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.
For the last hour and for the next four ill most likely be sitting in traffic in the most annoying congested place i know, LA. Road tripping is a pretty constant phenomenom for me constantly driving or flying to anywhere with roads and pavement, but its uncommon for me to not be sitting in the drivers seat. This is most likely the only time i wont be out of service or pushong my limits in front of a camera before this is due, so creative quality is lacking with my brain being well stimulated by slow moving cars.
we did however get to stop at an iconic malibu run during this trip south. The break was a great way to tire ourselves out before sitting in the car. Our final destination is a camp site somewhere in the depths of the san diego backcountry. I came packed with dehydrated food, self roasted coffee, and a ton if wheels, excited to disconnect from technology and get rowdy on the hills with my fellow team members. San Diego has always had a lower priority for me to go and skate compared to up north, almost entirely because you need to drive through la and cities to get there. Wayz has been constantly redirecting us trying to find a way out of miles of traffic, its been fairly unsuccessful so far.
weve been on the road for three hours and only have three more to go. Traffic free our destination is less than 4 hours away. Being the first time in a while not driving on the trip, its a lot harder to forget where you are and what your doing, transitioning into autopilot.
Downhill skating is all based on fast technical winding roads that keep you on your toes. Where else is better than canyon roads, alpine highways, and mountain runs? They are all either fast, steep, technical, or all of the above. Many of the most sought after runs are deep in the backwoods or high in the mountains of national parks, adding to the joy and serenity that downhilling provokes.
One of the best perks of being a sponsored skater is being sent around to some of the most scenic places in the world. There’s a special feeling you get soaring through lava fields at 12,000 feet or navigating roads surrounded by massive sequoias. “Its a great feeling to look down at an empty canyon skating and just think ‘ THIS IS MINE!'”- Eric singer. Every trip I go on I bring my dslr planning on catching glimpses of my adventures… but I never remember to take photos because I look at the beauty for too long.
Skating has connected me with nature in a spiritual and loving way that i never would have felt if not for it. I had always enjoyed nature and scenery but I learned a deep and profound appreciation for it and how often we take it for granted, just by riding my skateboard staring at the sunset and the mountains. In my previous post I discussed camping and last minute detours, which were all for the experience of nature. If not for skateboarding I never would have traveled nearly as much as I fiend to nowadays nor would I have come to appreciate nature, as well as our own, as much as I do now. I am lucky to travel with people who feel the same as I, who would rather sleep under the tree or the stars than sleep in a hotel. I encourage you to go out into the backcountry of wherever you are and lose your thoughts in nature, to learn of how important our nature is and how little we remember that.
Every year in San Diego, ca, a competition goes on called the downhill disco. The thing is its not really a competition, and theirs no disco balls. It’s comprised of a group of skaters not trying all to hard and lurking around trying not to be serious.
The event isn’t really too downhill either, but to make up for that some big ramps and rails are put on the run quickly making it interesting. The event is a great place to come to see your out of town friends and just enjoy your runs with no intimidation of qualifying or podiums.
Noah and I had a competition to see who took the most photos of each other, I think i won. Friends like Noah are the reason events like this are so special. Noah and I are teammates and friends who enjoy skating with each other as much as possible, but since he lives in LA its events like these where we can skate together.
Louis Pilloni, a San Diego local, transition into the hip. Even though I keep talk about this event not being a competition, they try to believe it is. Holding a skater-cross race and big air contest makes the event semi real, with a prize purse for the winner. Even though the event is not too serious, it attracts quite a bit of attention from the media.
After the long weekend with old and new friends pushing my limits on little ramps that are mote fun than they are worth, The six hour drive back to sd was one of the worst to date. In between here and san diego theirs two hundred miles of ugly brown military training and LA, making the drive neither scenic, nor easy. So after the usual heap of LA traffic that appears for absolutely no reason, we got past the grade into the valley, and eventually home. Despite the lack of seriousness or challenge, the downhill disco is a great event full of smiles and people not having to take things seriously, If you;re in san diego this may, its a must.