Looking back on 2010, there was a lot of stuff I did not get around to do. There are even more articles I started but never posted. Some get deleted because I have second thoughts or it is old news that everyone knows. There is a bunch of articles that in draft form, never completed but ready to go. Looking at them, they are really good, and I'm going publish them over the next week. So here are the misfits, the forgotten stories of 2010. This article dates back to October 2009!!! Api Ihaia and I did a deal on some Orangatang wheels. I'd give him some wheels for an article on the Hopkin Skate Blog. The idea was we were about to start shipping to New Zealand, so I wanted a local story or article to launch the service. In typical Hopshop fashion, we got busy and forgot to publish the article but we did launch the NZ service. Api Ihaia (remember this is 18 months old) and Dunedin downhill 2009 kia ora! Hi, I'm Api Ihaia, I'm 18 years of age and I have been longboarding for about a year and a half. I started longboarding as a way to get to the beach when I did not have a car. my mate gave me his Loaded Pintail to use and that board is the reason I love downhill and sliding. I live on a wee hill with a couple of good corners and a straight so every day on the way to the beach I would try and start higher and higher up the hill until I could go from my house. Skating this hill most days opened up my eyes to other hills around Dunedin. I started taking this board every where and hitting bigger hills and going faster so I was clearly hooked at this point. Another mate from a local skate shop saw I was bombing hills so he gave me a dvd of people doing downhill and sliding around corners. I had to learn this but I thought sliding was impossible, it wasnt 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. with the addition of my new deck I got from Hopkin Racing, my Rayne Killswitch, and Aera Trucks I got from K-Rimes (yeah I know my set up is the same a k rimes, its perfect if you wanted to know) the hills I can attempt now, well the sky is the limit. I just need to improve my riding to keep up with my board. I'm from Dunedin. Dunedin is a city with a population of 125,000, of which 20,000 are students. a big number of these students have longboards to ride around campus and are usually looked upon as kooks by the local skateboarders and people in the city. You can skate around uni on any given day and see these students with boards such as evo's just getting used to commute around uni.... these boards are never getting to see any hill action in there life! The longboarders at uni are not all kooks though, I have meet a few that I ride with regularly and I have introduced them to sliding and we go out for sessions so they can develop their skills and eventually shred the gnar. Most of Dunedin's hill roads are chipseal so crashing is not nice but I figure the more I ride these types of roads, the more it will force me to not crash and my riding should become better on smooth roads. The best roads in Dunedin are chipseal and are steep with windy corners so they can get quite technical, the chipseal can get greasy occasionally and the corners usually have gravel on the edges so they are a good challenge. It is my goal to skate all of them, as long as I can, always improving my riding so I can dominate these roads. In Dunedin, we have a crew of riders, we are yet to come up with a name but it will be an epic one haha. There is about 30 of us in Dunedin that longboard. we cover all disciplines, most of us slide, a few of us dance and I'm am trying to persuade everybody into taking up downhill but that is easier said than done. We all try and promote longboarding so that the community have a positive view on what we do and also make sure we all have fun so when people (other longboarders) see what we do they'll want to join. The police don't hassle us very often and when they do they just warn us about being safe, I have had some good and bad run ins with the police, my favourite one was when I first started they asked if we could stop skating this hill because traffic was at its peak, my mate said why should we and the policeman said "I'll make a deal, if i clock your speed you can't skate here for the rest of the day" we said yes and we all got around 55kph so all parties were happy. The policeman seemed stoked and said I didn't realise you could go that fast. That was when we first started so our speeds are faster now. There is four of us coming to Newtons (2009 World Championships) to represent for the Land of the Long White Cloud, so hopefully we can beat a bunch of you guys. I cant wait until Newtons, where I can develop my riding further, my goal is to do well, but even if I don't I know my riding will get better and I will get to meet riders from everywhere around the world that share my enthusiasm for the sport I love. Hop's note: Api competed at Newtons 2009. He placed 60th overall. He drew K-rimes in his first qualifying race, K-rimes won that heat, Api came 4th, I can not remember how the race went down, I think Api crashed in the Esses. K-rimes when on to win Newtons and claim his first World Championship crown. Api update: He now lives in Wellington, in a skatehouse. We'll get an update later this week.
By Gabe Gywnne Well, home at last! What a trip it was, a big shout out to everyone in Vancouver and Cali for being incredibly rad, no matter where you are from or how bad your hair is [cough...leigh and bowditch..cough] there was always a warm bed, couch or floor to be slept on and plenty of shredders more than happy to show you around and take you to rad hills and parties. Thanks to Jacko, Yates, Leigh and Bowditch for being awesome team members and helping me out with food, drink, money and love when I lost my bank card. And a big thanks to Hop for helping me out with gear, entry fees and spending money. I couldn't have done it without the support! Hopefully next year there will be even more Aussies making the trip over with us, I'll be going back to skate those hills again for sure, hopefully I'll even be able to make it to the Euro tour too! With so many riders all over the world pushing the limits of what can be done on a skateboard the sport is only going uphill (or should I say downhill) from here. Start saving your dollars and booking your airfares Aussies, next year is going to be RAD!!! While travelling around I saw some pretty crazy new advancements in gear, here's a few things you might be seeing on the market in the near future! Longboard Trucks Mischo Erban and Fred from Knucklenuts are working on a new truck that looked pretty awesome, they are called Ronin Trucks.
They are just like a regular CNC truck but with one little addition. The design is similar to that of the Fyre trucks, but not as overworked. There is a thick metal pin on a ball pivot running from the middle of the hangar (above the bushing seat on the board side) down to the baseplate which takes all the weight off the bushings. This eliminates any chance of 'slop' from the turn of the truck. I had a little ride around on Mischo's setup. He was running 96a bushings and still had all the stability that a harder bushing gives, but at the same time they had the lean that you would get from a 78a bushing. Cool stuff eh? While at the skatehouse in California I got to know one of the guys who works with Munkae Trucks in Arizona. Zeid was an awesome guy and lent me his setup to thrash on the whole time I was there. I got talking to him one night about what's happening behind the scenes at Munkae. They are working on some 174mm hangars at the moment (Hopshop will have them in stock in the next 10 days), apparently one of the team riders has been testing them out on some fast hairpin corners and the amount of grip from having your weight right on top of your wheels is incredible. He has been gripping through corners on that everyone else has to slide for, these sound tasty! Also look forward to two new baseplate angles, 49's and 35's should be out soon! I also managed to check out a set of CNC cut Randall 180's that James Kelly had been given to test out, these looked like sexy trucks. Not sure if they are going to be on the market for a while but keep your ears and eyes open! Longboard Decks While I was staying in Laguna Beach with Evren i had a chance to ride the new Sector 9 Race board that Evren designed. A sleek little topmount with a nice, simple concave (no W-cave), a wheelbase of about 27'-28' and a sick graphic to boot. He was stoked that I liked it and said he would try and send one out to me when they made a few more. These should be in production soon, YEW! Along with his new trucks, Mischo is also starting a board company called GMR. I only saw a couple of their designs while I was there, one of them Mischo's own board and the other a sick looking top mount cruiser. Mischo's board is a drop through design with a very short wheelbase (it looked around 27') he had built up a multitude of foam gas pedals on the front and back of the board which made for a pretty snug foot-lock. I didn't get a very good look at the cruiser but it looked like a fun cruising/carving/commuting board. Longboard Wheels Evren also showed me some sick prototype Sector9 square-lipped wheels. They were 74mm, 78a and at first glance looked like any other wheel, little did I know that they were a set from the first batch of wheels with a core made from urethane! Evren said they were grippy as hell and perfect for railing corners. He's going to be testing them out at Maryhill this week, I should have an update on how they went soon! Jacko came back from the crazy wonderland also known as the Loaded/Orangatang workshop with a set of 75mm Purple O'tangs which looked and felt like an ordinary O'tang. After looking at them for a good 10 minutes trying to figure out what was different I noticed that the core was made from METAL! He shredded them down Tuna Canyon the next day and said they felt goooood! Hopefully all of these new innovative designs will be out on the market soon, the technology behind longboarding is getting more and more advanced every day! Its great to be back in Aus, super keen for some Bomb Squad action this week! Look forward to a write-up and some pictures of my first bombsquad back with the crew! Thursday Night, 6.30PM, Railway Square near Central station, Sydney. COME AND SHRED SOME GNAR!!! Peace Gabe P.s. Sector 9 is also starting a Grom team in California, look out everyone, there's some more crazy grommets about to come into the scene!
Banshee Bungee Urban Assault reviewBy Robbo Trav and myself met at the Hopshop this morning. The day before I told young Kelly Carter if he wanted a skate tomorrow up the Blue Mountains he had to be at the shop by 8:30am. With an expected max temp of 8 degrees in the mountains Kelly shows up with just a T-shirt. When questioned about the expected temp he explains this to me in a way that only a 14yr old grom can. Kelly says if he brings a hoodie he has to bring a backpack and if he has a back pack it will slow down his tuck and ruin his aero on the bomb down Bondi Rd on his way home. Knowing the run down Bondi rd will take about 2mins and we will be in the mountains for the next 8hrs Trav and myself just stare at each other in general amusement. I ask Kelly if he has any pads and he pulls out a ripped up piece of polyester, foam and plastic that looks like his dog had chewed on. Knowing what was ahead I grab a new set of 187 Fly knees and elbows off the shelf and tell him he'll have to work a day in the shop next week for them. Stocked with his new 187 pads we finally got gromtang Kelly in the car with the promise of a mountain skate and a cheeseburger. Little did Kelly know we were headed off to the SpaceStation to meet the BMB for a test session of the new 20ft Urban Assault Banshee. We needed a heavy weight to anchor the beast, so we headed over to BMB strongman Scott 'the Guff' Guthrie's place. When Kelly heard this he new he was in trouble. Like most groms, Kelly had heard all the stories of the legendary Guff the 'grom punisher' and told us he was a little scared of the big man. Kelly knows when you enter BMB territory you do it with the approval of Guff or you don't do it. We turn up at the BMB forward outpost in Bankstown and the Guff rolled out with his 10 ton anchor rope just for the occasion. Kelly sat quietly in the back when Guff jumped in the car next to him, there was a short uncomfortable moment when Guff looked at Kelly then gave us the nod and we headed up the highway to the BMB headquarters. When we show up at the SpaceStation, legendary Springwood rider and president of the BMB Mountain Mic Codner has already got the hill warmed up. We head over to the top corner and unravel the Urban Assault, the crew stands back in awe as the triple braided latex banshee bungee shudders with molecular violence. Let me tell you when you unravel one of these babies you know your lifting the game to a whole new level. We waste no time in hooking this puppy to the pole at the top of the hill and tell crash test grom Kelly to pad up and get ready. On the first test myself and Guff crank the bungee back with Mountain Mic on the video to capture any possible carnage. Having never tried it before Trav decides that holding the bungee with one hand is the go, we count him in and let it rip. Its hard to fully explain the amount of acceleration you get from one of these things, when we let it go Trav's arm is nearly ripped from his shoulder as he takes off like a missile, hits the first corner and nearly drifts off the track. He walks back up the hill with a grin on his face and says 'this is the best money I've spent since I bought my first skateboard. Crash Test Grom now heads up to the line with a half concerned half excited look on his face and tells us to take it easy. In true BMB style we take him back to the members tees and put him on the line. Weighing only 50kgs on take off, launching Kelly was like releasing the second stage of a rocket. He accelerates at the full 0-60 in 2 seconds and ends up with the fastest run down the PumpStaion he has ever had. I must say the sight of the grom launching down the track faster than a Porsche with his tongue flapping across his cheek was awesome. Next was big Guff on the classic luge, we use 3 guys to get the bungee back a good 8m further than anybody else and fire him down the road. Guff hammers down the straight and hauls through the first 2 corners, he approaches the S-bend at a higher speed than he has ever before and buries his rail, drifts across the line and before he knows it careers through the rubble and grass and straight into the deep bush. The sight of Guff approaching the guys covered in dirt with grass stuck in his trucks was just hilarious. Its hard to fully explain the feeling of acceleration you get from one of these banshees, due to using gravity when you skate you feel a great sense of speed but you tend not to feel the force of acceleration very much. I can tell you this all changes when you launch off the bungee, you do something you have never been able to do on a skateboard before, feel about 50m of extreme acceleration. This thing suddenly puts into play a whole bunch of mid range hills and corners that you never considered before. On a short Downhill run instead of taking 300m to get up to speed you do it in about 2 seconds and you get to drift or slide that first corner you usually high tucked around. A Banshee Bungee takes about 20 seconds to setup. You can use it anywhere, on a downhill track, in a ditch, carpark, back lane or out the front of your house. Well worth the price of admission, to see the terror in your parents face, the green envy in your mates eyes, and the thrill of car acceleration on your longboard. This is an extreme sport product, you MUST wear protective clothing, a helmet essential. You would not jump out of a car going 60kmph, dont skate a longboard that fast without safety gear.
He be in California, land of longboarder movie stars. In true Gabe style, he gives us a run down on a new country and time zone, and answers the question: is it true Louis has a makeup assistant to help him get really for his S9 videos? Seems our Aussie travelers missed their flight, and took up residence in an uncomfortable lounge area... [Gabe] Leigh, Bowditch and myself slept at Vancouver airport last night and caught the first flight this morning. Louis came and picked us up from the airport, took us back to the skatehouse, where we chilled for a few hours before driving over to Tuna Canyon for some epic gnar. Tuna was incredible, I have never skated anything remotely like it. The road is smooth and slippery and the corners banked and occasionally a bit off-camber which can send you off into one of the many rockwalls. Crashed about 5 times on my first run down, the purple otang inheats were a bit too slippery for my liking. I was finding it hard to hook back up from my predrifts which sent me into the dirt a fair few times. I'm going to chuck on some orange tangs or yellow S9 70mm RF's for tomorrow, hopefully I'll be able to rail the corners a bit better. The top section of the hill isn't part of Tuna Canyon, its about a 3km run through some rad little sweepers and left-right chicanes called Saddle Peak, at the end of Saddle Peak the road comes to an intersection and you take a right hand turn into Tuna Canyon. The first section of the run is very mellow, the road is still two-way traffic and winds through a few corners with some sick driveways to slash and little banks running down each side of the road. You cruise through this section for about 1-2kms. Then you come through a right hander and the road turns to one-way, this is when it starts getting gnarly. The road starts winding down, the corners getting a bit tighter and the gradient getting steeper and steeper. The speed sneaks up on you, only when you come up to the first left-right do you realize how fast your going. Coming into these left- rights is tricky, if you leave it too late and try to sneak through the left and throw a big toeside check its very easy to slide wayyy too far and eat shit into the bushes [and go off a cliff if your going really fast], But throwing a slide through the left hander was also tricky, the road cambers off to the right so if you throw your heelside check too late you get almost sucked into the gnarly rockwall. After a couple of these [getting faster and faster] you come out of the right and there is a huge left hand hairpin which is followed by more left-rights [also know as 'The Repeaters'] each one getting steeper and faster. I only did one run so my memory is a bit fuzzy but if I remember correctly the last set of repeaters leads into a really goddamn fast straight [you would be hitting 90k's if you tucked it] into a tight right hand hairpin which goes over a small bridge. You then cruise down a rough mellow windy section and get spat out back at the highway. The whole thing altogether [including Saddle Peak] was about 10.5km] 2k's of that being Saddle Peak. Keep in mind I was carving down pretty much the whole fast part, throwing down slides more than I needed in some parts and was still hauling ass. It was my first run down and the day before, a shredder visiting Cali from Arizona called Zeid (Hop's note: Zeid Bataineh) , who rides for the DownhillDragonKlan, the creators of Munkae trucks, managed to eat shit on his second run down. He broke two bones in his hand and took a massive chip out of his two front teeth, I was taking it mega chill and trying to get a feel for the road. Tomorrow I'll try and go a bit faster now that I know what is ahead of me. This is the type of hill which demands respect, if you don't skate within your limits it will chew you up and spit you out in pieces. I'm off to get some Sushi, I'll do some filming tomorrow at GMR and Tuna again. Peace Gabe P.S: Mischo came around with P-Swiss today with a set of his new CNC trucks, they were a pretty sleek design and had some cool little additions to a regular CNC truck. He should be riding them at GMR tomorrow. I'll ask if I can take a picture or two. (Hop's note: don't ask, just do. It is easier to get forgiveness than permission!!)