For those who don't know #mononarmy rider Neil Furness has the most amazing nine to five gig there is. He is a member of a team that competes in the Red Bull Air Race Series. We aren't exactly sure what he actually does, something about looking through binoculars at the races and saying things like "go really fast that way, and if something gets in your way turn" to the pilot via oversized headphones. One of the perks of the gig is he gets to travel the world, so we are proud to present Neil's travel journal as he hits spots and checks out the local scenes with his Dire Wolf.
Part 1 - New Zealand
So before I even got to Auckland I was reminded again why I love skating and the skating community. A friendly person on Reddit pointed me to the facebook pages for longboarding in the major cities of New Zealand, so a few days before I arrived in town I posted on the Auckland Longboard Society page letting them know I was arriving in town and would anyone like to skate? Within 10minutes I had multiple responses, even asking if I had a place to crash sorted, touching stuff!
So my first NZ session was out on this steep and buttery smooth (as all the roads there are seem to be in Auckland) freeride hill and a chilled park bomb. I am almost embarrassed to admit that it was the first day I ever laid down proper thane lines, after 4 years of skating. But I blame the UKs less than perfect weather and paving for that though.
I then journeyed on up to the Bay of Islands, partly to see family, partly because I thought there might just be some hidden gems up there. I was dam right about the hidden gems and I barely had to get out of Paihia to find them. Also Paihia has a fun little pump track that has got to be checked out if you like bowl riding or ever fancied pretending you were a super cool BMX-er. I took a solo road trip north to Manganoui where there were some gnarly chipseal descents, but also around some of the estates there was some delicious freeride spots worth a road trip up to check out, but also just because the landscape up there is so gorgeous!
I then saw again just why I love the skating community, meeting up with Ty a super stoked sick skater from Russel, just across the bay from Paihia. Who showed me some beautiful spots, like a freeride hill with tarmac that gave me slides so buttery I got heartburn. Also, a gnarly hill with just the right amount of chunder in the right places to make it exciting, rather than shit yourself scary as you enter into either of the right and left hairpins, which then opened up into a killer view of the bay perfect for swimming and chilling after a good day’s skate.
Did I mention my love for the community? As I was then lucky enough to be put up by for two nights by his friends, the only question asked was do you want some food too? Salt of the dam earth, and maybe its just the way in New Zealand, maybe it’s the skate scene and those that surround it. I don’t know but it makes travelling and general life so much better! And that about sums up my first week in NZ, more chill than skating but much more skating to come.