Last week I traveled to the great Northwest of North America to experience longboard culture West Coast inspired. Annah Rowe, Micku Murgolo and I spent all of our pennies to fly to Vancouver, British Columbia for Attack of Danger Bay 9, a week event of camping/longboarding with that attracts DH longboarders from around the globe. Danger Bay is planned and organized by a notorious figure in the DH community, Bricin “Striker” Lyons. Strike is a energetic and enthusiastic personality who pours his heart and soul into organizing events to support the sport he loves, DH longboarding.
The ladies and I flew into Vancouver YVR airport at 5pm on May 19 with camping gear and a few directions provided by Striker and our friend Carly Richardson from Landyachtz. The plan was to get to VAN as early as possible, rent a car at the airport and meet the “Danger Hay” crew at the Sunshine Coast ferry for hay duty. This means all the event volunteers and visitors load up in big ass U-HAUL trucks to collect donated bails of hay from farmers around the local countryside. The average cost of hay is $7/bundle, 400 bundles were collected after a radio announcement on a country radio station requesting donations. HAY SAVES LIVES! DH racers skate fast and in control but on race day everything goes. The fastest skaters clock at speeds of 60mph+ in full leathers and full face helmets. The slightest touch from a competitor can wobble a skater and cause a slide across the steep pavement into the hay. The best part to watch. Unfortunately, we arrived after hay duty was completed which saved us from the nasty hay rash that spread among the volunteer community.
FYI – if you plan to travel internationally without much of a plan, look into changing your phone plan and/or data package to support international use. Verizon offers an option for unlimited data usage that allowed us to receive a phone GPS signal and internet for navigating Vancouver. Tip: Forget the phone usage change, chances are you will never make a phone call anyway.
From the airport we GPS’d the landyachtz shop which was a short 20min drive into awesome Vancouver. At the shop we were welcomed by the shop crew and visiting skaters from around the world. The vibe was chill and we immediately made friends, a lot of friends. I recognized more than half of the faces from Concrete wave mag and realized how it is a powerful networking tool as well as source for everything awesome. Carly greeted us with hugs as we paroozed the landy store adjacent to their sweet manufacturing facility which reminded me of home. As we explored the cerebrum of Landyacthz we met more familiar skaters and I was offered my first Pilsner tall boy. Pilsner is a Canadian beer brand that collaberated with Landy and a handful of Vancouver riders offering beer, board and monetary support. HUGE! “Hey PBR, where you at???” Everyone carries their own 12 pack of Pilser and everyone knows the karma in sharing. I love longboarders.
During the Landy tour I had the chance to discuss the new Bear truck design with the CAD design team responsible for the sweet new 1052 design and learned how and why the trucks were redesigned. The guys (and girls) offered good information that helps me better understand the mechanics of truck design. THANKS GUYS!!! Good conversations piqued the interest of the international skaters who asked to check out the Maestro complete with new bear trucks. Most took a cruise and offered feedback. Everyone was stoked to skate a Bustin Board from NYC.
10-15 safety meetings later everybody decided to split and hunt for food. Carly suggested we hit up Commercial Blvd, the home of the local hippie movement and excellent cheap food. Mmmmmm, Mexican food in Canada! Afterward we GPS’s carly’s house for the 1st party of Danger Bay weekend. We walked in, respecting the “open door policy” and were greeted by most of the racer community. Awesome. We instantly made good friends. The party raged late, the house trampoline got a lot of use and we found some good floor space to crash for a good night of rest before hitting the ferry in the morning to the Sunshine Coast, north of Vancouver.
The morning after Carly’s party we skated over to “Bons”, a local breakfast favorite. The spot is like “Tina’s” in Bushwick Brooklyn, on steroids. The breakfast special is $2.50 and the entire community fights for a table in the neo-hip old skool joint. The coffee and water is self-serve and the place is crawling with starving hippies, all day. Awesome, awesome breakfast spot with an expansive cheap menu and great food! I shared good conversation with James Kelly, Kyle Wester, Collabo Dave, Carly, Andrew Mercado, Micku, Reine and other race legends who gave me the run down of Danger bay week. Lesson 1 – Get ready to party.
After Bon’s we skated to Carly’s to grab our shit and catch the ferry. On the way Annah rented some sweet long lenses at the local photo rental house. We trusted James Kelly’s navigation through the legendary BP’s aka “British Properties” to check out some of the gnarliest mountainside roads of North Van, notorious for it’s 100’s of hairpins and long runs. The place reminded me of Malibu, California. Steeps, hairpins, narrows…this place has it all! There are 1,001 different roads to choose from and they’re all super fast. I skated about a mile of the 3-5 mile winding roads before I realized I have not skated this fast, ever. WOW. Halfway to the bottom I jumped in the car and ran shuttle to watch the experienced riders. This may be the most epic skate session I have ever experienced. James and Kyle Wester led the pack skating faster than I could drive down the mountain. There is no run too fast for VAN/Colorado/Cali skaters who are comfortable checking their speed at any speed. I watched some of the best stand up slide freediring I could ever imagine. Annah got in there with some really nice photo equipment and captured some epic shots coming soon to the Bustin Blog. Thanks for showing me how it is done dudes. Mad respect.
After BP’s we loaded and drove to Horshoe Bay to catch the Langdale Ferry to the Sunshine Coast. $10 gets you a ticket on the ferry, $60 gets your car on the ferry. Micku, Annah, and I drove up onto the huge boat and did some great sight seeing of the BC bay for 45 minutes. The boat was filled with longboarders enjoying legal smoke on the sun deck all the while enjoying the breath taking views of the mountainous islands we weaved through on the big boat.
As we approached Pendour Harbour the ferry blew the warning horn and we hurried back to our car. The boat parked and carloads of people exited the boat onto the amazing island that hosts “Attack of Danger Bay” Enjoyinjg a 30 minute scenic drive that winded through the lush BC island mountains we followed the convoy of longboarders to Lyons Park, home of danger Bay Racer Camp. Wristbands only! Thanks to Micku for registering for the big race so we could get wristbands for racer camp because we had a BLAST! 3 days of camping on Striker’s family’s property located on soem of the most beautiful wooded lands of BC. We entered the gate, paid our campsite fee of $30/person and explored the territory for a good campsite. Most racer teams own a team RV, bus, van or other mobile camping apparatus designed from totaled out vehicles, used car parts, junkyard scraps and donated engine blocks. The ATV camping vehicles were equipped with just the basics and reminded me a lot of the Overbored bus. “Tear, tear, sniff”
The racer community is a big group of internationals who live, eat and breathe longboarding. Some racers have small sponsorships from longboard manufacturers, wheel companies and other skate related businesses that support minimal living costs, airfare and gear for the big events. Danger Bay is one race in a circuit of international events. The pro riders are on a point system for seed ranking and poll position at races. The riders with the most points get the best position on the starting line and seeded heats. The events that earn points include DH, slide comp, cross country, and longboard hockey. racers who choose not to enter a variety of events sacrifice points and potential poll position.
The first competition we attended was the DB slide comp. The hill was the grade of NYC’s Watchtower if you extended it about a mile and added steep cliffs on each side. This is the 1st year in the history of Danger Bay that hay was not used along the slide mountain adding an extra element of danger. Micku competed and placed 3rd in the ladies competition. Earthwing’s Jess Corchia won the ladies division bringing one home for NYC. We watched some of the most epic standup slide style I have ever seen which got us super stoked for the race on day 2.
The entire race camp was super stoked about the slide comp and there was a rager party on race camp that evening that lasted til sunrise. Everybody was wilin’ out and made sure that nobody got sleep before the big race at 8am cause thats how the Candians do it. Pilsner beer causes one hell of a headache if you enjoy enough of them and everybody showed up to the race pretty haggered but ready to go fast. BC is like a rainforest and constant rain drenched everybody most of the week. The course was super wet and all the riders created their own rain wheels with camping knives and small utility saws. I got some sweet ideas from the creative production of rain wheels all morning, especially when we saw them in action. No weather slows down a competitive DH skater, everybody just adapts their gear to the climate, just like ski and snowboard racers.
This blog is super long and I have so much more to tell!!! Stay tuned to learn more about Danger Bay 9, Jake’s rash (new sanctioned Danger Bay Race), the Goldrush Challenge and other juicy details of new products, skate techniques and industry R & D. PEACE!!!