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Giant’s Head Freeride – Through Fresh Eyes

As many of you know the Giant’s Head Freeride made a comeback this year after 2014’s cancelation. As one of the longest running Freeride events in the scene, the Giants Head Freeride in Summerland, BC has claimed a place of royalty in Longboarding. I personally remember pouring over videos and photos of Giants head with my friends, excitedly brainstorming plans for our future attendance. Giants Head is even rooted into my first interests in skate media: King Brian as captured by Max Dubler. The raw power and flow of King Brian’s skating, mixed with max’s camera work still never fails to get me stoked.

Fast forward a few years and I’m fresh out of high school, free for summer and ready to make plans happen. Giant’s Head was a must. A few friends and I packed up our boards and made the pilgrimage up to Summerland.

We set out from Portland with plenty of time to spare. Thanks to our Omen homies in Seattle and the Stoop in Vancouver, we were able to squeeze as many skate parks as we could manage: Fourteen

We set out from Portland with plenty of time to spare. Thanks to our Omen homies in Seattle and the Stoop in Vancouver, we were able to squeeze as many skate parks as we could manage: Fourteen

Stoop Life

Blake McClam BS smith grinds at Leeside skatepark in Vancouver, BC.

Blake McClam BS smith grinds at Leeside skatepark in Vancouver, BC.

I had heard Summerland was nice, but didn’t expect to see pristine beaches. “Summerland” is a pretty fitting name for a town that will make you question the difference between north and south.

I had heard Summerland was nice, but didn’t expect to see pristine beaches. “Summerland” is a pretty fitting name for a town that will make you question the difference between north and south.

Where am I?

The atmosphere was electric waiting for the first run to go down. Almost everyone present had spent the past few days on the road, not to mention the months of anticipation for this moment.

The atmosphere was electric waiting for the first run to go down. Almost everyone present had spent the past few days on the road, not to mention the months of anticipation for this moment.

Waiting game, even at a freeride.

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It doesn’t take long for the hill to claim some victims. King Brian shows us that the occasional trip to the “temple of doom” is just part of the game.

It doesn’t take long for the hill to claim some victims. King Brian shows us that the occasional trip to the “temple of doom” is just part of the game.

Harrison DePass leads some Seattle locals. The sunglasses failed to keep his skate face under control.

Harrison DePass leads some Seattle locals. The sunglasses failed to keep his skate face under control.

Apparently the rain on the second day was exciting enough for some. A few brave souls were doing group butt-board runs, often times losing a skater or two on the way down.

pparently the rain on the second day was exciting enough for some. A few brave souls were doing group butt-board runs, often times losing a skater or two on the way down.

Maxwel Kaye, Colin (little help here?) and Cody Lux taking wet runs on B-rides.

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Max giving and receiving fun rides with all, this time with Eric Jensen.

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Max Dubler enjoying the return of dry runs.

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James Kelly got out in front of the lens. Hope to see that footage.

After runs, food and beach was usually the order. Just cool down and relax with friends.

Byron Essert skated down to the beach for the daily lunch time swim sesh; as seen through the Depass’ windshield.

Byron Essert skated down to the beach for the daily lunch time swim sesh; as seen through the Depass’ windshield.

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Dad bod invert.

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Not everyone made it out to the Freeride right away. With the Maryhill Festival of Speed at the overlapping, a number of people mobbed through the night to get to the freeride for an epic event double header.

Striker managed to drive through the night from the Festival of Speed in Washington in order to help commentate the race.

Striker managed to drive through the night from the Festival of Speed in Washington in order to help commentate the race.

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Florida’s Stephen Vaughn getting up over the Pine Cones.

Bad Decisions Alex was in full force getting follow runs this year. Stoked to see he’s dropping monthly edits with Skate Slate, hope to see more of Giant’s Head in the July edit.

Bad Decisions Alex was in full force getting follow runs this year. George McKenzie charged into the final corner. One thing you probably couldn't tell from this photo was that it started pouring halfway down his follow run. Respect.

George McKenzie charged into the final corner with Alex close behind. One thing you probably couldn’t tell from this photo was that it started pouring halfway down his follow run. Respect.

The night of any skate event tend to bring a party. I managed to keep a small camera with me throughout the night.

The night before the last day at any skate event is always a party. I managed to keep a small camera with me throughout the night.

King Brian on security waiting for the rabble rousing.

Apparently there was a some sort of competition between US and Canada.I'm not sure if anyone actually won.

Apparently there was a some sort of competition between US and Canada.I’m not sure if anyone actually won.

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Cam Frazier checks on his victim.

Byron Essert channelled  his bay area roots.

Byron Essert channelled his bay area roots.

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Josh MacEachern charging through with Louis Pilloni close behind.

I’ve seen a few races where spectators implement pinecones to stir things up, but at Giants Head, the savages definitely didn’t skimp. With no hope of dodging them, racers got low and hoped to survive the barrage. Sometimes they caused upset wins and othertimes they wiped out everyone in the heat, causing a scramble of dust and boards.

I've seen  a few races where spectators implement pinecones to stir things up, but at Giants Head, the savages definitely didn’t skimp. With no hope of dodging them, racers got low and hoped to survive the barrage. Sometimes they caused upset wins and othertimes they wiped out everyone in the heat, causing a scramble of dust and boards.

Yer out!

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How old was this guy! Ewan Hadden. Killing it.

Open finals podium:  1st – Byron Essert  2nd – Charlie Darragh 3rd – Brendan Brown

Open finals podium: 1st – Byron Essert; 2nd – Charlie Darragh; 3rd – Brendan Brown

A big thank you to all the organizers & supporters for continuing to keep this event a possibility. Giants head was a blast. It’s an amazing hill, in a beautiful spot. It was dearly missed in 2014, and I personally can’t wait to skate this hill again.

Thanks for enjoying my photos!

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