Traveling is hectic, lets be honest, but all the hecticness is for the hope that once you get where you’re going everything will be nice and relaxing, Well thats not skateboarding. Being a traveling athlete in a lets say not too appreciated sport, my sleeping options are as follows… 1. A couch (if you’re lucky) 2. a floor 3. a hammock (if there’s any trees) or your car. That being said a lot of times you’re with your homies, in a beautiful place in the world, about to go skateboard… so that kinds makes up for it.
Catalina was my most recent excursion, and this time it was a little different, our generous sponsor Long Island Longboards covered our part of the room. With the knowledge that I had a hotel room for the first time, I packed light, no sleeping bag, no pad, but a small blanket from my car, just in case. Like I said, my sponsor paid for part of our room, we had four people already so i was a little surprised to hear that we had five other people staying in our room.
For the reasoning of showing up late, and being a grom, I slept on the floor. Whenever I stay in a house or room while traveling, I hope for rug in case my sleeping pad pops so I have a little comfort left. This time though it was a little different, I had no sleeping bag or pad, and I was sleeping on hardwood. This didn’t bum me out though, because I was on an island with friends, so waking up a little stiff was not much of a concern. Looking back on all of my trips, where i slept was never a worry, traveling alone or with friends, I always had an up for anything attitude, in some of the most beautiful places I’ve experienced.
This is from one of my most memorable nights, traveling up to santa cruz I saw the sign for highway 1 at lompoc, without even thinking I turned off and trecked up along the coast. I ended up sleeping in my hammock in a random part of big sur. I was surrounded by redwoods without a person around. I woke up early to the sound of sheets of rain pummeling the tarp above my hammock, so I got up and trecked up the coast,Being easily one of my most memorable nights.
Every year in may, hundreds of skaters from around the world decent on the little island 30 wish miles off the coast of LA for a race. This year it was thought to be cancelled so when someone pulled out the money to hold it last minute, I was overjoyed. I am fortunate enough to be supported by wonderful companies (who’s sites will be posted below) that financially support me and my passion of skateboarding. My newest sponsor, Long Island Longboards, covered all my cost for racing bed and travel and my luck in dice covered a decent amount of my food, so I was pretty stoked. Like almost every other skate event nowadays, I dislocated my shoulder skitching up the hill when my race suit caught my wheel… so that sucked. Otherwise our team was graced with good fortune until my friend had an accident and fractured three of his vertebrae, luckily not causing any damage to his spinal chord, he needed to be medivaced to MERCY where he could be safely monitored.
Racing for juniors like me at catalina is a struggle, mainly because their is no junior class, so we race with the pro’s in open. Racing in open is always a rad experience getting close and personal with open racers gives you a better perspective on lines and drafting, so even though i didn’t do especially well, I came out with a smile on my face and a chance to race next to many of the people I was watching mesmerized when I first started skating. One of the main attractions for catalina however, is that you and all of your friends from around the world are put in a town that you can cross in less than 3 minutes by foot. This makes for fun times at night and after racing and makes it easy to make new friends and skitch some runs with a golf cart.
The catalina race attracts more than just skaters too, making it a really cool place to go and meet new people and make new friends, so even though I slept on a hardwood floor for three days and hurt my shoulder even more, it always a good time to get out there and have fun in far or close places without parents, guardians or counselors looking over you, and I’m lucky enough to do things like this normally.
Huge thanks to Dubes Eldorf for organizing, Long island longboards for cover my trip and all my other sponsors who helped out as well as Thomas Flinchbaugh for making everything happen for me. and like I learned from my aussie housemates, Chuck ‘er in the Ute!
If you spend any decent amount of time with me its pretty obvious that i like canada. Canada is a haven of downhillers with a plethora of amazing runs on their west coast as well as cripp food and nice people. British Colombia is home to some of the best runs, skaters, and events in the world. Every summer people are drawn from around the world for some of the greatest races and events of the year. A staple is the Britannia beach race. This year is its ninth annual running in Squamish bc, one of the most gorgeous parts of the planet, where lions bay meets the mountains of whistler.
Britannia is held every year during the end of may on a gorgeous switchback road that is “illegal” to skate the rest of the year.
Another staple canadian event is the giants head free ride held in, Giants head, bc just north of the spokane border. giants head is a small town that sits right on lake kelowna. It has a closed off hiking trail that snakes and turns forever and draws many to skate it year round. Giants head attracts most attention though during a three day weekend in the summer where giant ramps and wall rides are places on the fast, narrow road. Giants head is a very non serious event and extremely popular so its a great excuse to take a week or two and just kick back with some skate friends that you may only see once or twice a year.
Our team took two weeks to drive up the west coast from san fransisco on the #giantheadquest. The trip in a psychedelically painted bus with 14 homies was an amazing experience. This trip was the beginning of the opportunities that downhill skating offers me, rad new places, all the time, with rad people.
ALSO… canada has Tim Hortons which is dunking donuts on steroids and is seriously cripp . the donuts are next level and they’re consistently fire no matter where you are. Which basically seals the deal every time I “have to” go up to canada for a few days.
as big a part as the skateboard is in the sport just as big in the sport is the people you skate with. Many of my races and rips would not be possible without Yung mook, aka Michal cihlar.
Michal Cihlar is a seventeen year old from Burlingame (bay area) california sponsored by Powell peralta, Thesewheels and aera trucks. Michal has sprung up in the scene like many other heavy hitting groms withing the skate community. Everyone first truly took notice of Michal at Brittania classic, It was his first formal race and he was jittery but still leading every heat by 100 ft. Michal has been consistently killing it on the hill or at the airport (where he consistly picks me up for races).
Michal is extremely race driven as a skater and rightfully so. Many skaters race, but their are few who are unexplainably fast and gifted when it comes to racing. One of these people is Michal who came out in 6th place in the juniors class for his first year of racing. Me traveling to races without parents I have made an annoying habit of leeching off of him and his dad for rides to and from the airport and an occasional floor to sleep on for a night or two. Being with michal during races you can see the mindset he shifts into race mode. Young look makes aa often occurrence to santa barbara and my hammock. We’ve have some pretty chillen local rips and over the days he has become a good friend. We’ve had some popular acai and some good memories across states and country lines. If you want to see more media of michal cihlar look on the aera trucks, powell peralta, or these wheels instagram or Facebook pages as well as peninsula downhill. Young look as known as michal cihlar will be the subject of next week’s blog as well, downhill and driving part two with his nineteen ninety nine e thirty six m three.
Like every other weekend for me, I packed my bags and skateboards and went on another skate trip. This week was to the downhill disco in san diego california. I left on thursday morning for a stop at ucla’s pediatric surgery center to look at my hurt shoulder and if surgery was necessary. The situation wasnt great but I do not need surgery with heightened my mood a little before driving through LA in the late afternoon. As expected LA traffic was hell as I went in and out of first gear, paining my left leg and feeling alologetic for my clutch. I got into san diego around dusk and went straight to the skatepark with my local guide Jasper Ohlson.
We woke up early friday and got on the daily grind quick, no plans but skateboarding. We cruised to the skatepark and then to a local closed road leading straight to the beach. I reconnected with a ton of homies from all around who came to shred a little before the disco. The session was primo but ended with cops yelling and threatening us with citations and fines, of us “trespassing on private property” ignoring the many bikers and pedestrians simply because they are stigma free.
The disco started with confusion and organizers not being ready for hyphy groms the skate, the only way an event should start. I caught a few runs before I was found and forced to register and pay the miniscule 15$ entry fee while most events cost 200$.
The downhill disco has became popular for taking place on a straight, slow, boring road, and shoving heinous, big and fast ramps and rails along the course. The downhill disco is essentially a skatepark with a grade or the closest thing with have to skatercross in the US.
The disco went off pretty smoothly this year, no one got too injured and it seemed as if everyone had a great deal of fun
If you spend any serious time around the downhill skateboarding community it becomes very clear that a fairly large amount of skateboarders feel a great connection with their cars and driving. Some of the people use their cars for follow car filming, staying withing feet of skaters at a high speed to get the optimal video qualities. Others take their cars to tracks, while many just find a quiet mountain road to unwind and clear their head.
For me driving takes from the same purity that downhilling does. Its about precision and perfection always seeking a better line and more exit speed. However driving lacks some purity by adding internal combustion and extra speed being available withing seconds. This being said the extra speed does add more excitement and requiring more awareness. I drive a 2005 Mazda rx8, It is a light way rotary engine car with immense grip and a simplistic 6 speed manual transmission that demands a high level of driver focus and keeps me connected and in tune with my car.
I had a chance to talk to josh rolf from Gullwing trucks who is known for his love of both skating and driving. “I think I love downhill skateboarding and driving performance cars for the challenge and, of course, the thrill. There is something really special about coming into a corner with what seems to be too much speed, getting a hold of the situation, nailing the apex, and accelerating out, floating to the very edge of the road as you carry speed away. It’s as if you have bent the rules of physics for just a moment. And the challenge is refining your technique until you feel comfortable doing that at every turn.” Josh also talks about the ability to further push your limits on closed courses, where there is no outside factors that you need to worry about like when skating or driving an open road. He also says that his continued interest in both is in sharing a similar mindset with people around you and that there is always room for improvement in the sport no matter how good you are. Josh drives a 2016 subaru Brz and a 1991 na turbocharged miata.