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New Zealand Freestyle Skiing

Our friend Blake Kimmel created this New Zealand edit four years ago when he and friend Dillon Morris took a trip there to explore the land. They met up with several locals, explored the tourist scene a bit, and enjoyed a few great parties. Sit back and enjoy their video documentary short.

The Spotl!ght Project

Originally produced by Jiberish, Level 1 and ABSTRACTmall, the spotlight project was distributed internationally in DVD and digital format. Shot, edited, and produced by creative genius Blake Kimmel, the film features riders Mike Clarke, Henrik Lampert, Adam Delorme, Alex Martini, Tom Wallisch, Ben Wiltsie, Josh Bishop, Matt Walker, and others.

We’re proud to be one of the only websites around offering a complimentary high quality uncut showing of the spotlight project video free of charge and we encourage anyone who wants the DVD or a high res quiktime version to visit ABSTRACTmall and pay up to support the riders.

Now scope the film and get stoked for your next ride!

Baja Offroading

This short follows Court and Dave on their adventures with a 1989 Toyota Pickup named Maybeline. From the Hollister Hills off road park to San Luis Obispo sand dunes much fun is had. You’ll see a few jumps, a bit of mudding, some hill climbing and more in between.

Ultimately Maybeline’s engine blew up when the air filter got punctured while driving the sand dunes. Court replaced the engine and did a few more tune ups before selling her off to a friend in Oklahoma. Look for Maybeline in an upcoming Toyota commercial (we’ll post it here soon as it airs).

Colorado Backcountry Snowboarding

Winter is swiftly approaching my mind is filling with thoughts of Colorado and the great backcountry skiing and snowboarding found there. I grew up in Loveland (not the ski area) the sleepy town nestled at the foot of the Rockies along the Big Thompson River. Loveland was primarily a retirement town when I was younger but now it’s known for its outlet mall along I-25. The foothills and golf courses there served as great sledding hills and eventually urban jib areas but I digress…

Just a short hour drive up the canyon West of Loveland is Estes Park, a town just outside of Rocky Mountain National Park, and once you’re past Estes you’ve entered into the real backcountry. Bear Lake is a decent spot for cliff dropping and I’ve trained in avalanche safety there a couple of times. The real spot for adventure is Hidden Valley.

Hidden Valley used to be a legitimate ski area until the forest service stopped renewing the ski license and eventually ripped out the lifts and the lodge. These days it serves more as a sledding ground and snowshoeing retreat as well as cross country skiing. Look hard enough though and you’ll see a few dedicated souls with backpacks, snowshoes, and planks or a board ready for the long arduous climb up the continental divide.

The runs are still very navigable and obvious as the trees haven’t quite grown back in. None of the trails are very steep and on a powder day this can be a bummer, who wants to hike for two hours and only make it half way down before hiking out? Usually I b-line my way out and try to follow my tracks or other compressed snow.

Ultimately, the coolest part of Hidden Valley is the road that cuts through. That’s because this road “Trail Ridge Road” has a special section called “Rainbow Curve” which makes for a stellar road gap. It’s only two lanes wide (with a small shoulder) but that’s plenty if you’ve never tried something like this before. I’ve gapped the road several times, even back flipped it, image below shows one success and once when I came up short. Just above the road is a nice natural hip and a good spot for a cheese wedge style jump just about where treeline is.

  • hidden valley snowboarding road gap fail
  • rainbow curve snowboard road gap backflip
  • I’ve never been much higher than treeline but I’m sure the view is amazing, it’s also steeper and wide open. I don’t think avalanches are a big deal here but it’s always wise to know what you’re doing, check the snow conditions, ask the rangers etc. Also, the rangers will make you destroy your road gap if they catch you so be safe and be discreet! Below is another picture from Hidden Valley, this backflip was done just above the road near the treeline. The shots were taken from video and this was not a digital camera circa 2001 so it’s a bit grainy.


    Just below is the short film “Hidden” shot mostly between 1998 and 2000 in Hidden Valley Rocky Mountain National Park and Breckenridge Colorado. The images above were taken from footage shot in this video, about half way through you can see the road gap footage.

    Epic Waves at Linda Mar

    Linda Mar is a popular surfing beach just south of San Francisco in Northern California. It’s one a few great beaches in and around Pacifica including Rockaway and Montara. I actually used to live there and surf daily, now I make the short commute from Mountain View, which is in Silicon Valley near San Jose, on a weekly basis.

    I went out surfing twice this weekend and the first day had a bunch of close outs with frequent intervals which made it a challenge just to get out. Today the sets actually had shoulders and the water was a bit warmer. Something about Linda Mar keeps the fog away despite being called “the foggy city” and today was no exception. We had a nice pocket of blue sky overhead and everyone was super friendly.

    I was borrowing Dave’s new fish which came out of a small shop in Santa Cruz and he was riding a new Al Merrick Channel Islands board called M16. I got to ride both, but in the end I preferred the fish as I’m fairly light and the M16 rode more like a mini gun or a long board… hence the M16 name. While surfing we met a girl from Minnesota (Linda Mar attracts a lot of newbies and groms) and shared a few stories before dropping off by Nor Cal Surf Shop where my New Zealand Hughes Performance Thruster was getting it’s tail cancer checked out by Brian Tognozzi, one of the guys you see surfing on the homepage images.

    All in all, great day – best of the week. If you’ve never tried a fish then I highly recommend doing some reconnaissance work or borrowing a friend’s if you can. They catch waves super easy but end up being maneuverable because of the swallow tail design and the short length. My back foot slipped off once because I’m used to riding with a stomp pad but otherwise it was great. If you live around San Francisco and have Monday off or can duck out early then cruise on down and check out the waves!

    Santa Cruz Water Conditions

    On July 31st Dave and I went down to Pleasure Point in Santa Cruz to ride the epic South Swell. Unfortunately the water quality has been pretty low and there was a dead seal stinking the place up bad. I got sick and was out for a few days and have been coughing ever since. Fortunately the waves were amazing, double overhead on Saturday August 1st but still pretty great on Friday.

    Pleasure Point is a great place to surf in Northern California because the sets break in a few different places and the kelp keeps out sharks. There are several great shops nearby that rent boards (including the legendary Santa Cruz boardshop). Parking is easy to find and there are several ways to get down to the beach.

    In addition to the recent low water quality issues, the cliffside is falling into the sea. Massive construction is underway to support the road and on this particular day some of the wooden supports had been knocked out by the waves and were floating around in the whitewash. High tide is pummeling the wall and whether it’s global warming or just a storm or tide change the cliff is taking a beating. Good news is that probably won’t be the case by the time you read this… Pleasure Point also has a shower station down at the South end.

    In case you’re in town and want to check the spot out here’s a map (you can zoom in and actually see a couple of long boarders out there). More than Steamer’s Lane or a few other spots in Santa Cruz, Pleasure Point is friendly and open. Cowell’s is another great spot where the waves are more attuned to long boarders and the riders are very chill and mostly girls. Cowell’s is just South of Pleasure Point near the boardwalk. More on Pleasure Point at Surfline and magicseaweed

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