Rob McWhinnie’s Skate Adventures

In this latest chronicle of Rob’s adventures, he talks about the fun he’s had mobbing in Europe, the Oz boarderX, the future of ASRA races and his new sponsors. Dig it!
Hey Rob! Nice to speak to you again. How are you?
G’day mate, I’m well. Packing bags atm ready for a race weekend in the mountains. Working heaps earning some dollars for 2014 travels and WC races.

Still working as a chef?
Yeah, it’s been hot this summer, new kitchen and new chefs in the new job so it’s fun and interesting.

What race is going down this weekend?
Jacko is holding the Wild West Outlaw. It’s a long fast run, should break 90km/h and I’m really looking forward to breaking out the new Aero helmet and getting rad.

Risch/New Olders/Boardyard?
Risch has hooked me up with the newest shape out of his factory. Fits so well and I’m stoked to have the chance to go faster wearing it.

How much of a difference do aerolids make?
After wearing a DH helmet for many years, I’ve noticed a massive difference, mostly when drafting. The ability to lock in someones draft is a lot easier. The visibility too has increased and weight has gone down.

Have you guys had a busy summer?
Not really, summer in Aus is a chance for maga and I to work and relax. I wish I had the energy to host more events while the kids are off school, but it’s never the case.

How has this summer’s skating compared to recent years?
GROMS are killing it! I’ve never seen so many young riders really stepping it up! Forget freeriding, the next gen of shredders out of Sydney will win the world cup one day.

One of your groms is the first junior IDF champ, what are you feeding them?
Gnarbars for breaky and gnarbars for dinner.

Who are the other guys to look out for?
Central Coast groms Zac Italiano and Tyron Knight are on every podium these days, Tyron recently took Jacko out in an outlaw on the weekend. Beat him off the push. David Penny is still killing it but needs a few extra kilograms to be a problem.

How are you guys coping with the absence of the big ASRA/IDF races?
Yeah, good question. It’s a big issue for myself and the community. Many factors have led us to this. First of all, Bathurst Council, the host city for Newtons Nation have decided they don’t want us back. Mt Kiera has been closed due to unstable road supports. It’s been great for outlaw races; we basically have a closed road to traffic on our favourite hill. I guess the ASRA organisers put a lot of effort last year into the BoarderX series too and are on the back foot for 2014.
ATM a lot of talk is going on to find a new hill and council that will support it. I’m hoping and working on a road in Queensland, joining forces with some mates to try and make this happen.

Can you have world class racers without the world class races?
Yes. But for the unknown shredder to purchase tickets to race in another country, it is a lot to ask compared to his chance at the title. I guess we have been spoilt in the past with our events.

What’s the council’s reason for breaking up with us?
Ah mate, the folks that live on the hill are horrible, they think they own the road and have protested to the council to keep us out. I mean come on, they live on a race track.

Is there a chance for reconciliation?
Probably just a lot more cash is needed to change their minds. One year I hope we return.

What was the BoarderX series?
Trav and Robbo (from ASRA and Basement Skate) were having a beer a year back and had the idea to do the biggest BoarderX track the world had seen, their plan was brought to the light when the National Government got behind it and funded the entire project. They latched the Series onto a campaign targeting binge drinking in teenagers. (Australia has a big drinking problem).
The event visited 4 cities over 4 weekends. I was so stoked to make it to all of them, it was amazing to see main roads shut down and massive courses built for the day.

Sydney BoarderX - Adrian Macenon photo
Sydney BoarderX – Adrian Macenon photo

How is Mr Horsfall these days?
He’s back at school, doing well. We are celebrating his 30th next week. Muhaha gonna be reckless.

Government funded skating. Sounds like a blast!
Tell us about it. The BoarderX series was the best performing out of all the sports they funded for the campaign.

Why can’t the government fund a race at Mt Panorama?
Good question. The location is the problem, they want maximum exposure and they got it. The Brisbane event had a crowd 4 people deep the whole length of the course.

What were the courses like?
Always changing. Sydney had a really rough surface and was the first event so we didn’t really know how much speed riders would get off the 14ft roll in or how much air riders would get off the 2 large jumps.

How did you do in the competition?
It was a challenge, finding my inner skate rat and mixing the skills of old together with the recent racing practice. I managed a podium or two and took out 3rd overall. It wasn’t easy and I had to ride hard and put the body on the line. I’m very happy to have finished with Brandon Tissen on top and the course builder and OG street shredder Adam Luxford in 2nd.

What boards were people tackling them on?
Short boards with big wheels. Haha some weird shit came out of the works; I tried a few different setups, each with their own advantages. I ended up going for a light board with a kick, the PoolTool, and a 69mm These wheel, this was consistent with most riders.

How do you win Boarder X?
With balls of steel and a good history of getting airtime and getting rad.

Did you have many international visitors?
4 awesome guys from the states and Api from NZ. Team mate Tyler Howell from These was out to have a good time, we hit some rad hills and got some filming done. Brandon Tissen is a boss hey! He surprised me and encouraged me to really go hard in the races. So much steeze on the course, he is the 2013 World BoarderX champion now hey. Josh West made it out too, he was down for anything and had some good fortune at the events as well.

Will it be back this year?
Bigger and better, maybe even going international. All the ramps fit magically into 2 shipping containers, I’m guessing Asia is the next frontier for the sport.

Why should more internationals come?
They will come. I’m sure I could have been smoked by so many street skaters at the events. I think with more time and events we will see some unlikely winners coming out.

Are events like these, which blur the lines, the future?
No, just another branch. It’s still just a bit of a sideshow. There are limited rules regarding all aspects of boarderX and because of this it will never be taken too seriously.

Have you skated in Asia?
Soon, very soon. Heading over to the Philippines in a few months hopefully.

Why did it take so long for an Aussie to hit the VLT?
We have been watching the scene grow and now seems like the right time.

Did you make many fun videos last year?
Hit the milestone of 100th episode. Pretty big accomplishment that I’m proud of. Did some fun clips with Gabe and Matt Bates, plus just a whole lot of raw runs from around the world.

Gnar! Congrats. What are you shooting with these days?
Still using Sonys, upgraded to the goods last year, thanks to Hopkin Skate. But dude, I’m still so swamped with footy from the euro tour, working bit by bit. I’m currently working on a trip we took to the Alps here in Aus. A large group of us went to a new run on the south side of the mountains, 22 min top to bottom. We had so much fun and we passed the fish eye camera all the way down the hill. Its looking good so far.

What were your favourite video moments last season?
Would have to be filming with Mikel Echegaray, he’s the fastest man down any race hill and an amazing filmer with total control. He filmed me squat slide close to 100km/h at the bottom of Peyragudes never dies.
I filmed my good mate Dejan a lot this year, he’s a balls out shredder that is easy to film because he’s always bossin it. Matt Bates is also amazing to film, the kid will flip off, grind anything, airwalk till the cows come home; too much talent.
Best movie I saw last year is easily James Kelly’s one for Arbor. So much steeze!

That “no hands” Peyragudes video is mental. You’re mental!
Cheers bro, I had spent a few days prior shredding KnK with the best riders in the world. I was training on the 18 hairpin run for racing and going faster without using hands. It’s a big jump to go from doing standees on scrubbed freerides and doing it on fresh race wheels. Once you can cop the kick in, it’s amazing how easily keeping your weight right over the wheels can provide you with a better lock up and rail around a tight corner.

Have you tried racing with no hands?
On February 2nd I’m hosting the first no hands outlaw in Australia; it’s gonna be crazy. Liam Morgan gave us the idea and I’m running with it. I want to grab all those amazing freeriders I’ve seen at slide jams and see if they like racing in their style of riding.

What’s the penalty for breaking the rule?

How do you expect it will go?
We are creating a new event from the ground up, it will be a fun demo, something we can work off for the next event. Some ideas we are working on are; a double race draw, first in your reg stance then a switch race; otal the points at the end for a winner or finals.

The last time we spoke, you were getting ready for your first Euro tour, was it as fun as you hoped?
Wow, long time ago. I think the last euro tour was my best trip overseas to date. The first trip to Europe gave me a taste for the continent, I got to build a custom at Fibretec and meet so many people I call good friends today.

Where did you go this time around around?
Spent a lot more time in Switzerland, P-Swiss took us on a Greener Pastures reminiscing road trip, we hit all the runs from the movies and found some more. Also went to Almabtrieb for the first time. Stephan Risch put on the best event of the tour, no pressure, fast riding, good food and hospitality.

What other events did you hit?
Kozakov and Gioasteka freeride. 5 events in all. I wanted to hold a little outlaw in Zurich but was having too much fun to organise it. This year for sure.

How did you do in the races?
Best I’ve done yet! My goal last year was top 10 at WC events, I got a 10th and and 11th. On both occasions I missed top 8 by only inches. Dillion Stephens held me off at Kozacov by keeping James Kellys draft and I failed on the over take over the line. Calvin Staub took the most insane line at Peyragudes to claim top 8. We were following K-Rimes down the final straight into the high speed sweepers, I had just passed Cal and was now blocking the inside line… or so I thought. He squeezed up on the concrete gutter and made a pass over the finish line. I was stoked to be beaten by an amazing piece of riding.

Tell me about your custom!
I built a race board the first time in 2012. It looks different to anything else; with a skinny nose to keep my foot facing straight and aero, and a wide tail above the rear truck for good leverage when turning toeside at speed.
I recently returned to the Fibertec factory and built 3 more protos, each one working off the last. I’m really happy with the new board, its a topmount single kick, super stiff and light. The wheelbase options let me ollie up and over shit, nollie shuv and generally get sketchy and rowdy. While the DH base uses the kick as a wedge over the back truck for all mobbing purposes.

What else was under your feet?
New wheels from These, Kevin and Unkle from Skate One have been hooking me up with some radical thane. Kevin’s new wheel took a lot work and I’m happy to be a part of the RnD process, its like you’re cheating when you’re rolling on his wheels.

Why are they better?
Got the sharpest lips of any wheel I’ve ridden, and a strong lip too. Perfect for racing and locking up after fast drifts or just railing in full tuck.

Have you tried to hew Kastlahanis?
Oh shit yeah, I had been riding a 50 degree base plates from Fibretec precisions with kaha hangers for the last year or so, so was amped when I got my hands on the cast trucks from Kaha. The best thing about them is the smooth leaning motion, it’s all down to the precision milled pivot. There’s no slop or stickyness. I’m loving them, got like 5 boards set up atm with em.
The 160mm is perfect for my double kick and short wheelbase single kick. Wish I had the trucks for boarderX last year, would have run a riot on them. Unfortunately I’m a little too heavy for the stock bushings but RipTide bushings have all I’d ever need for them.
RipTide where a huge supporter last year on the euro tour, helping us buy a car to destroy in Switzerland and providing support to events like KnK along the way. Brad Miller has looked after us well and is still innovating new technology everyday for sport.

What were the highlights of 2013?
Watching Maga win the consis at Peyragudes Never Dies is up there with memories I’ll keep forever. She came from 4th to 1st and protected her position till the end. The Aussie crew were going mental, we were able to watch 5 corners and most of the run from atop the hill.

What is Basement skate?
It is our new local shop here in Sydney, the Hopshop has finished after a hard year battling the high $AU and the invasion of Merikas online shops in Australia.
Robbo now owns the property and is running the shop, he has a passion for our sport and continues to support our local scene. true legend.

Surely groms having things shipped from America costs more than supporting your local shop?

Why do they do it?
Aggressive advertising and a cheaper looking price, meaning the price shown before they use mum’s credit card is without local taxes and shipping.

Will online retailers kill the local brick and mortar?
Na, online is where it’s at for a business. Basement Skate has a very successful online store, we back it by having a location for a hands on experience too, like the mini ramp and custom board rebuilding days and a shop you can walk around. virtually too.

“Grow up gromet, be constructive and supportive to the local industry that supports you.”

What would you say to people selling themselves short and buying from abroad?
Grow up gromet, be constructive and supportive to the local industry that supports you.

Do you still run the cafe?
No, the cafe room got stripped back and turned into the boarderX build room. Adam Luxford spent months in there building it.

Is the name change the only difference?
New owner, hops out robbos in. New paint and a refurbishment/gnar extension on the mini.

What are your plans for this year?
Enjoy life and skate more. We have a trip booked early Feb to Peru, 2 mates are coming with Maga and I. It’s gonna be more holidaying on the beach and eating well rather than skate trips, but there will be time for that. There’s a 70km long hill inland of the Nasca lines, it’s an epic road that takes you from high alp dry lands down a eroded landscape to the coastline and desert. Last time there I was filming Marisa, Maga, Ishta and Jose and only skated the bottom 30mins. I want to go back and hit it again.
Definitely gonna get to Asia for either holidays or racing, would love to do both and go exploring. Lots of travelling is on the books. Canada this year finally and I’m trying to get to Cali to meet the team at Bones and These Wheels. Hit up some of the runs I’ve seen way too much footage of and then get the fuck out of Merika and back home to the land of dog eyes and dead horse in the town of Steak and Kidney.

It’s been really fun having this catch up with you bro. Maybe catch you and Maga on your next Euro visit.
Any last words?
True happiness is shared.

Newest movie out, riding new proto on short wheel base

Riding with These team rider Tyler Howell at Thane Destroyer

Maga and marisa at a local race hill

Skating with Gabe and Matt Bates in inner west sydney

Freeriding newtons nation

Skating MURG in Switzerland