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    Ozzies on the international podium: Jayden Mitchell

    Ozzies on the international podium: Jayden Mitchell

    18849847155_0e4a5d87d7_bPhoto: Scott Davis

    With the sport progressing and riders pushing the limits on skateboards, the events too have been keeping up with the pace to suit the high-speed demands of today's downhill riders. The Downhill Throwdown at Killington in June this year was of no exception. This IDF race track was grouped up in with the fast tracks on the tour, featuring speeds up and over 100km/h into mondo breaking zones before turns. Long straights for drafting made this game of balls also a game of brains as it seemed there were many places to make some fast-paced moves.

    Photo: Harfang Wheels Photo: Harfang Wheels

    One of Ozzie's very own Jayden Mitchell has come out of hiding and returned to the race track and landed himself a spot on the podium next to some of the world's very best. Here is what he had to say about his time at Killington.

    Jacko: Good to see your back skating again, you disappeared for a while there, what were you doing for the past year or so?

    Jayden: Thanks man it's good to be back! Last year I spent working and saving back home in Adelaide. Also skating a little but just keeping it real low-key.

    Jacko: Last time i saw you we were racing at Yarra Ranges, and you got yourself on the podium. How does it feel to step it up and snag a podium at a bigger level event? Jayden: It feels great obviously, Yarra Ranges for me was a warm up to test the waters and see if I could actually still ride a skateboard competitively fast after almost 3 years of no racing. To then be able to take some good skating form and perform overseas, it feels great and I hope I can just keep doing what I'm doing and just having fun! Jacko: Tell us about the track, it looked pretty fast and fun! What was the best sort of style to attack that hill.

    Jayden: The track was super fun and super fast, definitely the fastest track I have raced before. My top speed was 64mph or a drop over 100kmh. The way you attacked that hill was just balls out, but you also had to be smart because there was a long sandbag straight to finish.

    Jacko: Were the many top competitors at this race? was the competition tough? Jayden: Always, every event nowadays has tough competition, the heats are stacked from the start.

    Jacko: Is there anything you have learned from skating back home in Oz that helped you out at this race?

    Jayden: Adelaide has such a range of hills that i found I can take things from each hill at home and apply them to different parts of each course. Killington was like Ironbank on steroids and practicing fast toe sides definitely helped me.

    Jacko: You have been cruising around the states for a little bit now, tell us about what you have been doing and where you have been.

    Jayden: Well I started 2 and a half months ago on the west coast. I flew into Cali to visit Orangatang and hang out with Bustin homie Noah Fischer. Then hit the Catalina Classic before heading up to Canada for Jake's Rash and Britannia. Hung out with Tony Graves, saw Juicy J and partied. Then headed east to Visit Bustin in NYC and go on a tour for Killington and Burke. Currently I'm in Portland about to head to the Maryhill Festival of Speed.

    Jacko: Are we going to see more Jaydos on the podium representing Oz any time soon? More big races coming up?

    Jayden: Hopefully I can do well at Maryhill but after that unfortunately I gotta head back home to start uni. But I'll be working and saving and visiting yo big ass soon in Sydney for some sessions!

    Check out the raw run from 4th placer Aleix Gallimo:

    Byron Essert's New Wheels

    Byron Essert's New Wheels

    these_logo Byron Essert has been a household name in downhill skateboarding for a good time now, and These have rewarded the dude with his own pro model wheel. Byron Essert has style like none other, and has tricks for days. Regular or switch, fast and slow this kid can do it all, so needless to say he knows how wheels work. Jacko picked his brain a little to find out some more about the wheel that bares his name.

    Jackson: How did this wheel come about?

    Byron: We took Kevin's 72mm wheel and chopped the lips off then shaped the wheel from there. tried a couple different widths and radius types and came upon a great medium between slip and grip.

    Jackson: Before this wheel, which of the These wheel did you freeride on?

    Byron: The 66mm FRF.

    Jackson: How does this new wheel compare to the old freeride wheel?

    Byron: It is a bit bigger so it can be enjoyed longer. The lips stay solid for the entire life of the wheel. None of that small wheel lippy feeling.

    Jackson: Do you think the shape effects durability? These formulas are known for lasting a long time, do you think new wheel shape (taller and rounder edge) adds to that durability?

    Byron: It is bigger so it will last longer. The super rounded lips are great for sliding over manholes potholes and chunder of all sorts.

    Jackson: Did the whole team test and be part of the development of the BEW wheel or just you?

    Byron: It was mainly Tyler Howell, Krimes, and myself.

    Jackson: Is the new wheel just for fast free ride or will it suit the skater who wants to putt around his local hills?

    Byron: They are great for putting or mobbing. Just got to do a couple big Colemans to break 'em in then they'll be buttery as.

    Jackson: That Philippines raw run with Rob McWhinnie, were you using your new freeride wheel or the race wheel?

    Byron: Jah BEWs!

    Jackson:  How was it hanging and shredding with Robdog (Rob McWhinnie)? You both have an all round skate anything style.

    Byron: Rob is the man! Super fun dude to cruise with, skate, party, you name it. Jackson: Would you pick a duro for a particular hill? Or do you put on a duro and just take it to the core and then put on a new set.

    Byron: Certain pavement calls for the switchover. I like the 80a on grippy tarmac and 78a on the more slippery stuff.

    Jackson: If a skater is just starting out, learning how to slide, which wheel would you recommend in the These range? Will the BEW be the easiest to put sideways?

    Byron: The 59mm these wheels are super slidey and fun, also break in a bit easier than the BEW, but won't last quite as long, or hold grip through turns as well.

    Jackson: At a race event, would you use your BEW freeride wheel? Maybe on practice runs, test the road surface out? Or is it the race wheel for the whole event? Byron: I like freeriding runs and doing a bunch'a standups on 'em, but then throw on race wheels when it's time to go fast.

    Jackson: There is a bit of talk that it is Byron's year for the IDF title. Reckon you Can you win?

    Byron:  You never know man. It's racing.

    Jackson: Does George pull you aside and say go easy on the old Kevin, let him win a few more races, show some respect to your elders?

    Byron: never.

    Jackson: Is there a tie dye tee-shirt also coming out?

    Byron: I dunno man that'd be sweet though!   These Wheels are available from Hopkin Skate. Click here.

    Byron on the Steep and windy Lombard st, SF. Blood Orange photo Byron on the Steep and windy Lombard st, SF.
    Blood Orange photo

    Words from Ben Hay: Wheels

    A longboarders most consumable item would have to be wheels. They do all the work and take more abuse than any other part of skateboarding equipment. Wheels are the vital part of our setup that links us to the road. Not enough can be said about the importance of understanding your wheels and how they respond in every different situation a longboarder is confronted with. Understanding the style of hill and choosing the right wheel to best suit your personal style and the way you intend to skate it is important. Incorrect wheel choice can not only lose you a heat in a race, it can also be a dangerous and unwise decision in regards to your personal safety and potentially the safety of other riders on the hill. A skateboarder should understand the dynamics of riding worn wheels on fast and technical roads - there is nothing wrong with skating on slippery wheels as long as the rider is aware of the lack of grip and the extra speed that may need to be lost in order to grip corners and turns. Slides and predrifts generally need to be longer therefore need to be initiated earlier when using toasted wheels to control speed for corners. Sliding too late can have severe consequences if traction is not gained when needed. Guardrails, poles, cliffs and upcoming traffic await those who drift off line. Some hills in Australia need to be skated with grippy wheels, roads with traffic leave less margin for error. Losing traction and icing out simply aren't an option on some hills. Downhill skateboarders need to learn to be able to slide and control a grippy race wheel (even when its brand new) not just for racing but for open road riding as well. High speed tucking and cornering can be unpredictable and therefore dangerous if your wheels are coned or flatspotted. Avoiding a dangerous unexpected situation is also easier and more likely to end well on grippy wheels. A decision needs to be made at the top of every hill - the question that you should ask yourself is how am i going to skate this hill and what wheels are best for my intentions. Realising your not gripping while mid corner is a realization made too late. On an unfamiliar hill it is worth riding with good wheels a few times first, this allows you the grip you may need to correct a dodgy line. If you cant footbrake and grip or slide fresh wheels maybe you shouldn't be skating 'busy' hills until you can. Some hills are definitely more fun on freerides or slippery wheels, but others are more demanding and require more grip. Excessive sliding can be unpractical and awkward for other riders around you. Skateboarders attending races should always bring spare wheels and wheels that they are familiar with. A set of rain wheels are also worth having in your bag in case the weather turns bad. Having a few practice sessions in the wet on rain wheels is a good way to familiarize yourself with how well they grip and how to ride them. Skating in the rain is also a good way to learn new slides due to grip being reduced it enables you to slide at a slower speed for longer. If you are heading off on a days skating and you are unsure what type of terrain you might be riding, its worth taking a few sets of wheels to suit different situations. I like to save my fresh wheels for racing and fast gripping hills and get the most life out of them that i can. Fast tech freeriding is where i use my slightly worn wheels and the worse they get the more they get demoted to thrash slide/freeride wheels. Choosing the right wheel is an important decision - everyone has their favourite brands but the more important choice to be made is that of wheel condition and understanding their limitations and practicalitys.

    N-Cents D-Centz Tour day 9 and 10

    Day 9. Word of the day: Kia moana " food of the sea" Another rad morning. Fresh breeze and sun is a great mixture for a lil stretch. Off we head for the day, gotta get food and gas at Makana, small 'lil backtrack, give me some time to reflect on the last two days at paradise. Plan to get some filming in today as we've had the last two days sessioning and figuring out different  things.   Well things haven't let us down at the Wahkoowa Testicle Facility. another day of blue skies and perfect temps. After spending the morning getting in some warm up runs it was time to film. The day was warming nicely soo meant for some buttery skiddy pavement.  Just like to say it was a pleasure working with Gabe and Bondi makin a new lil vid for SkateHouseMedia. I've never really had the chance to jam with the bearded bloke from the west coast. Need less to say, he rips and its all because of trips like this that i get to jam with rad dudes like Bondi. yeah bloke! Good times!   Headin north again this arvo to Paihia, in the beautiful Bay of Islands.  Lookin at getting amongst the hills of Mungamuka Gorge. I feel a lazy night comin on, been a big day and plenty to stoke on. Agh looki looki, the accommodation we scored tonightt has FREE wi-fi! Epic, been too long since connection. Enjoy the blogs of the last week yo!   Day 10. N-tence D-sence. Word of the Day: Harae mai (huddy my) " come here, hurry up.   Mate. we've been staying at some pretty pimp pads. Last night, such a good sleep. Woke to the sound of a mixture of typing and snoring. Those of us up and about were utilising the free wifi. its pretty funny really. Maybe a lil more pathetic, but hey, U gotta stay in touch right!

     

    The weather had a look of showers. The Mungamuka Gorge was i lil over a 90 minute drive north west from the east coast. Hopefully all this cloud was just coastal located. Set on the drive again ill say that this part of the North Island is beautiful. Such a picture perfect country eh. Turned up at the hill and drove up the south-side. South side posse was meant to be the more hardcore of the two sides. Ok, sweet. Lets warm up on the backside, blind. Another thrill of road trips is relying on the word of your brothers on what features lay ahead. The north side of the Mungamuka's is RAD, best part of 7 kms of roller coaster pitted action. One corner just led into the next! Shazza (ville) had a gps on and said he got to 70km/h on a run. The foul stench of jedus was in the air. Punters were getting pitted and frothing all over this lil beauty. A visit from the local 5-0 and i ask to be " Cuffed" and tossed in the back. Suprisingly the female officers took me up on my offer! siiik. Mondo pitted on the foamy section of a coppers backseat, yeeeew!   So good to see our chick ripper wantoks again, Ish and Marrisa "Rissole". Had some hell runs down with the both of them. these gals are good, they can hold it down! Finished up the day with a few pic runs so Gabe could work his angle. 4:20 and the last run of the day was done.   Poms birthday tonight! Story is: we are makin out its poms b day so we can get him a local lady and free beer for all.  Everyone wins. he's quite the star attraction of Paihia. clean and ready to play, the rest u hear tommozza!  

    Day 7 and 8 Of the N-Tense D-Centz Tour

    Day 7 Up well before the sun this morning. Benbro has to be back in Auckland and we still got some highway bombing to do! Driving past the still gulf waters at Thames gabe be reading his Stoke Machine blog! pumped!! Highway bomb at the Bombay hills and wow, hectic. sooo gnarly as we came in from the merge, couple big semi's and speedy had committed. I followed in and punched a gap in front of two big doubles. Dude, wake up call i tells ya! Mondo traffic action, close to peak hour. Fun just to say i did it. Droppin Benbro at the airport with a heap 'o time to get sorted. Its been a rad time as always with ya Benny, ka kite ano bra! Just two of the team left now, Gab-wah and myself. Won't be long before the crew be back as a complete unit takin on the world! Mondo stoke, LANDYACHTZ  has totally hooked the tour up with the goods! I got thrown a package of new thane to shred the shit on! Banners, Boards, T's Stickers and Wheels up for a silent auction on the kuzzi facebook page. All u peeps that want some Landyachtz product, get to GNARTEAROA on Facebook and throw down some dollar to help this siiiik tour!  massive thanks to me wantoks over there in BC,  always getting er done eh! Stopped in at Cheap Skates and said our OI's to the crew. Gabe has needed some new kicks for a while now so it gave him the opportunity to  barter a deal and swap some thane for some Nike SB mid cut. Nice shoe, good deal. Flicked through the stack of Concrete Waves and found a few adds with my ugly mug. Signed em and showed the boys. Tell ya the truth, i don't think they knew wat was up. Full on shorty crew, but as I've said, thats cool. Thats their thing. Wahkoowa Testicle Facility: Speedy's been keepin' this one relatively secret. I understand why! Not much but perfect sums this one up. Lurkin' behind a locked gate, this gold mine was the home of the jedus and brothers to our ole'mate the mondo stiffy! Butter pavement, closed road, mellow gutters, nice bends, two lanes no join seal, epic view. I say its perfect because of the pure nature of the environment. A road we all dream of. I swear I've dreamt of this sorta shit for years. Gabe, Bondi,  and myself throw fffwwwwaaahhhh- pppaaaah after fwwwahh-paaah! Toeside to heelside. Kuzzi Phil after racing here under the organising of speedy knew only top mob and massive skid action was deployed. This was his style, thats cool, yeah bra! Shaza and Karl learnt the way of the s-up (stand up style), following the style of the s-up crew they started dialing that shit in in a matter of a couple hours. The pom and wicked sauce layin' down in style too. Great to see the crew stoke on skids and froth off those inspiring them. I was inspired by all! We got a solid two days here. Spewin that the rest of the crew couldn't sample, we'll just have to get our jedus flown mondo styles for the unlucky bastards eh! LOVE! Hit up HOPKIN.COM for some of the new Landyachtz Mini Zombies. Im not sure how many siiiik skids i did this arv, but they preformed superbly. New core, New shape, New size = MONDO JEDUS!!!!! Hop's Note: Check out a sick vid Gabe edited of Yates and Craig shredding at the Testicle Facility: Day 8 Cant wait to get the hill this morning, some epic arvi conditions yesty meant  mondo stoke early. Breaki and to the hill it was. Another feeling of disbelief as we turned up the gate. This must be real. this place is real mo-fos! get to NZ, hit up speedy and he'll get it hooked up! Mondo stiffies and flowing jedus is the story of the day. The bus rank of it. The crew are frothing. Some great stuff went down today. The usual players doin their things. Gabe and i did a run down that was crazy, but right there unlocked the capabilities of the gem: you could mob it fast s-up. The day was epic. Some auckland groms came to shred, luke and Joseph, thanks boys! Shazza and Bondi cored wheels and were tearing shit to bits on minimal thane before a change up. it was the road for it. Hot its said to be slippery and cold, crazy grippy? Hope its hot!! Swim down the beach with a few coldies, scrub the jedus and get some salt on the skins always refreshing. dinner and a couple stoke sessions on tomorrow and the hay shall be hit!