Hawaiian boarder KJ Nakanelua has his favourite places to hang 10 and Summerland is right up there at the top of the list.
The Oahu native was among the more than 200 longboarders who took on the three-day challenge that is the Giant’s Head Freeride at the park from June 27-30.
“I came here six years ago for the first time and I love it,” said Nakanelua, 22. “This is one of the best skateboarding events I know about. It’s an amazing hill, amazing place with a great lake.”
He added the closed course with the ability to set up ramps and other features only makes it more attractive to riders.
“It really is the most ideal environment to push your limits,” said Nakanelua.
The narrow, winding, paved trail with some steep drop-offs has proven to be a skater’s delight as this year’s turnout would indicate, despite being cancelled in 2014.
For freelance videographer Alex Ameen, this year was his first trip to Giant’s Head, driving up from Los Angeles, Cal.
“I’ve actually never been to Giant’s Head but everyone says it’s the best freeride event in the world so I’ll see if that’s true or not,” he said unpacking his gear on the hillside.
Someone else who made the long journey for some rides and to spend some time with friends was Mike Mayhew of Lake Tahoe, Ca.
“This one is just so narrow and so many turns just back-to-back so you’re constantly riding with people. They’re not just pulling ahead of you in the straightaways so you’re just always riding with friends, it’s a lot of fun,” said the 23-year-old who has been doing downhill for three years and skating since he was nine. “This one’s really worth coming to.”
Speaking on behalf of the organizers, Adam Auger described the 2015 event as very successful despite some rain on the second last day.
“This is definitely an advanced hill and the wet conditions make it much more difficult but it’s great to see them out there, having fun and part of that is crashing,” said Auger. “You just know by the scars they’re having a good time and if they’re still riding when they have the road rash they’re really into that.”