Rob McWhinnie: Doing Epic Shit

Stoked to share another fun chat with this stoked downhill skateboarder. Rob talks about the beauty of longboarding in the Philippines, Stand Up DH racing and his upcoming gnar in Europe.

11233770_474385606057853_8543998151571541717_nHey Rob! How have you been?
All good, winter has only just kicked in so we have been skating a lot up until recently and only now started to have to deal with the rainy days. Working hard but enjoying myself and time with the missus too. How you been?

Great, thanks. Good to be back having another chat. Where have you been skating recently?
Cheers for having us. I’ve been out filming and having fun in the eastern suburbs, like Bondi, Coggee and the likes. The roads out by the beaches are amazing, some steep as anything and all smooth. The traffic is pretty nuts, the drivers over there think they own the roads and drive expensive cars. I’d rather be out by the Harbor, roads are rad and traffic is minimal.
Scored some great footage, just coring wheels and having fun. My mate Alaister Sanders is slaying atm and is always down to skate, we have been riding with an Italian duo, Aldo and Matteo all over, rad little crew to get out with and film, slash and relax.

Been to any events of late?
We had our annual All Moss’d Out recently, 4th year running, its a rad little outlaw event in Sydney harbor, had a few riders from outta state rock up and throw the challenge down, but the local shredders took it out.

Do epic shit

Do epic shit

No paws?
Damn straight, Stand Up Racing and riding is a great way to push yourself. Getting stoked for the No Paws Down KNK event coming up too.

Have you put on any local events this year?
A few, some are in their 4th and 5th years, so I’m pretty stoked to be getting them done. We (Maga and I) held the first Gnar Path Brawl this year, a really tight and steep run with a hairpin, dropping straight away and a double right hander. It started wet and as a 2-man race but by the end it was dry and 4 man, so gnarly! Props to all the riders that took it on.

Also held a massive event in memory of a good friend who passed away at the start of the year, Chris Renz, the event Renzy’s Riot was a huge success, over 50 riders from all over Aus, raising cash for his family and celebrating the sport we love. Connor Ferguson took the win down the long and winding course.

Did you go to Jacko’s race?
Na, was working. Sent some wheels down to the bathurst grom Mitch Thompson, he won the groms div on em.

Is KNK the No Hands world title race?
Not this year! I’m rewarding the Aussie scene with that honor this year, going to hold it on my 30th birthday weekend, make a huge party out of it on a hill somewhere.

KNK 2014 - Sickboards photo

KNK 2014 – Sickboards photo

WHEN IS YOUR BIG BIRTHDAY?
11 of december, got mad plans for a 3 day camping skate party at an all time favourite little spot in the mountains, gonna be so good!

This is your second year of No Paws. How did the first @ KnK go?
It was nuts, all the event leading up to it were a lot smaller, less riders, less corners; KNK had 50 riders from all around the world and 18 hairpins, so yeah, it deserved the world championship title. The guys that turned up for the event were really cool.
It was a first time experiencing the event style for most of them and they probably would normally race, it was a free ride vibe if anything, and I had to try and keep that fun and relaxed attitude throughout the day. stress less.

How many more No Paws races have you had since?
No Paws Down is the event at KNK, Stand Up DH Racing is the discipline.

Rad. What’s the long term goal for Stand UP DH Racing?
Pretty much take over the world, haha na, pretty much want it to be a classification at world cup events one day would be rad, having a field of riders who can tear it up competitively and race excitingly too would be awesome.

Unai Bellamy photo

Unai Bellamy photo

What’s the reception been like?
Super Mango’s (the stand-up race in the Philippines) was crazy. Pat Switzer holds a 3 day clinic on an amazing road over there and on the last day we dropped a 32-man stand up race. The locals were so hyped, but shit scared too. We all kind of were. The hill was brutal, 4 hairpins but 8+ slides to get down the section we made a track. All the other event riders came out to watch. We had some of the worlds best free riders racing too, from Pat and Dandoy Tongco to Liam Morgan and Will Royce. It was a great event.

Last time we spoke, you were about to head out to your first VLT – how did it go?
That long ago? OK! Well, I just got back from my second trip a couple of months ago. We had to go back, IT’S THAT GOOD. This time, we were joined by not only the Basement Skate team, but riders from Queensland, the States, Canada, Europe. God it was just a 3 week party that included riding, racing, stand up racing, teaching, chilling, filming and having a great time. I recommend it to anyone thinking about going to Asia. Philippines has it all and is so welcoming and humble.

Epos photo - Chillipines

Epos photo – Chillipines

I recommend (the Philippines) to anyone thinking about going to Asia. It has it all and is so welcoming…

How big was the international contingent?
20-30 internationals easy! Plus film makers, photographers and full time lurkers.

It seems this last VLT was the most internationally attended. What’s the vibe like?
Everyone was tripping on the culture and vibes. So much love and hospitality, everyone feels so welcome and comfortable.

Aside from KnK is there any other setting where racers aren’t going at each other?
Sure, there’s literally hundreds of events around the world each year you can get to that are chill and for everyone.

Federic Samperio photo

Federic Samperio photo

What’s the skating over there like?
The crew rips, they have a MASSIVE scene and there’s a local rider of world class standards in every skate discipline. With over 7,000 islands, the runs are located close to the beach and natural water springs, so it’s rad to have a shralp and dust some thane then hit the waterfalls or beach. Pretty much the best skate atmosphere I can imagine. Pretty lawless too, you grab a moped and hoon every where, drink and party with the locals, just having the time of your life. Really can’t wait to go back, take 2 months this time.

“the runs are located close to the beach and natural water springs, so it’s rad to have a shralp and dust some thane then hit the waterfalls or beach. Pretty much the best skate atmosphere I can imagine.”

Could you live there?
We saw a property going for $17,000, on a run and near the water. But local laws prevent such investments.

Ayumi/Fifer photo

Ayumi/Fifer photo

How did you do in the races?
We had an IDF qualifier there, on another insane road, I was doing really well, qualified like 5th or something. It rained a bit on race day and I made it through a couple of rounds, then when I was out in front in top 16, I lost a wheel in sight of the finish line. So bummed. I had a bit of a tantrum and got on with the trip. The Aussies did really well though. At the Super Mango’s Stand Up race I scored 3rd behind Liam and Pat. I could have gone for a pass here and there but it’s so hard to weigh up going for a pass and tapping a puck or holding on, putting the pressure on and hoping someone else does. At any event, once you make finals you shouldn’t be planning for the others to fail but rather just being faster. Everyone’s gonna have their shit dialed by them.

“At any event, once you make finals you shouldn’t be planning for the others to fail but rather just being faster.”

Who’s the Stand up DH racing champ right now?
Pat Switzer and myself are head to head in “points” for the championship atm, he has been to a few and so have I. Recently, there were 2 events in Canada at Britannia Classic and Giants Head that had Stand-Up divisions but there were 2 here in Aus too. I’m not really keeping track and counting points but kinda just trying to build awareness and promote the discipline. Save the points for IDF for now, just got to get people involved and having fun.

Michael Harrington pic

Michael Harrington pic

What’s the future for StandUp DH – SU-IDF?
Hope so, why not? It’s a progression of the sport, where the best riders in the world challenge themselves on the world cup tracks with no hands down, just for fun! Why not step it up and race that way?

Do the same riders kill it with no hands?
Yeah, the good ones do. There’re plenty of guys out there that grab rail and hands down like it’s their job, that sort of rider is fast as fuck and intimidating on the race track, but get him on a stand-up event and they have nothing.

Are there many women competing?
Some Spanish girls are slaying it, but that’s all I’ve seen. Laura Laguanch is her name, Shredder!

Was there any improvement between this and last year’s VLT?
The race hill was a massive improvement, safety protection too. Otherwise, I reckon the parties were better too, and the weather. Haha.

What gave you the biggest smiles on that adventure?
Relaxing over sunsets with my wife, or having breakfast cocktails together on the beach. Was like a honeymoon again.
con maga

Where did you guys skate after your VLT last year?
We also hit up New Zealand for the first time.

For fun/race?
For a 3 day mission to race the Mt Ruapeu IDF fest. It was gnarly and cold. Great to catch up with all the tour shredders, meet new riders from across the pond and have a bit of fun.

What’s the scene like out there?
Didn’t really get to see any of it, the riders were rad though, as was the whole event. Good people and rad skills. definitely going back again, longer next time, hey.

NZ - Sam Bland photo

NZ – Sam Bland photo

Did you do any skating after NZ?
Was living in Bathurst, my home town for a few months. Spent a lot of time out there skating Mt Panorama and finding plenty of new roads to keep me and the growing gromet scene out there frothing. Out in the Aussie bush the roads can be a bit rough, the groms out there have got used to it pretty quick and now can dominate any city rider on a “not butter” track. Our Aussie Grom Champion Mitch Thompson is from Bathurst and is like the alpha grom out there and across the country, stoked there’s fresh blood out there keeping and building the scene in our home town.

When are we going to see Mitch on the IDF circuit?
Next year! Expect big things, he’s in school like a smart kid. Him and Tyrone Knight are ready to take names all next year and in the opens.

Are rough roads responsible for riders like Jayden and Connor?
Na they have their own story. Every rider is built different.

Matt Greene photo

Matt Greene photo

How did the Euro tour compare to ones you’d done in the past?
More hotels and eating good food, spent more time in the south of Spain, chilling, swiming, hanging out at Salsito house.

Did you enjoy Salsito life?
Hard not to! Want yo be there now, again. Summertime in the south of Spain, smoking dubes, drinking beer, skating every afternoon swimming every day.

Isn’t tour life supposed to be rough?
Not when you’re married. We are lucky to do this so we try and do it right. Love life, fuck money. I have no problem blowing dollar I’ve worked hard for.

“Love life, fuck money. I have no problem blowing dollar I’ve worked hard for.”

Valerei Tabada photo

Valerei Tabada photo

How stoked on you on travelling in a few hours?
Frothing, just poured a duty free bottle of scotch into a maccas cup of coke. Holidays have begun and I’m in good form for the euro events, Maga too. Happy days mate.

When will you be back in OZ?
1 month, returning to start a little home in Redfern, an inner Sydney suburb.

Most important thing to pack?
PASSPORTS! We lost them for a good 2 hours before finding them at the 11th hour. Hahaha.

Guillaume Bois photo

Guillaume Bois photo

Rob dawg! Stoked to have squeezed out the time to do this. Have fun in Europe and DO EPIC SHIT!
Will do, thanks for the catch up, till next time!
Shred hard, have fun and love your life.

Any last words?
Thanks to: These wheels and the team at skate one. Dave at basement skate. Renke at fibertec. kahalani. Stephan and risch aero helmets. Centerlink Australia.

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