Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Back In Calgary


I was night skiing at COP when I got a call from Rob. He wanted to go set up an urban and do some filming with the 403media boys. Even though I had been skiing for a few hours it sounded like a good time.

I showed up to the spot. It was the back alley behind a strip mall with a small amount of super granulated snow that was less then ideal for building with. Though, once Rob, Nik and Mark showed up we all worked a little magic and made it work. The set-up was short and at a weird angle to the rail with a "Banshee Bungee" providing the momentum. To be honest at first glance I wasn't sure it would work, but after Rob took the first run up you could tell it was going to be super smooth.

The left footers, Rob, Nik and myself went first. We each got to the end and manged to ski out the hip landing. Mark went last, but being a right footer it proved to be pretty challenging. He made it to the end a couple times but just could not get off the rail and took a couple hard slams and had to stop with out getting it.

Once we were all done skiing it was the usual tear down; trash the jump and landing, then take down the lights and pack up.

(In this picture is me, pretty sure it's a frame stolen from footy that Mark was shooting)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

College Street

For my last day in Tbay I wanted to line up one more hand rail. After talking with Andy, and Tyler we decided on the College St down rail. With the spot decided on, I tossed my gear and some shovels into my truck and started driving. I made it about 80 percent of the way to the rail only to realized I had forgotten my jacket back at the houses. Not usually too big of a deal, it kind of was this time as I was planning on leaving for Calgary after the session. 

After an hour of back tracking I finally got to the rail and started to set up. Andy showed up about 20 mins after me and we got the jump together pretty quickly. Tyler showed up next just in time to help with the in-run. In our in run making process I got out voted 2-1 into making a shorter but easier to build in-run (I wanted it longer for speed to be able to trick on). The shorter in-run did end up biting us in the ass though.With the in-run built we shaped everything to perfection (funny enough, and this goes out to COP, the best shaped features I hit all year where built by either myself or my friends). We then threw on some salt to firms things up and like it was perfectly timed our film/photo crew showed up. 

After letting the snow firm up for 30 minutes, D Man and Kyle were in place for pictures. It was time to hit this thing. I went first doing a couple warm up hits and coming off early to the side. Tyler, with the flowing hair of an 80's dare devil joined me a couple of hits in. He had to lip on (putting the tails of your skis over the rail first) which is why I'm going to take the time now to give him a little extra praise. Andy jumped in soon after Ty and right after he did I greased the rail to the end for my first time. I have to say, riding that thing out was not easy. The rail is so steep you might as well just "bomb drop" to the street below from 20 feet in the air. When Andy got to the end for his first time his legs buckled and he went right to his back, when he got up he said, "you need some strong legs for the landing". Andy finally got it to his feet though, and with a few good hits and a bunch of shots there was just Ty. We rooted him on, but the fact of getting on lip slide at such low speeds to such a steep rail coupled with numerous hard crashes proved to be just a little too much and he ended up leaving with out getting the rail but with the "Big Cojones" award for the day.

With that last rail under my belt and being way behind schedule I said my good-byes and was back on the road to Calgary.

(This is a photo of me, the shot was taken by Dman) 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

SJAM Urban

I finally managed to get Tyler and Andy to come hit a hand rail on my second last day back in Thunder Bay. It was a good time sliding on some snow with those guys again. We picked the old stomping ground spot, SJAM, for a warm up. For those of you who don't know "SJAM" is a closed down school with a nice and mellow down bar on the backside. This rail is the proving ground for urban in TBay. It's the first urban most people hit and if you want to start to be considered good locally, you've hit it with the stairs open.

I had made the jump the night before, but, we still had some initial problems. Basically the space didn't allow for me to park my truck the way I wanted to for the drop-in ramp I made. Andy and I dinked around for about 45 minutes trying to get it to work, knowing that it would give us the speed to get technical on the rail. But, we just couldn't get the drop in ramp to work. Then Tyler skate-skied into the rail so we gave up and started to pull-whip. It ended up being a really sick time and a nice warm up to urban rails.

(In the picture above Andy and Tyler just threw me into the rail. Damien is the large black lump on the stairs filming)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Surfing Again!

For this surf day Jaakko and Tyler stayed back leaving room in the truck for Andy (the president of AGON clothing). This time the surf was a bit of a gamble. The forecast for the incoming swell kept getting pushed further and further back. We were worried, it would be too darkby the time the waves came, but we figure the only way to find out for sure was to make the drive and wait.

We made our way out to Terrace Bay for around noon'ish hoping to meet the waves, but there was only just enough to make a wake boarder complain at the first beach. The second beach was worse. We got back on the highway and tried to make our way down to the third beach. This time I don't think the wake boarders would have complained much; it was glass. Down on our luck we decided to go back to the 1st beach and wait for the swell to roll in like Matthew Mcconaughey in the movie "Surfer Dude". We took our time and suited up slowly. Sure enough the swell started to build and after 2 hours of waiting, there was finally some ridable waves.

The swell ended up just being perfect for our long boards; shoulder height and nice and pushy. Nicole, Andy, Mike and I just kept catching nice ride after nice ride. I worked on my backhand drop ins (heel side), trying to get them solid for bigger short board days. There weren't too many notable things that are worth mentioning because, the whole surf session was notable. It was just a relaxed session, everyone catching waves, everyone having fun, you can't ask for more then that.

(In this picute is me just in some mush)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Mountain Sledding In Ontario?

I forget exactly which day this was, but after it snowed 30 or so centimeters I had to show I was a man of my word. Originally I had no intention of sledding on the closed down ski hills while I was back in Tbay. There wasn't enough snow, not even a base when I got there (if you can't tell from the pic it was lean). But i did say I would go out if we got 20 to 30 and I did.

I met Ryan Jones just up the dirt road from the old Candy Mountain, 1 of 3 closed down ski hills in T Bay. We dropped the sleds off our trucks, fired them up and went looking for a way in. There isn't a staging area here and the bottom of the hill is now fenced off as it is a private residence, so we ended up bush whacking through this pseudo trail we found off the side of the road. The trail ended up leading to the old slightly over grown ski trails and we were able to crack the throttle. We bombed around trying not to hit rocks as impossible as it was. There aren't really any highlights, just a good over all time bombing around, doing some hill climbs and descents on our sleds that used to challenge me on skis once upon a time. Jones ended up bending his A arm on a rock and I'm pretty sure one of mine is a little tweak now.

(In this picture is my sled chilling near the "peak" of Candy Mountain)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Boxing Day Lake Superior Surf Mission

After getting home from an extremely long drive on Christmas Day, and having a family dinner, at which I consumed a more than a few beverages, I went to bed with surfing on my mind. It was a short sleep. About 5 hours, but I had to get up early and get fully unpacked before Mike and I went to meet  Jaakko and Zegil at a Tim's just off the highway. So, at 5:30 in the morning I was out unloading my uber packed truck and re-packing it with just as much surf gear. I immediately ran into a problem with my unpacking though, as soon as I looked out side there was my sled sitting nicely in the back of my pick up. Well there was no way in hell I was pushing it behind my house, leaving me with the only other option of starting it up that early in the morning, next door neighbours sleeping and all. I quietly pushed it out of the box and turned it around to face the right direction. Then came the moment of truth, I timidly pulled the handle to start it up (about as timidly as you can start something up that sounds like it's going to end the world), jumped on to it and gassed it behind the house. Luckily no one woke up, including Pauly (my dad). After that it was off to Tim's where we met Jaakko, and found out Zegil slept in because he was hoping we were kidding about surfing and wanted a ride from his house.

Once we picked the "broski supreme" known affectionately as "Ty" (aka Zegil), we took off on the 200 km drive NE to Terrace Bay. We caught up and joked around the whole way. The drive was nice and scenic with the usual amazing views of Lake Superior that you get driving that particular highway. Once we got to Terrace it was a quick check on the beaches to find out which one to assault and then it was wet suit time. It was so nice to get back in the water and the waves were big enough for my short board which meant I got to finally use my Go Pro surfing. Once in the water I gave a few pointers to Zegil and Mike then paddled out with them in tow. The waves were actually really weird, most of the big sets were closing out on the sand bar, so they were super hard to ride. Had they been smaller they wouldn't have closed out and had they been bigger they would have broken deeper. Jaakko and I waited way out past the break for those elusive waves that would come in every 15 to 20 (at least it felt like it) or so minutes. At times Jaakko would wait in this zen like state so far out it seemed like he was looking for rogues. After catching 4 waves in about an hour I decided it was time to go where the fun was. I paddled in grabbed a long board and went and joined Ty, Mike, Nichole and Michel (the latter of the two came into join us Michel fresh off a plane from the UK) who were playing in a sheltered smaller area. Jaakko soon followed suit and the next couple hours was awesome! We had lots of fun. We all got some nice rides, with Mike and Tyler being surprisingly good for how many times they've been out. We also all had some funny bails including; Ty and I finding ourselves in the impact zone of the biggest waves of the day, Mike getting thrown to the bottom of some waves from the top and lawn darting the sandbar, and my personal favorite Ty pulling off the hood on his wet suit only to have a wave give him the worst case of brain freeze ever.

Eventually our arms got tired and it was time to leave. And just in time for us to get out of our wet wet suits (the worst part of winter surfing) the temps dropped and the wind picked up. Nothing feels better on your wet man parts then a 30-40 kph wind an outside air temp of -5.  It was arduous. All packed up we left and drove back to T Bay

(In this picture is the world ending above me while I try to duck dive that "biggest" wave of the day that caught Ty and I off guard)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Semi Annual Migration

Satureday, December 24 th at about 4:00 PM I left Calgary, to head back to my homeland of Thunder Bay. I was originally going to leave on the Friday but stuff happened and I left late as usual. The first part of the drive was super uneventful minus one gas station apparently didn't want sell me gas. Driving through the prairies is agonizingly boring (wish I could just teleport through them) and surprisingly I managed to make it to with in 3 1/2 hours of Thunder Bay before I had to take my first nap on the 21 hour drive. It was once I got to the Ontario/Manitoba boarder that conditions got crappy, and the drive got sketchy. It was a mix of snow, ice and moose, that made driving extremely difficult and led to my having to pull over for some sleep. I managed to make it back to Thunder Bay around 4ish Christmas Day and was able to open some presents.

In this picture is my truck packed with awesome things I own. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Getting The Sled Out

On the first weekend of December, with a couple of cold days and some snow, winter was looking good for at least that week. So, I changed my spark plugs, drained out my old gas and loaded my snowmobile into my truck. Both Saturday and Sunday I went out to Cateract Creek about an hour from my house. It was good to get out! I hit some natural jumps, practiced some carving in minimal snow and even got to ride a little powder (thought there was pretty much no base). It was a good weekend and I tried to get out again the next week but by then the winter we were meant to have this year moved in, and started a long drought with warm temperatures.

In this pic is my sled covered in some snow.

Friday, February 17, 2012

30 Hours Of Driving, 16 Hours Of Surfing, 3.5 Days

The day of the trip actually started the night before. At 1:30 am I was woken up by the cops calling my roomate looking for me to tell me my truck was broken into. I came outside to see that someone had sprayed sunscreen all over my truck, and to find out all my camera gear as well as all the footage was stolen. I was up until 4:30 filling out a police report, needless to say not the best preperation for the up coming 15 hour drive I was supposed to do. When I woke the next day I was seriously bummed out, and didn't even feel like going, even though I knew I would make me feel better. To make matters worse Audrey had a super hard exam and was down and out just like me, but we both ended up getting pissed off at our situation and just saying "F**k it", and we left.

It was 6:00 pm on the Friday, and Audrey and I finally started our drive her parents brand new CRV (they were super nice letting us take it) packed to the gillds with surf gear. Almost right away the drive started sucking. As soon as we hit the mountains it was snowing (the fall made the winter look like it was going to be epic what happend?), dark and windy. Audrey drove until we hit the Can/Us border, and after we were cleared I switched. The driving dragged on not hitting divided highway (the I 90) for another few hours and three states (Montana, Idaho and Washignton). Once we hit I 90 the driving was alot better and Audrey took over one more time getting us to Snoqualamie Pass, where we had to pass out until the gas station opened in the morning. After waking up and getting gas I took us the rest of the way to Westport, Wa.

We pulled up to the ocean and got out of the car to run excietedly down to the water. Suddenly we weren't tired or sore from having driven 15 hours through the night. The waves were bigger then predicted, about 6 to 9 feet instead of 2 to 3. We jumped back into the car, rushed to the hotel, checked in, tossed on the wet suits and drove back to one of the beaches. With the other two spots there not working we went to surf the beach break there. With it being our first day in awhile I actually kinda wished it had been smaller, just to get back into the swing of things. It was a rough go, neither of us had the arms to beat the directly incoming swell, so we stayed close to the peer and ducked bigger waves waiting to catch the small ones that would sneak through into shallower water. We got some nice waves and I finally was able to drop in heel side! After surfing we went for a walk around the marina watching a group of guys fish off the docks while sea lions tried to eat the fish off their lines, followed freshly caught fish at a local restraunt.

The next day was BIG. 16 feet big according to the surf report. It was crazy, I've never seen waves that big. We started our day off by just watching. It was awesome to watch some of the good surfers surf the epic point break right out side our hotel. After about an hour of that we jumped in the car and spent several hours driving from spot to spot to see if there was anything we would be able to surf. We finally decided on the miles of mush that was the beach break that day. It was super fun and we were able to get some really nice reform. It basically consisted of waiting in chest deep water for an opening, then paddling super hard while eyeing up a place to turn around and with out a stop in paddling turn and grab the wave. It was pretty tiring but, we didn't even feel it. I managed to catch some really nice relatively long rides and Audrey looked like she'd been surfing for a couple years even though she has less than 15 days under her belt. After a few hours Audrey took a pretty decent wave on the head and lost a contact. That coupled with hunger and tiredness, we decided to call it and jumped out of the water. Once out of our suits we jumped into the car and went for lunch and to check out the local surf shops. After lunch we went back to the hotel and I couldn't help but jump over the rock wall and look at the point break. It had settled down a little bit and even though it looked like there was a strong current I figured I could jump in and grab a few waves. I ran back to the room, grabbed my board and suited up. Upon getting in the water, I got my first taste of how strong that current really was. At waist deep it was knocking me off my feet and feircly trying to pull me into the rock wall of the jetty. It was one of the strongest currents I have surfed in, it felt like a fast moving river. Now most people who aren't experts, who's arms are burnt out and who rarely get to surf anymore may have decided to not try and paddle out, but because I'm me and I would like to think I'm pretty awesome I did anyways. I paddled as hard as I could, stopping only to duck dive the fairly large waves coming in. I could tell I was not gaining much ground and I was fully in the current. I started to get this feeling that I was in trouble, so I stopped paddling to check where I was, and to my horror I was about 20 feet from getting pounded into the rock wall of the jetty! Quickly I spotted a wave I was in semi position for and managed to grab it and get the heck out of there. After a few more failed attempts to get out at that spot, I threw in the towel and Audrey and I went for dinner and some more exploring of the town.      

The next morning I jumped into my wet suit and went and surfed the now much more tame point break. It was sick, there was no wind the waves were glassy and the current was almost gone. Audrey slept in a little bit then packed the car for us. It was getting time to go, so I quickly surfed a few more "I'm not going to be able to surf for 6 more months" waves, then got out to make the arduous drive back. The drive home was not very exciting other then getting stopped for construction for 3 hours and breifly by the police for a warning about a potential traffic violation. We got home at 3 am and I had work at 6. It was a lot of driving for a small amount of surf but it was a totally awesome roadie!

In the picture above I'm getting ready to enter the water to surf the point break at the edge of out hotel parking lot. Audrey took the picture from a rock.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Starting to post again!

So it has been awhile since I have posted and now it is time to start again.

Right after I last posted my truck was broken into and all my camera gear and associated media was stolen, which really sucked. Some time has passed and I have acquired some new camera gear and I rounded up some media, so I will now begin posting where I last left off.