If you have hung out with me in the past few months, you have undoubtably heard me talking about Nitro City Resort in Panama. From the Nitro Circus umbrella, Travis Pastrana and Red Bull North America’s, Hayes Wheeless bring you an action sports resort beyond our wildest dreams.

“Picture a resort on a peninsula that’s an hour away from everything, quiet, with good food and normal girlfriend or wife stuff to do,” Pastrana says. “But if you want to skydive or ride motocross or use the cable park, you can do that, too.”*

Kite, wake, motocross, surf, windsurf, resort massage, 5 star dinner, some r&r in your chosen action sport themed room, repeat. Just heavenly.

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I originally heard about the resort from my partner in Blowme Clothing, who runs Sirlin Enterprises as he has done all the graphics for the resort, from the boat decals to the tees. Josh has already booked his stay for September and it is clear I should probably follow in his footsteps. According to Josh, “you drop your girlfriend off at the pool and go play!”

The resort is described by the website as being the ‘closest white, sandy beach to Panama City.’* Equipped with luxurious beachfront rooms, two restaurants and a bar, a waterfront pool with waterslide, a motocross track, an extreme water sports center and a cable park it is clearly a resort for both worlds. It is Club Med, for adrenaline addicts. When can we get our fix?

According to Hayes Wheeless’s Twitter (Red Bull America and co-founder of the resort), the resort is almost done construction and on the brink of being public ready. I can hear the excitement building just among the kiteboarding pro community as I cover the Rosham Throwdown this week in Hood River.

“Tell me when it is open and I will book my trip tomorrow,” Slingshot pro rider and South east rep for wake and kite, Matthew Sexton replies excitedly to hearing about the resort for the time yesterday. He turns to the line of pros beside him, “who is in?” I spread the word to Jason Slezak and Sam Bell of Real Kiteboarding (on Liquid Force and Naish pro team consecutively), ‘you in boys?’ Nothing but thumbs from the kiteboarding front lines.

As I peruse through the Nitro City Facebook I see nothing but upcoming events in all the action sport disciplines. Wake dayz, Kite-cross, and notably past: Travis Pastrama skydiving in to announce the upcoming opening (http://www.youtube.com/v/7ZqToVVpqVQ?version=3). My gosh, the excitement is so high I can barely type this. And the room rates, all very affordable:

Preparing to get my adrenaline fix in Panama City as we speak…

*http://espn.go.com/action/fmx/news/story?page=travis-pastrana-rama-part-6&campaign=rss&source=ACTIONHeadlines
*Nitrocitypanama.com

Tunes for this post: Benny Benassi

 

words by Jenna Hannon, media by Noah Lewkow

It is Friday in April and I solidified the Trifecta. Team manager of Arbor boards, Noah Lewkow, and myself have committed to completing three board sports all in one day (why biathlon is in the Olympics and not this is beyond me). We will start by snowboarding, then skateboard and finish with a surf; all materials supplied by Arbor.

I meet Noah at the corner of 4th and Ocean Park at 6:30 am to load up his Matrix with every action sport tool Arbor carries (all but the surfboards at this point). I open his hatch back to two Arbor 2011 snowboards (the Draft and the Westmark), 2 Arbor cruiser skates, and 2 Arbor skateboards with a Christmas morning glow. After a few minutes of trunk Tetris, we are on our way for some caffeine and the carpool to Mountain High in hopes of first lift (G.N.A.R. points!).

Some Chromeo, Rusko, and new Britney Spears later, sure enough we arrive right on schedule at Mountain High to 60 degrees and sunny. The parking lot looks more like a college football BBQ as fellow riders throw on t-shirts, tank tops and baseball caps. Noah and I set right to work assembling bindings on the boards, deciding which board we want to play on first. I go for the Draft.

Despite my popular review of the Draft in 2009 (my most read blog post to date), I have actually never ridden this craft. It is something I have learned way too much about, got way too stoked about, and never got the chance to hop on. So, to say the least, my expectations were exceedingly Nostradamus.

I set my sumo stance and we were on the lift just shy of first chair (no G.N.A.R. points) and the Draft was going to get it. Poppy, smooth, and light; a noodle yet speed chatter stiff, I think the Draft is just as I expected. This is not paid rhapsody or rhetoric, this is one damn fine snowboard.

I must give the snowboard world props for the exponential increase in technology and innovation. The last 5 years has seen a remarkable increase in the thought and technological application in building snowboards. Rocker, magnatraction, capped tips, serrated edges; Snowboard manufacturers have been laying on the sauce thick with competition to become market leaders steep.

I recall my first Rossingnol in 2001 as a laminated plank with flames on it. Now, I am gliding on several different types of wood, Grip Tech, reverse camber and popping off everything in sight at simplistic ease. now time to trade Noah and compare the Arbor Westmark.

Damn, this is smooth too. With a bit more stability, not solely due to a slight difference in length, the Westmark has equal amounts of pop with the versatility of all mountain riding. Feel free to straight line this piece of equipment at any time down any run. Just a glorious snow sled and by 12:30, Noah and I are equally worked and ready for round two.

Flash two hours later and Noah and I are sitting in Library Ale House on main street sipping afternoon IPAs and reds jamming down some well deserved calories. It is time to skate. We are off to the new Venice Park off the boardwalk for the busiest time of day to get in our skate sesh. This is Noah’s domain, as I witness 5 second intervals of ‘hey bro’s’ within a 500m radius of the park.

“I really need some shades,” announces Noah as we step out into the 75 degree sun. Hello Los Angeles summer and welcome. We will now commence skating.

I am way out of my element at the Venice skatepark. First of all, I am wearing short shorts and snowboard socks as I failed to plan for this activity accordingly, forgetting my jeans on my bedroom floor at 6 am. That and I don’t skate the Venice park due to the take-a-number and wait for your bowl run, which applies to all but rippers and snakers. I bro down with two Oxnard boys, Rilan and Austin, on ‘daycation’ and two inspiring female riders, Olmi-Jay and Jennifer, while waiting my turn on the bowl deck. Warming up or finding a line is next to impossible at five minute wait time intervals, although watching all the locals thrash this mini bowl is worth it.

By the time we left the park we were sweaty and pretty much exhausted. But we were not stopping until we had completed the Trifecta. As we went for the surf, we noticed there was a bit of a lack of swell. Although a cooling sunset surf did sound pretty tasty at the moment. The trouble was really just the fact that getting a wetsuit on a sweaty body is a circuit workout in itself— training your fingers and fore arms. Noah sounded like he was dualing in Wimbledon trying to get that thing on. It was a solid 5 minutes clocked to wetsuit application; but we were off. We grabbed some Firewire demos from the Arbor shop and headed for the pier— just walking distance from the Arbor flagship on Washington in Venice.

My arms felt like they were going to fall off by the time I got past the break. Not because it was firing, but rather with a 5:30 am start and two activities prior you tend to be running short of empty. The promise of the Arbor rooftop beer was the only thing that kept us paddling really. And by a few waves and a solid hour in the water, we were ready for accomplishment brew. Well played team, well played.

Thank you to Noah Lewkow and Arbor for supplying all the gear for the Friday Trifecta.

Arbor Collective

Cool shit shout out

A lot of great things come from Canada. Myself. Canadian Bacon. John Candy who stars in the film named after our famous bacon. Maple syrup; as with one drop you turn ham into Canadian Bacon. Oh, and the great natural, uninhabited outdoors. And for those, Shwood made us these fine shades to blend right in.

http://www.shwoodshop.com/collection_canby_zebrawood.html

 

Let’s be honest, when it comes to our snow sports we love to s*** talk. Bragging is a good portion of the fun and when your friends go big so do you. Lucky for us, the engineers of the world have taken bragging rights one-step farther in making your accomplishments stats. You can’t argue with facts and neither can your barefaced friends. So if your friend says he went bigger and you question, you can now consult the ShadowBox.

The ShadowBox is a small device that you can attach to your skis or board (or really any action sport toy including wakeboards, windsurfboards, kiteboards and even more to come that records your speed, location, acceleration, jump height, jump distance, hang time, g- forces, exact object angles, rotation degrees, spin rates, and (because I am out of breathe I will end this vaguely) much, much more. In a nutshell, the Shadow box takes your “session” and records ALL the data allowing you to later view on the device itself or to upload it onto your computer. And get this; once it is uploaded you are able to see every detail of your performance in 3D (known in Shadowbox terms as the Ridetracker).

shaunmurraywakeWhether you are training for competition or just determined to beat your friends the ShadowBox has the technology to show you every little detail. There is even a link to see where you did it by clicking on Google Earth based on GPS and an exact magnetic sensor measuring latitude and longitude. On my investigative search to find out more on this amazing device I managed to contact brand manager, Dan Meyers. Dan gave me the complete lowdown of the product and some background on how he got involved with such a…well random…new product.

Dan is an Oregon native who loves to surf, ski and snowboard. And it is exactly this love that led him to the company. He has actually been on ‘board’ with the company alongside engineer, Joe Van Niekerk, from the very beginning with development starting over two years ago.

Dan recalls the original idea for the product quite simply; even though its beginnings were developed from a different product that they originally worked with. Dan and Joe originally developed the WakeKite (www.wakekite.com), which combines wakeboarding and kitesurfing using a boat. One day when Joe and Dan were out testing and jumping with the WakeKite, Joe looked intriguingly at the jumps and said, “Hey, I can build something that will measure that!” and soon there after the ShadowBox was born.

Joe Van Niekerk (the mighty engineer behind it) graduated from the masters program at Stanford in mechanical and electrical engineering with a specialization in robotics. Although, he never lost his love for the extreme and alternative and when it came to combining the two it was only natural. Dan describes the invention as the result of Joe’s “super brilliance.”

shadowsnowFor the two boys, the invention of the Shadowbox was about using science to build something to help athletes excel in their arena as well as to create a more analytical understanding of the sports that reach outside the mainstream arena. They had never seen a product like it and through development they knew they could make it work. When asked to explain such a complex product to me Dan breaks it down (and this is literally the broken down version) saying “The product works through a form of “sensor fusion,” recording every aspect of a board’s movement through gyroscopes, magnetometers, accelerometers, a pressure sensor and GPS module, all fitting into a device about the size of a deck of cards and weighing less than a quarter pound.” Basically, “The ShadowBox paints a precise picture of any riders’ session.”

Rusty 1080_Spin Rate!!!With this technology in the scope of skiing, snowboarding, wakeboarding, kiteboarding, and surfing, the accuracy of the activity and its motions become more clearly understood from a theoretical perspective. As Dan explains this notion, “It allows you to see the performance on your board at any given moment in time.  And not only can you see the exact trick that is being pulled from any position, you can see the full science behind it.  What was the speed, edge angle, spin rate and g-force approach that allowed you to pull that 720 tail grab?  Hit “pause” and see exactly what’s going on at the critical moment of pop during the trick.  Switch to a different ski or board and see how the stats change and why.  Sure you went faster, but how come you couldn’t pull that backside flip with the same results as before?  Which ski or board allowed you to accelerate out of the turn and sustain the most speed into the jump? The analysis tools in Ridetracker let you dissect your ride and your equipment like no other tool in history…and the future only gets richer.”  The implication for training, competition, R&D and just adding plain fun to multiple sports is clear.

I agree, in that this possibility is a bit overwhelming at first. Why would I need to know this data? Well for many athletes this level of analysis may be insignificant but for the top athletes and their trainers the slightest insight into improvement can completely change their performance. Dan is right. What if you knew what little details could change your performance? What if you could see all the details to know why you continue to miss a trick or fall in a certain way?

For me, the Shadowbox not only screamed ‘cool nerdy gadget’ but also a tool in injury prevention. Having the knowledge to ride more efficiently and understand your motion could aid in knowing how to land when you know you aren’t going to, well, land correctly. And as I mentioned at the beginning of this article, think of the bragging rights? Dan mentioned that upcoming software upgrades will allow you to “compare your trick to a pro” or “overlay one of your own tricks to your friends and others for detecting deviation.” Making it scientifically proven that you are kicking a**!  Virtual coaching software and the ability to create events using the ShadowBox are also rumored on the way.

Mike Hasse 36.3 feet in the Gorge_Winner at AWSI

When I first started to discuss the product with Dan about four months ago, I was intrigued by who the market would be. I knew it would be an excellent training tool but I was not sure how they planned to get the word out. Although, Dan explained that they have already worked with professional wakeboarders, kiteboarders and windsurfers, including Shaun Murray, Rusty Malinoski (wake), Shawn Richman, Jacob Buzianis, Julien Fillion, Oliver Palmers (kite) and Kai Lenny, Levi Silver, Andre Paskowski, and Dave White (windsurf), to name just a few. He also mentioned that The ShadowBox is currently being tested by the US Ski Team and US Snowboarding to evaluate performance. On the ShadowBox website there is a quote from Troy Flanagan, Director of Sport Science for the organization, USSA (US Ski Association and US Snowboarding) stating that “the US Ski Team and US Snowboarding are very excited about the potential impact of the Shadowbox technology on our performances.  We are currently trialing the system for possible integration into our daily training.  Athletes and coaches love feedback and this has the potential to be the ultimate performance analysis tool”. Meaning we can only sit tight to see how the use of the device will change the way athletes prepare for competition in their sport. It is clear that with such talent on board there must be more than just a spark of interest.

The ShadowBox may or may not be the future of athletic training, but for all us enthusiasts (and rightful braggers) it is an intriguing product to say the least. I look forward to hearing more about its usages in board and action sports as my personal interest still flourishes the more I discuss it. I first heard of the device about a year ago from my good friend and fellow kiteboarder Mike Haase (who sold me my 2009 kites) who won the Shadowbox in a kite competition in Hood River, Oregon. Since this inception I have seen the product move into skiing, wakeboarding, snowboarding, windsurfing, and who knows where it will go next? With a continually flowing out reach I may just have to buy the ShadowBox or just some stock when the company goes public!

For more information go to http://www.shadowboxlive.com/

Disclaimer words from Dan as well:

For those of you already convinced, at the time of this article, I do want to say that all ShadowBox products are presently sold out due to extraordinarily high demand.  Yes, you can place your pre-order now, get in line, and be the first to receive a box when new inventory arrives.  I also have it on good authority that by then a whole new software suite will be released specific to skiing and snowboarding!  At the present time skiing and snowboarding are not official recording modes on the ShadowBox, although the box works well in recording your ride nonetheless.  The company is hard at work on new software for skiing and snowboarding, getting test data and feedback from its contacts in the industry.

 

Board Review: The Arcane Wakesurfer

by Jenna Hannon

The Arcane. Designed and created by trusted lead Slingshot board shaper Tony Logosz for the ideal wake surf session. Designed with a small fish shape but without the thinkness the board is built for a stable ride on and off the boat wake.

What’s unique about this ride is that you can use it on waves and on your wake. It is also ideal for many different size riders. Did I mention the really cool shape by Slingshot designer and shaper Tony Logoz. Oh right I did.

I am a very positive person but sometimes you have to tell the good, the bad, and the ugly. And in this case I have a bit of a dark opinion on the Arcane. Maybe its my wakestyle preference but for me the ride should be a light and buttery experience back there.

If you are buying a wake surfboard chances are you own all the toys. Meaning you probably have your regular surf quiver for waves and all the necessities that boat fun requires (wakeboard, wakeskate, outrageous airtube, and possibly the air chair). So if you are this type of customer you want something specific to the activity. Therefore you are not going to be mad if your wakesurfer does not surf (presumably).

The Arcane’s selling stick is that it can ride real waves and boat waves. Which in my opinion is completely uneccassary. They also have shaped the board like a small fish (easy to get up on while fast and mobile while up). For a wakesurf most of these qualities are also unnecessary. For one you don’t need to worry about getting up so that is out of the picture and most of all you are not really looking for a fast ride (you have nowhere to go but the back bumper). What you want in a wakesurf is a butter board that is mobile. You want to be able to grind the peak, pull surface 3’s, and carve quickly with no need for epic switchbacks but rather quick carves. Moral, the Arcane is not designed for this.

For light rider’s like myself a great option is a skim board. It is squirrelly, in which, in this rare case is super fun. Although the skim board is not very poppy (and will snap in half if you are over 140lbs), so may I recommend the Hyperlite Broadcast. It is small and mobile with pop. Perfection.

So all and all the Arcane is cool, no doubt. But not exactly built for purpose. I love Slingshot and associates (Lance Koudele photography and Tony Logosz) but they didn’t nail this one in my mind. If you disagree, that’s fine. Fight me.

Overall Rating: Two unenthusiastic eyelash bats and the stink eye. Although I proudly support Slingshot especially their freestyle kiteboards. But hey you can’t win em all…remember the Slingshot Link (point exactly).

Slingshot Presents “The Arcane” from Slingshot Sports Wake on Vimeo.

 

 

 

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