Do Epic Shit – Rob McWhinnie Interview
Do epic shit! It’s a bold statement, but Rob and Maga McWhinnie truly live by this motto. They are stalwarts of the Australian downhill community, travel the world to spread the stoke around the world and have now been helping to organise rad Stand-up downhill races amongst all the other epic shit they do. I caught up with Rob after another baddass event, this time at the KNK Longboard camp in Slovenia that I have recently been sharing with you about.
Hey Rob! nice to see you in Europe again this summer!
Was awesome to spend some time on and off the hill with you this year, doesn’t happen enough.
The No Paws this year was a super success, drawing even more top-tier riders from ever further afield. In fact, our winner had traveled all the way from Brazil for some Euro action, he must’ve been stoked when he realised he had won, especially such an unprecedented cash prize too..
Ian Freire was ecstatic when he won that’s right. He wasn’t the only rider who confessed to me at KNK that he had been practicing solid for this event and yeah, traveled from the other side of the globe to take on the world’s best. When we told him about the grand he won, he was like “Oh shit, I can buy a bike with that back home” smiling ear to ear. So stoked for him.
The racing this year was a much tighter and faster than I’ve experienced in the past at KNK and at other Stand-up Racing events, more riders wanting to get rowdy and amongst it, side by side. Guys like Daniel Luna destroyed the track, last years winner Deen Mondt was mobbing harder than ever but unlucky in the race rounds.
Why tell people how to race? What does a stand-up only competition offer that conventional racing doesn’t?
It’s about the challenge, as our sport evolved from late 2009 till today, we saw a whole new style and approach to going fast downhill. Drifting and destroying your wheels while staying upright and hands free. I believe that this style can be faster than conventional riding; more weight over the wheels = faster braking, but without a real need to push the boundaries (racing) many riders, myself and the discipline, would take longer to achieve this.
Stand-up racing is brutal for beginners, all it offers is more heartache and disappointment, but the greater the challenge the greater the reward. Winners of Stand-up events are not just lucky but skilled and determined, this racing style offers new generation riders a place to test their skill set against others in the same field.
Red Bull were there, how did they support you beyond the inflatable arches and free energy drinks?
Red Bull came to the party on this event because they saw it as something different and progressive; Their team provided race support, film crews, publicity, cash and a huge backing to the already massive event KNK is.
What are your thoughts on the rate of evolution of the downhill scene, do you think it’s stabilising/hybridising with other disciplines, or do you think it’ll be unrecognisable in its current form 10 years from now?
It’s all Skateboarding mate, until the hoverboard comes I feel in 10 years we will still be fundamentally doing the same thing. A custom built track could shake things up, like really change things. If you think of the size and steepness that snowboards and skis race down, I think there’s room for a our sport to get a lot crazier. DH races with boarderX style features built in needs to happen too. The future is bright, there’s room for big airtime, ridiculously long flowing side to side slides and some intense racing to come.
It IS all skateboarding, word. You’re back in Oz, chefing right now yeah? (That and finding fresh hills to get people together on, sounds like you never stop working on nurturing the community). What do you and Maga have planned next in your fantastic adventure together?
We are just having too much fun, every day, all year, non stop. We will continue to keep the Sydney scene growing and shredding for a few years to come, our race scene in Aus has shifted from the Sydney area back to the Gold Coast, it’s done this a couple of times over the last 15 years. While we have lots of riders here we need to focus more on freerides and fun again. Getting the local crews together and shredding. From those sessions and groups of riders one or two always want to race and beat their mates, we can encourage those riders and put em on a race hill, building from that, one day to have a Aussie rider win the World Cup. first, some more travel, more fun, one day kids and a property.
More power to you guys! Thanks for taking the time to chat, and hope to see you for some shreddage again soon.
Cheers Will, and to a huge THANK YOU to the KNK staff, riders, sponsors and Maga. I really just set the dates, turn up and spread the stoke; so many people put the big effort in to make KNK No Paws Down a reality. If you haven’t tried the Stand-Up racing discipline yet and are interested, hit up your local race organiser to add it on to the day’s event, give it a go and push the sport in a new exciting direction. Do epic shit!
Rob is sponsored by: Basement Skate, These Wheels, Kaha, Fibretec, & Risch.