Earlier this year, the Performance Shop-Crew and friends headed out on a 4 day trip to Central California and back. Our destination: the 1st annual Central Coast Downhill in Santa Maria, California.
Along for the ride were Sector 9 team rider Micah Green (@micah.green), Performance Shop-Monkey Knox Heslop (@knoxheslop), local legend Roger Hernandez (@young_swish666), and myself (@douglastolman).
The crew poaching at our first stop.
Since we are all in school or working full time, we really had to rally ourselves down there for 2 full days of riding with our vagabond downhill community. Even on a time crunch, we snatched the opportunity to camp and ride a few scenic roads on the way out and back.
Stop 1 was the infamous "Rasta Resort".
Knox keeping his eyes on his line. He's riding a Powell Peralta Byron Essert deck with Rad Influence Adam Persson wheels
Making some necessary pre-send adjustments. Pictured gear: Powell Peralta Byron Essert, Rad Influence Adam Perssons and Zealous Bearings
When we call this place a resort, we aren't kidding. About 15 years ago some real estate tycoon purchased a whole mountain with the intent of building a community of multi-million dollar estates with ski lifts, heli-pads, and all the rest. When the last recession hit, all the investors pulled out and left a heinously steep slab of pavement up the side of this rugged mountain. This story will be explained in detail another day.
Roger getting after it on some Cadillac Wheels
Without maintenance, this road is falling apart
With beautiful, secluded camping, an elevation drop of 4,000 feet, and turns so sharp you need to drift them twice we knew this was a mandatory stop.
Micah Green taking the fast full-grip line on some Sector 9 Race Formulas
Since it was still April, and this road tops out at about 10,000 feet, we only had about half the run clear of snow. This didn't stop us from finding the dry stashes of road for a savory corner session.
Knox dipping through the trees, he's riding a Powell Peralta Byron Essert deck with Rad Influence Adam Perssons
This little pit stop provided us with a great teaser for the awesome full-road sessions later in the season. After a chilly night of camping and some big slides, we packed up and went Californy-way.
The board pile before we organized the car to head south. Pictured gear: Orangatang Cages, Rogue Cast Trucks, Rad Adam Perssons, Zealous Bearings and a Powell Peralta Byron Essert deck.
A half-day of navigating the highways of inland California and we were almost to the coast. We pulled up to camp and perched our tents up above the rest in a majestic grass clearing, then spent the night re-connecting with friends.
Roger and Knox leading the pack through a right turn. Roger is on Rad Advantages, while Knox is on a Rad James Kelly Influences.
This event was a special one; other than a couple events in Washington and BC, almost all longboarding events in the North America are race oriented. Don't get me wrong, racing is fun, rowdy, and provides an a cheap thrill you don't often find in non-motorized activities, but the current longboard industry cannot fully sustain itself with exclusive "extreme sport" mantra. This style of event and marketing makes it challenging for entry level riders to participate or even envision trying downhill longboarding. This event provided a refreshing organization and exciting track for all skill levels to rally down, with corners that let you take any line you wanted.
Micah being chased down by his Sector 9 team-mate Jimmy Riha. Jimmy is riding his pro-model deck.
Some Hawaiian-shirt clad Californians were throwing standup drifts around every corner, while the hardcore downhillers with leather suits and square lipped wheels were taking the "Grip or Flip" line. This road and event style were a great match, allowing riders to flow down its dippy curves in any manner they like.
One of the best photos of the whole event was this extremely fierce one of Trey Denham. Unfortunately a few months after this was taken he lost a battle with cancer and passed on. Trey left behind a legacy of stoke and kindness that was felt by anyone around him. As I type this, the Maryhill Ratz are hosting a memorial freeride event up in Washington, reminding everyone to #senditfortrey
Liam Morgan rocking a Prism Theory on Caliber Trucks and Blood Orange Wheels
Knox mixing it up with the pack behind Alex Charleson who is on some Powell Snakes. Note all the different riding styles in on frame.
Utah Native Kalil Hammouri has been out in California working for Loaded and Orangatang. Here he is on a Loaded Tesseract and some Orangatang Kegels.
Two days consisting of about 30 runs, and nearly 100 miles of riding left our legs burnt but frothing for more. We said good-bye till next time to our coastal compadres and headed back towards the mountains.
Knox tossing an unidentified flying object in the Mojave Desert.
A midnight stop was necessary to camp in the Mojave desert. We drove in during the night and pulled off a dirt road to set up camp. Upon waking up in the morning we were amazed at how vast the views were, and also pretty happy to have been left unscathed by any aliens which may or may not have abducted us.
Roger taking a flowy run down a unique red rock road
Our desert adventures continued as we skipped promptly through Las Vegas and made it to the sandstone sanctuary that is southern Utah. In the land of Zion, there is an incredibly scenic road that twists through the red cliffs in a fashion unbeknownst to most longboarders. This road had been recently repaved with smooth blacktop, and according to some internet beta we knew it was soon to be chip-sealed (covered in a layer of gravel and tar). This made for a mandatory detour to the land of Zion for an incredible rip down this windy snake of a road.