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Volcom's "BigWest SouthDown" European Skate Team Video

Photos and Words by Jelle Keppens
Film and Edit by Yves Marchon

bigwest_southdown_print_contest

The Promised Land

Words by Jelle Keepens
It’s hard to visit places that haven’t been visited before in skateboarding, so why bother and go on a quest to look for the unknown, without even knowing if you will run into something skateable? Don’t get me wrong, I’m always down for a little adventure to the underworld, but everything is just a lot smoother when the path has been paved before. So with the Damn Am taking place at Volcom each spring, and having some of the Euro riders out there, the decision was easy to just add a couple of weeks of skateboarding to it. The promised land is big enough to offer a lot of different options.

So after doing a little research and some back and forth with the Volcom US team captains, the decision was made to start of our journey towards Vegas, and make a giant loop downwards to Albuquerque, New Mexico, then swing by the Mexican border and back up to L.A. through Arizona. It was still early spring, so that hot pocket of the States would still be bearable. We got ourselves a big ass van, fitted it with some young and older talent, stashed the trunk full of bags, a generator and boards and off it went.

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Or at least that’s what they say. All we did was skate and we’re not keeping that from you. Anyone else would hit the strip and go find his luck at one of the casinos, at least that’s what I think everyone should do who visits Vegas… We had the perfect excuse, it was Daan Van der Linden's 18th birthday. I hear you all thinking, casino, stripclub and make it rain! Not for us, Skankie, that’s what we call him, is a skate rat and he wanted to celebrate his b-day, by just skateboarding. So here’s what we did, after spending the day in one of the many ditches getting tricks done, we hit a nice Italian restaurant, filled with pretty ladies, who where more interested in us then their own dates. We later found out through the waiter they were all callgirls. We’re in Vegas remember. We had dessert and some of us left the table early, Ant Travis, being one of them, and while doing so, he left the Red cam he borrowed from Russel Houghten under the table. We soon found out and decided to sneak it out through the back of the restaurant and hide it in the second van, just to fuck with him. He didn’t notice a thing, only until we were half way to Skankie's birthday spot. He started tripping and called the restaurant to look for it. Nowhere to be found of course. Lesson well learned. After we made clear it was a joke, we forced our way into a school, and lit up a runway so Daan could unwrap his birthday present. A perfect rail he ended up hitting with a switch backside smith grind.

Alain Goikoetxea – Blunt to fakie

Alain Goikoetxea – Blunt to fakie

Alain Goikoetxea – Nose Pick

Alain Goikoetxea – Nose Pick

Alain Goikoetxea – Pocket Air

Alain Goikoetxea – Pocket Air

Axel Cruysberghs – Boom Vegas

Axel Cruysberghs – Boom Vegas

Eniz Fazliov – FS blunt

Eniz Fazliov – FS blunt

Daan van der Linden – Switch BS Smith

Daan van der Linden – Switch BS Smith

Breaking Bad in Albuquerque

We left Vegas in the evening and drove til late in the night to Flagstaff, AZ on route 66, halfway to Albuquerque, where we would spend the night. Since Flagstaff is not that far from America’s biggest monument, the Grand Canyon, we all decided it was worth the little detour. It would be stupid not to go see it now that we where this close. All I can say about it is it’s hard to capture how big it is. Especially from above. I think you need to take the walk all the way down there to really realize it. Nevertheless it was impressive, and while we were up there checking it out from one of the lookout points, a thunderstorm closed in on us. Some girl's hair all of a sudden rose to the sky because of the static electricity in the air. It didn’t take us long to get the fuck out of there.
We drove the rest of the day and woke up in Albuquerque the next morning. A place known for it’s many ditches! You probably remember the ad and video of Slash (Bryan Hansen) backside carving this ditch with the best style. That ditch is in Albuquerque and it’s called Indian school and is about 1,6 miles long. After meeting up with our guide Jake, it was the first thing he took us too. We drove all the way up to what’s probably the highest neighborhood in Albuquerque where the head of this giant snake sits. By the time you carve half way down, you have a cramp in your legs! It’s epic.
But wait that’s not the only thing ABQ is famous for, so we found out. At one point, we passed by this big ass carwash building, and I signaled the car in front of us to pull over and asked if this was the carwash from Mr.White, better known as Eisenhower. You guessed it, the bald guy from Breaking Bad. Jake told us the whole series was shot in this town, and next thing we knew we were on a tour to all the Breaking Bad stuff. Even more epic!

Alain Goikoetxea – Rock 'n Roll

Alain Goikoetxea – Rock 'n Roll

Axel Cruysberghs – BS Blunt

Axel Cruysberghs – BS Blunt

Axel Cruysberghs – Fakie Hurricane

Axel Cruysberghs – Fakie Hurricane

Axel Cruysberghs – FS Blunt

Axel Cruysberghs – FS Blunt

Daan van der Linden – FS 5-0

Daan van der Linden – FS 5-0

Eniz Fazliov – Nollie Heel

Eniz Fazliov – Nollie Heel

Harry Lintell – BS Flip

Harry Lintell – BS Flip

Harry Lintell – Nollie Flip

Harry Lintell – Nollie Flip

Harry Lintell – Nosegrind

Harry Lintell – Nosegrind

Louie Lopez – FS Flip

Louie Lopez – FS Flip

Daan van der Linden – BS 180 Switch 5050

Daan van der Linden – BS 180 Switch 5050

Daan van der Linden – Fakie Flip

Daan van der Linden – Fakie Flip

Daan van der Linden – FS 5050

Daan van der Linden – FS 5050

The Worlds Biggest Chili.

After 2 days of getting the highest amount of tricks ever in ABQ, we moved on to the Mexican border to spend the night in Las Cruces at a motel that hosts the world's biggest chili. You know, those red spicy peppers. It was in fact a giant sculpture of a red pepper on the driveway of the motel. I think Axel licked it at some point, because the morning when we woke up he felt like shit. His stomach hurt and he couldn’t keep any food in.

Railroad Ghost town.

On the way from Las Cruces to Tucson, we passed by an old sign that said: "Railway Ghost Town - 16 miles”. I suggested to pull over so the guys in the back could have a smoke and Axel could get out for a second because he had been struggling in the backseat for a while.
As we took the exit, we drove straight into some kind of trailer trash park. I opened the window and asked the first person I saw if the Ghost town was still around. She said it had been closed for over 5 years, but we could drive to the back and park next to it and check it out from the parking lot, because it was all fenced in. So we did and 10 minutes later she came driving up and asked if we wanted to see it from the inside. Of course. So we followed her around behind her fork lift, filled with bags of cement, passing more trailerpark junk. She explained to us she owns the town and she used to guide people around all day long, and closed it down 5 years ago after her dad got shot in the town. She said she hasn’t showed it to people ever since, but we looked like nice guys so she took the effort to give one more tour in town. It was amazing, everything was left untouched since it had been deserted in 1870. Everything was packed with dust. Before we knew 3 hours had passed and we gained the woman’s heart. She gave us each a souvenir and wished us a safe trip, all but Axel. Because he was still feeling bad and stayed in the shade next to the car.

Extra time in Tucson.

Arizona was hot, and it wasn’t even summer yet! I remember the water of the hotel pool being like a bath tub and the water of the hot tub almost too warm to be relaxing. Even Axel seemed to feel a little better and was able to enjoy the cold beer at the poolside. We ordered pizzas and got a visit from Aaron Suski, the good old Suskawoo, who would show us around the next couple of days. The night passed and by the morning Axel, the Crusher was feeling sick again. He decided he would sleep it out during the day and sent us on a mission without him. After hitting a spot, and realizing it was too hot to skate, Suski proposed to go visit the infamous cactus reserve on the way to a concrete park in the middle of the cactus fields. Those cactuses are truly amazing! We learned that they only grow an arm every 75 years. And we saw thousands of them kicking it with at least 5 arms! That’s at least 375 years young. Very impressive. The view on the way back from the park was even more stunning with the sun setting. A view I will never forget and I would love to see again one day.
By the time we got back, Axel was still in bed puking up everything he ate or drank. Even water! By the next morning he couldn’t even get up again, so we decided to call 911. The fire department came to pick him up and straight to the hospital he went, to later find out his appendix had burst! Gnarly.
He had to get surgery right away, and we had to extend our stay in Tucson, switching hotels every day since everything was fully booked. 2 days after the surgery he still hadn’t recovered and after visiting him he really didn’t look that good. We couldn’t skate much since we didn’t want to leave him by himself the whole time during the day. Christian, the TM took good care of his rider in need and everyone was worried.
You get bored really fast being stuck in a hotel room all day, me and Yves Marchon tried to do a mission walking to a second hand camera store for a few miles, but by the time we got back we where completely dehydrated. The heat is gnarly, you really need a car with AC to move around! The only option was to go out at night, and so we did. Eniz, Harry and I visited this bar who’s owner was called GOD. Yes, no joke, the guy had officially changed his name to God. The place was pretty amazing! The walls where filled with photos of him and celebrities, from presidents to actors, to even Bruce Lee. Apparently God, formally known as Jim used to be an actor in action movies, as a stand in double for martial arts scenes. He gave us a tour of the bar, and we found out about some weird shit in there. He had a SM room, I’m not going into detail, and the condom vending machine in the women’s toilet was attached to a super loud alarm, inside of the bar, so every time a chick buys a condom the alarm would go off and everyone in the bar would know about it. Amazing! The second night, me and Eniz walked downtown and ended up at some random party with a great vibe going on. It was a sex worker party, or better said a fund raiser party for sex worker rights. Pretty interesting stuff, from a kissing booth to a dress up photo booth. Good times.

Alain Goikoetxea – FS Hurricane

Alain Goikoetxea – FS Hurricane

Tuscon Cactus-Valley

Tuscon Cactus-Valley

Team-Van in Tuscon Cactus-Valle

Team-Van in Tuscon Cactus-Valle

Aaron Suski – BS Tailslide

Aaron Suski – BS Tailslide

Family BBQ’s in Phoenix.

After 5 days of Tucson and waiting for someone to come over to take care of Axel, we had to leave him behind and continue our tour, since we had hotels pre-booked along the way. It took us about an hour and a half to Tempe, Phoenix. We checked in and tried to get a hold of our guide. We were supposed to hook up with Joe Hammeke, but since we got a delay of a few days, he had already left town for another mission. Luckily we got a contact who sent us the coordinates to a spot. A backyard pool, a gnarly one! So we drove there, into some sketchy Mexican cholo neighborhood. When we turned into the street I had the feeling it was a place we didn’t belong or where welcome. But we parked the car, and went around the back as instructed. We passed a few fenced gardens and noticed everyone was having a family BBQ, and not paying attention to what we where up to. We hopped a fence of an empty house and hit the jackpot! The pool coping was super rough and had never been grinded before. It must have felt good for Alain to make his first mark on there. We got there pretty late, so we had to get the session on fire as soon as possible. Maybe too soon for Skankie because he ate shit gnarly and limped for the next 2 days struggling with bruised hip.

Alain Goikoetxea – Rock 'n Roll

Alain Goikoetxea – Rock 'n Roll

Eniz Fazliov – BS Disaster

Eniz Fazliov – BS Disaster

Palm Springs.

We weere supposed to go to Borrego Springs for a weekend of camping with some of the Volcom US guys from the team, but since we were behind on schedule, we had to skip that part of the trip and shortcut to Palm Springs. The resort town where many go to relax, except for us, I mean, for Eniz and Harry, because they left some sweat behind in a ditch trying to get their tricks in the bag.
It’s a bummer we couldn’t enjoy our time out there a little more. We stayed at this super nice 60's tiki hotel with totem poles and torches in the garden, that got lit up at night. The hot tub was the biggest I had ever seen and story goes even Elvis And Nancy Sinatra used to visit that place whenever they went to Palm Springs. It’s horrible to say but sometimes skateboarding can be a burden. You get to a place where you wanna hang out a little more but you can’t because you have to move on.

Alain Goikoetxea – FS slasher

Alain Goikoetxea – FS slasher

Eniz Fazliov – Nosegrinder

Eniz Fazliov – Nosegrinder

Harry Lintell – FS Crooks to Fakie

Harry Lintell – FS Crooks to Fakie

Sadlands.

I had figured out the coordinates to only 1 spot before levying on the trip and it would fit right into the schedule. I would keep it a secret until we where halfway through the trip and make sure it would happen.
So the day comes we have to drive back to where we started from, Costa Mesa, CA and on my request the little tour happened to visit the spot I had always dreamed about. We drive into the coordinates I had found and right when we got out of the van, we stumble upon 2 guys who just returned from a session at their spot. We asked them if they could give us further directions and instead they proposed to join us. After a climb over a fence, a walk through the bushes, hopping from rock to rock, crossing a bridge, we finally found ourselves in a ditch that would lead us to the holy grail, Baldy Pipeline, Salba territory!

Daan van der Linden – FS Ollie

Daan van der Linden – FS Ollie

Daan van der Linden – in the Vortex

Daan van der Linden – in the Vortex

Volcom Europe in America

Volcom Europe in America

Infection.

Do you wonder what happened to Axel after we left Tucson? Well, he couldn’t get his food in and his condition got even worse. Doctors soon found out the wound had infected and they had to drain it and re-operate on him, before they could send him off. From there it he went straight to L.A. and a first class flight took him back home to discover in a Belgian hospital they did a lousy job in the Tucson Hospital and under the knife he went again. At the end it took him about 6 weeks to recover. If only he went into the Ghost village to get the lady's blessing, it would have probably never been that bad!

Louie Lopez - 180 SS Crooks

Louie Lopez - 180 SS Crooks

Daan van der Linden - BS Noseblunt

Daan van der Linden - BS Noseblunt


Actu + videos

New Future
Refugee Kids Benefiz Day
Last week, the "Refugee Kids – Benefiz Day“ – initiated by Volcom and the Future 4 Kids association – was taking place in the halls of the freestyle academy in Stuttgart. 70 refugee kids and their families were invited to join the event and got free transportation from their refugee hostel to the spot. Through different workshops and activities the kids got introduced to the world of boardsports, giving them a first sample of what the freestyle academy has to offer (skateboarding, snowboarding, foampit, …) Obviously they had a lot of fun trying out the bag jumps, the skate bowl, or even the boulder wall. Everyone was highly motivated so it was merely a matter of time before the first tricks were done on the skateboards. A screenprint workshop was organized at the Volcom tent, where the kids could print a customized tote bag for themselves. So everyone was happy to go home with a new bag filled with other goodies. The other highlight was the „Mal mich Kasten“ where kids could get a portait painted of themselves. Besides all the trainings and workshops, everyone enjoyed a meal and a cold softdrink, provided by the freestyle academy and the dinkelacker brewery. All in all the day was a great one for the kids as well as for the parties involved rewarded by smiles and good vibes. Many thanks again to all the sponsors and helpers: Future 4 Kids https://www.future4kids.de Volcom http://www.volcom.com Freestyle Academy Stuttgart http://www.freestyleacademy.com/stuttgart/ Dinkelacker Brauerei https://www.familienbrauerei-dinkelacker.de/ Mal mich Kasten http://www.malmichkasten.de/  
Surf
Kelly Slater Takes Win Over John John Florence at Teahupo'o!
Kelly Slater returns to perfect form on the Championship Tour with a win over one of the world's best barrel riders, John John Florence, in flawless conditions at Teahupo'o, Tahiti. It's been two years since the king has claimed a victory on the World Surf League, and even longer since he's proved to be unbeatable throughout an entire event. With such an absence (for Kelly) in between CT wins, people have speculated if the 11-time world champ will ever win another world title, and if his unremarkable 20+ run on tour is finally coming to a close. With a world tour ranking outside of the top 10 coming into Teahupo'o for the first time in his career, and a surgence of younger and thought-to-be more heavily agile surfers now on tour like Filipe Toledo, John John Florence and Gabriel Medina, questions have rose of Kelly's ability to compete with the best in the world in 2016. But Kelly is at the top of his health and nutrition game, agile as ever, and with this win, shows us no signs of slowing down. We may just see a return of the great in the near future. A swing in the tide if you will. Whether or not Kelly goes on to win another CT event or world title, he's still the king, and still ruling the upper-class of professional surfing in 2016. I mean, who other than Kelly Slater can pull off rides like this at one of the heaviest waves in the world... This event marked his 55th CT win and fifth win at Teahupo'o, but that's not all. Along the way, Kelly bagged four perfect 10s, a perfect heat score (third of his career, ninth in pro surfing history), and for the first time ever he was awarded the prestigious Andy Irons Commitment Award (A.I. Award), which is given to the most committed surfer during the Teahupo'o event. Kelly has a rich and personally competitive history with Andy where they intensely rivaled each other like no other pair in surfing, or arguably, sports history. In fact, the last heat Kelly ever had with Andy was in the semifinals of this same event in 2010, where Andy would go on to hoist the trophy, so having Kelly win the A.I. Award and the event this year, was truly emotional for everyone. "I was channeling Andy this week. I was thinking about him a lot. A lot of emotions." -Kelly Kelly and the three time world champ Andy Irons had one of the most competitive and heated rivalries in sport's history, fighting for world titles while pushing the sport into a higher realm of professional competition. Listen below to Kelly on his rivalry w/ Andy Irons (skip to 1min 52s): With this win, it pushes Kelly into eighth place on WSL's Championship Tour, but he has a long way to go if he wants to clinch the 2016 world title: "I’m too far out of it now, but I’ll try and play the role of spoiler a few times if I can. I want to keep winning heats, and maybe if I win another event or two, we can have that conversation." Watch Kelly's road to the 2016 Teahupo'o finals:   FINALS: 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 19.67 2: John John Florence (HAW) 15.23 SEMIFINALS: SF 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 18.40 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 16.10 SF 2: John John Florence (HAW) 19.66 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 19.23 QUARTERFINALS: QF 1: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 18.16 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 16.00 QF 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 19.27 def. Bruno Santos (BRA) 17.43 QF 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.90 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.40 QF 4: John John Florence (HAW) 17.34 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 16.60 ROUND 5: Heat 1: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 16.77 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.60 Heat 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 20.00 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 14.70 Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.43 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 14.33 Heat 4: John John Florence (HAW) 18.30 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.90 Current 2016 WSL Jeep Leaderboard (Top 5): 1. John John Florence (HAW) 39,900 pts 2. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 36,000 pts 3. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 35,700 pts 4. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 26,200 pts 5. Julian Wilson (AUS) 25,200 pts
Surf
A Candid Photo Journal: Welcome To Water Ep. 3 - Indonesia
A couple months ago, filmmaker / photographer Scott Stinnett ventured with some of the boys on the Volcom Surf Team to South East Asia to a little place called Sumbawa, located in the middle of the Lesser Sunda Islands chain. Sumbawa, a highly sought-after surf destination for people all around the world, offers many heavy world-class barrels, prodominately lefts, accompanied with a shallow coral reef bottom. For the traveling surfers and cameramen like Scott, Sumbawa is a great place to journey to for a variety of waves and tons of land exploring. Their mission? Shoot some clips of Balaram Stack, Parker Coffin, Imai Devault and Noah Schweizer for a surf edit (watch here), venture to a few remote areas for some lifestyle photography, have some fun, and live to tell their story. Conclusion: they lived, but their story wasn't as exciting as today's current news in the world, so we didn't write a story. Although, Scott was able to capture some memorable moments from the trip through the use of his Yashica T4 and Wide Lux Panoramic cameras which we just had to share. Take a peek at some of the photos below! PHOTOS: Scott Stinnett, @melllow_yellow CAMERAS: Weatherproof Yashica T4 35mm Point and Shoot, Wide Lux Panoramic Camera Fadi, pronounced "Faw-Dee," was the crew's epic tour guide and drove them around to some mystical secret locations The boys were stoked when Fadi showed them this secret hideaway in the forest This spot wasn't surfable, but Parker Coffin didn't want to leave 100 degree weather, fully clothed, with an old Volcom tee wrapped his head. Score! In the background you can see a pretty sick left, which unfortunately, wasn't surfable, so the boys moved on to another location The gateway to the dream left that was scored in the edit. The crew ended up calling that wave "Baldman's" for a local incorrectly pronouncing Balaram's name. Once you walk through that path you are rewarded with this sight. The granny farmer, who owns that piece of land, is shown here holding the gate open for the crew. Imai Devault at Baldman's Imai with the first leap into an unknown lagoon Taking a break from the road This desolate, beachy farm land makes for a good photo The boys' first look at Baldman's A small Indonesian girl on her way to pre-school. It's fascinating traveling thousands of miles away from home to see how native people live and grow up, hugely disconnected from the world you and I live in today. Noah and Parker, full zen mode The Nomad Resort The heat made Parker a little thirsty... Here's Fadi (on the right) wondering what a kid from Florida and a kid from California are doing staring off into the depths of a lagoon On the way to the waterfall. Beautiful scenery in every corner of Sumbawa kept traveling from place-to-place a treat rather than a burden. The long walk back from Yo-Yos (the smaller, fun-looking right from the edit) The boys watching Balaram swing from a tree into the water. Balaram, with a miscalculated attempt to fear of landing on tree roots (shown on the left), hung onto the rope and slammed back into the tree. Nice one, Balaram. On the way out from granny farmer's crops and into Baldman's Rocks were slippery, but careful foot placement ensured no one fell off the cliff. Too bad. Would've made for a cool photo. Imai
Surf
A day with Maud Le Car
Follow the journey of the winners of the contest “A day with Maud Le Car” 'in Hossegor! Mathilde and Juliette have had the chance to spend a day in the world of the professional surfer. Schedule: yoga, brunch, surfing and lot of fun! A memorable adventure they briefly tell us about here! Yoga session on the beach A yoga class on the beach, an amazing surf session with a great teacher bubbly and smiley! A day that passes way too fast. Lot of gifts and surprises, we were very spoiled. A big thanks for sharing a day like this one around a common passion! ' Mathilde I could not expect to have a better day. It really passed too fast: the schedule was full of activities (yoga, brunch, shopping, surfing, restaurant ...). This experience made me loved surfing even more. Maud Le Car is a great coach this was my best session ever. 1000 thanks to Maud and all the Volcom team ' Juliette Thanks to Emma yoga teacher, Mango Tree, Chez Minus, Alex Lesbats the photographer, all Volcom Crew and Maud Le Car of course. Little brunch at the Mango Tree with some delicious smoothie, salad… Break shopping at the Volcom Store Hossegor let’s go for a surf session Some tips from the master Maud Le Car Pre-dinner drinks between girls End of the day, time to say good bye
Events
Joan Duru wins the Lacanau Pro 2016
Credit WSL In 2009, the French surfer Joan Duru, 20years old, won the Lacanau Pro against the World Tour veteran, Travis Logie (working now for the WSL). 7 years later, Joan wins again the oldest french surf contest, the 4th WQS winning of his life, and earns 1500 WQS points! Credit WSL Heat after heat, Joan showed incredible surf skills in solid conditions, scoring big numbers. The semi final with his buddy from Hossegor, Marc Lacomare was the high point of Joan’s contest where he showed that his place is well on the World Tour. Credit WSL Joan is still sitting at the 4th place of the WQS ranking, and can take a serious option for the WL 17 qualification in the next couple weeks with the European leg. Congrats Joan, that’s well deserved! Credit WSL More pictures of the event : HERE
Surf
Ryan Burch in Encinitas - 4 Cities (Ep.2), Volcom Surf
4 Cities: A new series from What Youth and Volcom Episode 2: Ryan Burch in Encinitas, CA In episode 2 we headed to the sleepy beach town of Encinitas, California to see where modern gypsy Ryan Burch honed his highly sought-after style and interpretation of surfing and craft riding. We see the waves, the shaping bays and the burrito shops that molded one of surfing’s most creative minds and styles. About 4 Cities What’s the place you spend the majority of your life like? Does it make you, you? Or do you make it you? We wanted to immerse ourselves in some of our favorite surfers hometowns to see how they blend in or stand out in their communities. photo: Michael Cukr photo: Michael Cukr EPISODE 1 Ozzie Wright in Byron Bay - 4 Cities