Monday, 16 November 2015

Ninjas in Japan

This was my third trip to the land of the rising sun and each year I extend my stay to absorb more and more of the insane Japanese culture. Pushing my adventures into the three week range isn't easy in most countries but Japan is dailed and the amount of BMX support there is next level.

I started in Tokyo with my little bro Naoto Tamaru riding Aoki Park for a couple days before boarding a domestic flight up to Sapporo to join one of my oldest Japanese friends Naoya Wada. Sapporo as Ive mentioned before is located in Hokkaido, the north island of Japan and this is where mother nature is most strong. Nature spas, or Onsens as they're called to the natives, are throughout the land of Hokkaido and everyone regards this area to have the best food in all of Japan. After spending almost a week in Sapporo riding and partying with the locals, visiting the different bmx shops and scoring a lifelong dream to have a Japanese tattoo artist leave his mark I boarded another plane heading back down to Tokyo. After making my way from train to train to bus to train and then walking around for five hours I arrived straight to the party from the Gshock Real Toughness event happening the weekend before my main event, the FLATARK contest in Kobe. Naoto and I closed the party down and prepared to make the trek down to Kobe for a week of practise before FLATARK. 

An eight hour over night bus ride later I was in Kobe and visiting a few very familiar places including Spaceark, one of the best BMX flatland shops in the world. For the first several days I joined Naoto, Ucchie, Viki, Matthias as we made the short drive to Sanda to ride one of the best spots in the world. TV crews joined us at times at the riding spot, sometimes even at dinner haha. Linking up with photographer and fellow American Aaron Nardi is always added fun and another treat this year was the good friend Akimitsu treating us to several nights of barbecued meat from his local shop.

The FLATARK competition was again stepped up in almost every category and is growing so fast drawing almost 100 pro riders with the top prise being over 40,000USD. The pressure was crazy in qualification and I wasn't able to put the run together I wanted but I walk away from contests like this with an insane amount of motivation. When the smoke cleared Martti Kuoppa was the winner and everyone joined together to celebrate. The party was crazy as always and the next days seven hour drive back to tokyo was long haha. Another nights sleep and I was train to train to bus to train to airport to USA.

I love Japan and each time I visit I take away more life lessons from the experiences and the amazing culture but its the people I value the most. My friends are more like my family and my life is a gift that Im beyond grateful for. Azasu Nippon!

A few photos:

photo: Jason Halayko

photo: Aaron Nardi
photo: Aaron Nardi

photo: Jason Halayko
photo: Jason Halayko

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Au revoir Summer

Hearing about the blood moon eclipse tonight Im reminded that Summer is over for the year 2015. Summer was good to me as I managed to stay insanely busy with my bike and was stoked to have a few good friends visit. Here are a few photographic memories :D

photo: Aaron Nardi

photo: Aaron Nardi

photo: Aaron Nardi

photo: Aaron Nardi

photo: @gabrilicious

photo: Gabe Weed

photo: @gabrilicious

photo: @gabrilicious

photo: @roux_stine

photo: Dom Granger

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Lost phones, funny tattoos, and the time of my life in FRANCE

photo: Chase Davidson /
As I sit here at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris France after missing my flight home (Im an idiot aha) my mind is shuffling through countless memories from the past week of non-stop high tempo adventure. Starting with me losing my phone on the Paris metro, visiting the Gaston office with my teammates, riding sooo much BMX, eating the best food on Earth and finally boarding the train to the most insane action sports event in the world: the FISE!

Being my third FISE I was somewhat prepared mentally to what I was to experience but even year to year this event smashes any and all expectations. Coming off a poor performance at the Bike Days contest the weekend prior I was determined to step onto the very challenging contest spot and make my mother proud. Hi Mom :) I really don't know how to explain to you what its like on the contest floor at the FISE for an athlete. Even for pro qualifying, the thousands of screaming fans set an electrifying stage that the often crazy wind, whirling dust, and rain cannot stop. These people really love BMX!

I held it together enough to sneak into the final qualifying 12th behind eleven very talented riders, with my Gaston teammates Matthias Dandois and Alex Jumelin qualifying first and second. They are absolute killers on the BMX and the party to celebrate was set in motion. Friday night in Montpellier during the FISE is no joke. With the next day off we celebrated through the night at various clubs and bars around the small but charming town all together in the south of France. Another reason the FISE is my absolute favourite event of the year is that its a true BMX event hosting not just Flatland but other BMX disciplines as well. One of my favourite faces to see is Maxime Charveron both on and off the BMX. For me its not a party without this guy and he's one of the most talented riders on the planet! In general Im very lucky to have so many amazing friends from all over France and the FISE is the perfect setting for us to enjoy our lives together, along with several hundreds of thousands of friendly fans haha! Nursing a massive hangover the next day I joined my very good friend of 3 years Jessica Scauri and we were able to find a crazy tattoo guy for a permeant souvenir :D Finally catching up with the homies Mark Webb and Catfish really complete the FISE experience for me and being in the final on Sunday is a dream I was finally able to achieve.

Even without it being a world circuit event the FISE draws some of the best in the world. With a flawless run in qualifying Matthias was in the number spot and being that we do a one on one battle style elimination final I was set to battle the three time world champion. For me this was an experience I could only have dreamed of and with almost no pressure I performed the best I could making my most difficult trick at the very end of my run first try! Of course I lost the battle against one of the worlds best but am very proud of my riding and haven't stopped smiling since :D It came down to one or two mistakes in the final battle and one of my best friends in the world Alex Jumelin edged out Matthias for the win taking his second FISE victory! Shout out to Alberto Moya for his very impressive third place finish and more importantly we had one last party to celebrate.

The parties at the FISE are almost as intense as the actual event and with clubs/bars staying open all night we set in motion a twelve hour celebration all together moving from party place to party place. Drink after drink after drink we laughed, danced and embraced being alive as if there would be no tomorrow. Im so blessed to have had experiences such as these with some of the best people on the planet, its impossible not to smile and be a genuinely happy soul. I carry these memories with me always. DKSRLIFE !!

photo: Jessica Scauri
photo: Chase Davidson
photo: Eddy Raffin
photo: Maxime Cassagne
Monsieur Gaston
Pizza with Egg!
FISE Souvenir hahaha!