Motivative stoke on the hill – first time freeriding

Text by Maria Arndt / Photos by Maria Arndt and Dominiek Grauls – 6th of October 2016 – 17:00

It took a few days to come back to the idea of writing down my experience back in france and I just wanted to share it, because I noticed it motivated some friends I told the story to.

I really don‘t know how to start, just with some stoke, which is probably the word that nails it best. Let’s begin where it started, my friend Fee (the main organizer of the Womens’s Longboard Camp) and I went to France to prepare the upcoming Women’s Longboard Camp (Freeride) in France, a corporation with Camp Wood Wings. We arrived almost a week earlier in France, where still a grom camp was running.

At our second day we skated the sweet track in front of the house, Martinet, my first real skated track (but mostly foot breaking, but hey, I did it and it’s nothing bad about footbreak). We went to the platform of Margeriaz for an upcoming skate session. The group was divided in two, one for freestyle and one for a little corner session; a pretty small group, that went to the first corner. The boys (there was only one girl that stayed for freestyle at the platform) pushed their limits pretty fast and I was quite impressed HOW FAST they were shredding down that hill. It didn‘t really come to my mind that I could skate as well, especially not after I’ve seen them shredding so fast. So I decided to watch and take some pictures. Afterwards

I felt I also wanted to skate it; for sure not THAT fast, just within my limits, within my speed, pushing MY comfort zone.

It took me a short while to warm up with the group to feel confident enough to skate with all this young fellers.

I felt completely different with my needs and limits, being double their age and so new with my abilities. Once I felt comfortable with them and talked with them, they motivated me. I decided to grab my board at the next corner session and join. At the next corner session I noticed that the group included most of the kids of the whole camp! At first I felt a little weird, because they were so extremely on fire to bomb down that corner and most of them as fast a possible. When I stood waiting for my turn I felt unconfident; I hadn’t sliding a couple of months and I wasn’t sure if I still could do it. And there were all the boys and you could see their stoke in their eyes like »Skate! Skate! Skate!« and me in between like »Yeah, I am not even sure if I can land any slides or if I can land them here on this pavement and then I also have like over 15 kids watching me failing… yaaaay… awesome…!«.

But I also thought like

»Fuck it, I want to give it a try, worst thing, I fail and embarrass myself in front of so many young and talented skater… but really? Who cares…??!«

But they were all extremely supportive, or encouraging and supportive and I landed it and they were all happy with me! That was a nice feeling. It was a little difficult to get another try in line. There were so many boys and so many different start lines, that I didn’t feel like »MY RUN!« and just go – it all worked out fine and often the boys gave me a sign to go, but after a couple of tries, that were ok I guess, I thought I would need more slides to improve and maybe a more calm surrounding. I went up to the platform, with a little drop, needed to push pretty hard to get a good speed for sliding, but it worked and I got my slide more and more save, just practicing on my own. That was a quite good feeling as well!

Selfie on the way back to the hostel, Tamara and me

The next skate session took part at the new pavement of the Margériaz track, it the was the middle part and it was brand new, less than 3 weeks old. Tamara, the only girl in the crew, had the morning off and also wanted to skate, so we decided to stay up together when they all went down the track, to skate just the first corner. There was just a little time to skate, just until the last rider arrived at the truck downhill and the road was open for cars again. It was very nice and relaxing for us just going at our speed. We felt comfortable and then some boys also joined in with our little slide session.The day after we’ve been at the black part (new pavement) of Margériaz again. I had the feeling like I should give it a try, just the thought gave me palpitation and it also scared me a little, because it was quite steep and fast… (the boys hit 80 km/h and the instructor 100 km/h) especially after my experience at KNK…

Everyone told me KNK would be perfect spot to learn sliding and freeriding, so I believed and I tried it 2 times… SOMEHOW I came to 12 Corners in two runs, but I think I have no other words, like most of it was like hell or a very bad nightmare… I haven’t skated down any hill for one year, and a year ago I definitely called myself a bloody beginner. I had never skated an entire track, like freeriding, I did’t feel save to do any save slides and the tip foot breaking the whole KNK track also ended up like an empty hope…

I felt as if I was going to crash and crash and keep crashing; which is a part of skating, sometimes a slides worked out, I wouldn’t mind all the crashes, failing is a big part of learning, but with »FUCK! FUCK! FUCK, I AM WAAAAY TOOOOO FAST ALREADY… FUUUUUUCK! … I am going to killing myself…! how to slide now?!« I was extremely tense and filled with dread. Being last down the hill also meant that the bus was on my tail; not pushing me too much, but the pressure was there, and then knowing that the event was waiting for it at the bottom to come up for the next runs also put so much pressure on me. It was too much stress with the not-knowing-how-to-come-down-safely that I decided, with a heavy heart, to not skate it any more and try again on a more suitable hill that fit my skill level… it was pretty hard and I was quite angry with quitting until I accepted, that it wasn‘t really the best spot for me to begin again.

At Margériaz, one year after, the bad experiences from KNK popped up in my mind so I asked the instructors whether I should give it a go or not. I also told Tamara about my idea skating the black part (new pavement) and she also liked the plan, so I took the risk and went last. That experience was so incredible for me, especially after KNK. For some reason I felt so confident and happy, and I wasn‘t filled with fear, I just felt respect for the road. I  knew when I was getting too fast, I could slide. Not all slides worked perfectly, but from slide to slide I noticed what I could do better to finally understand the pendy.

It was such an awesome feeling; just me and the road. I really enjoyed that I was on my own, disturbing no one, it was just being at peace…

I wasn‘t sure how long the track was until the last rider passed and waited for me in front of the last sweeper and we skated down together. Domi, the organizer of Woodwings was there waiting and took a picture.

The photo that captured it by Dominiek Grauls / Camp Woodwings

I crawled in the truck SUPER stoked and full of happy feelings – I (still) can’t put it into words! It felt a little weird, because most of the boys were so much faster and already so much more experienced with the track, that it wouldn‘t be such a big step for them just skating it down, like it was for me, but I had some boys to share my stoke with (thanks to Felix and Wout!). I watched the road while we were going uphill with such a BIG, HUGE smile on my face, because I almost couldn‘t believe that I skated THIS fucking loooong track. I did, I did, I did and it was awesome!

I skated it one more time, even if I already felt a little weak and tired, but it was so great again! I also successfully did two pendys and was so proud! The last skater, saw it too; damn, normally if I feel watched nothing works for some reasons, so it was my icing on the cake that it did!

Skating the track was definitely one of the best experiences of the year for me, I will keep this moment in my heart, when I outgrew myself with all the progress from pushing and motivating myself until the fact that I skated my very first big track and that this was just the beginning.

Written by Maria Arndt

Maria Arndt

About Maria

Maria is a graphic designer and photographer and started the photo project Girls in Longboarding 2014 and S*pin 2015, she’s also co-founded GRRRLS* can skate, organizes with her crew the GRRRLS* Skate Fest in Bielefeld and is a part of the Women’s Longboard Camp.

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Maria's Freeride Setup

Deck   Loaded Tesseract

Trucks    180mm Caliber 44°

Bushings    Blood Orange and Sabre

Wheels   Landyachtz Fatty Hawgs 70mm 78a

Bearings    Reds

Pucks    Ojoom Pucks

Helmet    TSG Pass

Maria's Dance Setup

Deck   Custom made by TD Longboards

Trucks   180mm Cast Precision .V2 Kahalani 50°

Bushings board side    Riptide WFB 83a Barrels

Bushings road side    90a Venom Barrels

Wheels   Mini Ozone 65mm 80a

Bearings   Reds

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