice skate...should be fun.

    Cali-steezification by Jacko - part one

    Cali-steezification by Jacko - part one

    Mr. Shapiera has been a bit quiet, which means only one thing, he's passed out on a couch or he is rippin' hill with crew. You're in luck hopbloggers, Jacko has some tales to tell... Last two weeks have flown by pretty quick, after such hectic adventures in the land of Pukka Rico, the mode changed to somewhat lurk mode and consisted of some fun times skateboarding in Cali and then up to the Great White North on Vancouver Island and Salt Spring Island in B.C. (Hop's note: you dont get all the stories in one blog, one each day!) First day wake up at Skate House and it took a good couple hours till anyone was really animated to do much, then as people started getting bored of being bored the general consensus at Skatehouse is to go skate, probably Malibu, probably one fishy canyon most people talk (and dream about). It's been a while since I've actually done some fast free riding stuff, my leg is still building up strength and riding the Cali roads is a good workout. Lots of tight divvy turns and which requires lots of agility to handle smoothly so it was safe to say I wasn't going to be charging hard with the boys, just taking it easy and enjoy the ride. I managed to squeeze out two runs just hack slashing my way down the hill with each carve (fuck this going backward shit) before both legs turned to jelly.

    Same question at the top of every hill...anyone got a skate tool? Same question at the top of every hill...anyone got a skate tool? And da panorama  

    As per every trip to Cali comes a trip to San Diego to visit the boys at Sector 9. As per my last post I started working on new board designs with Josh Rolf and some variations of concaves and shapes and hope to produce a new babe for the DH Division lineup. I'm thinking Scarlet might be a good name for her.

    Mega mini ramp Mega mini Muir Skate ramp

    Other good news from the Sector hood is that big man Dude Bro Jeff Budro is getting married! Dudebro and Sarah are gonna tie the knot soon and already got a lil chick grommy on the way. While down in the hood, I actually managed to get some riding in on the local hills, funnily enough this is the first time I've been in San Diego and gone out to hit some hills. Previous times were just short trips to the Sector Pad and then bounce back to LA, and last time I was here was with a busted leg so it was just swimming n lurking.

    Infamous headless ghost skater in the Breadbowl Infamous headless ghost skater in the Breadbowl

    As soon as I had one of the new shapes cut out and graphed ready to skate we peaced out down to a spot by the beach called Blacks for a sweet skid session on a gated road. Super butter pavement with two nice big hairpin bends, no cars and it rolls right down to one of the surf breaks. Sector has shot many a videos here either short clips for products or team riders videos, its a sick place to skate and has a great vibe to it.

    Blacks Blacks Butter

    Jeff and I did a quick night shoot there for the packaging shot for the new Lightning Gloves, he had me skate in the pitch black and bust a big toeside slide right into the flash. Was pretty hectic coz they wanted the DHD Predator on it too, and I didn't have a clear visor. Needless to say I couldn't see shit. Got a bit hectic on one shot and just half assed the slide due to lack of vision and got pitched over the top and slapped the road pretty hard, one of those super gumbo moves at slow speed. Got the shot in the end and called it a night.

    Jacko's frickin awesome flash photo coming to glove packaging near you soon Jacko's helmet GoPro footage from the photo shoot!

    Come back tomorrow, Jacko goin skatin' with Muir, then pot hole surf in Santa Barbara all while looking busy in the Skatehouse.

    Building a custom Downhill Division board

    Building a custom Downhill Division board

    IMG_2657 Josh Rolf, the S9 Mad Scientist in his lab

    One of the good things about being part of a skate team means being able to have input in the design of boards, or even cut different shapes of existing boards to suit your needs. Since riding for Sector 9 I've always been a fan of taking their already sick shapes and just making small tweaks and adjustments to suit my style. As time passed and I tried all the different shapes and sizes available I started to get the feel for what works and what doesnt, and it was time start getting tech with re-shaping some boards to suit my personal needs.


    A stack of Roxannes in many different styles of concave

    Josh Rolf (Munkae Trucks) has been the local mad scientist here at Sector, he has had plenty of time and lots of free range to test shapes moulds and materials in order to create the best products for the team and customers, he always asked for input for board designs so I had a good sit down with him one arvo and talked about shapes and how we can take what's there and make it better. Recently Josh had given me a thicker Roxanne with extra fiberglass for full rigidity, I then later cut out the waist and re-shaped the tail and re-aligned the wheelbase further up the nose and created a slightly different ride. I was pretty stoked on this shape so I took it to Munkae and we traced it out to cut it on some other concave types.



    Tracing the custom shape onto the pressed blank 'taco cave'

    Josh had already pressed up and cut a bunch of Roxannes in different styles of concave, some with w-cave some with deep tub some with crazy taco concave, you name it was all there. We spent some time inspecting all the different styles and put in some notes to how we wanna make the next concave to suit this shape. For now I just chose a couple different styles to cut out so I could test and get the feel for.  


    Its not always just fun and games making skateboards, factory machinery are dangerous things!

    The first board was cut on the 'taco' concave with kind of pinches in towards the nose and tail for cutting out pintail shaped boards, but instead of cutting the shape from the middle of the pressed blank we loaded it further towards the front to give it more of a bowl up on the nose with still some good concave at the rear. The second board was a similar shaped concave but with a slight w that ran from full nose to tail and had an extra layer of fiberglass underneath to keep it super rigid. We did two slightly different cuts for each board just to give it a little bit of variation so we can find that nice middle ground.


    Custom Roxy with w-cave, slightly narrower profile


    Custom Roxy 9-ply, fatter nose taco-cave

    Over the next few days will be perfect for testing out the boards, going to sneak in a session with the Muir skate crew at one of the local runs (I was there helping shoot a video last time I was here, that hill is sick!) and then heading up to Santa Barbra to shoot some footage with Louis, Ross and Braden Tibbles.

    Jacko is touring again and he is in Puerto Rico ...

    Jacko is touring again and he is in Puerto Rico ...

    Ok here is the quick catch up. For Jacko, normal year is 20 countries in 6 months. We get amazing stories and tales right here on the Hopkin Skate blog but all that stopped early in 2012 because of an Aero helmet + a huge mountain + a big wind + a car coming in the opposite direction. Jacko mobbed Mt Ruapehu and got blown off course and into a car. Sidelined for 2012, it has been a hard 12 months. That is all old news my friends. Jacko is back and doing what he does best, rabble raising around the world and skating mountains you can only dream about, and partying in places your mum will not approve of. Jacko has been sending me stuff and for one reason or another, I've been slack and not putting it on the blog. There will be a few articles in the next 24 hours from Jacko, catching up on all the news. I have an absolute screamer of a race report in the works. Look out for that one. I can't post it yet, Jacko's gotta set the scene... Mr Shapiera, tell everyone where you are; Over 48 hrs travel, to wake up in paradise. Sydney to LA, LA to NY, NY to San Juan. I arrived in Puerto Rico at about 1am, head touched pillow at about 3am, woke up the next day at 1pm to realise we are staying in a tropical paradise, 10 mins from epic surf beaches and sick hills. First thing first wake up with a swim, why walk down to the pool, jump off the fucken balcony yo! In Puerto Rico with Jacko with a balcony jump 

    Nice and chill day, no skating just setting up the event, practice was the previous day but with open traffic, stoked I wasn't a part of that! More updates follow. Today we enjoy the Caribbean!