Words: Jake Grove Photos: Khaleeq Alfred & Jake Grove
On the side of a mountain, in the california of canada, sits a long and winding road; one that’s steeping corners and towering trees bounce rider’s back and forth through its forest terrain. We’re talking about Giant’s Head; one of the raddest freeride events we’ve come across, located in the paradise town of Summerland, B.C., and attracting a wide range of skaters from across the globe. We’ve been hitting up the giant’s head freeride for a few years now, and although it’s changed along with the rest of skateboarding, we’re still stoked on how it goes down. Past years held a wider range of obstacles; kickers, launch ramps, banks, and massive wall rides–giving more of a border-cross vibe–however this year the event was a tad bit mellower and held no manmade features; only those gifted to us by brotha’ nature. That said, the course is still insanely fun on its own, riders brave enough hit dirt wall rides and shortcut trails, and hundreds of riders maneuvered through pinecone and gravel smothered corners, with smiles showing and wheels a glowin’.
Summerland is already an amazing place; a warm summer escape nestled into the heart of British Columbia, there are berries a plenty and a following of hippies to go along. The golden sun kisses the winding vines of the plentiful wineries, as the towering trees of Giants Head mountain survey it all, and the tourists kick back in their luxury hotels… And then us skaters come into the picture; Tim Horton’s becomes a home for wifi-poaching dirty skate rats, the rodeo grounds turn into a raging party-ground, and the lake takes on butt-naked belly flops galore.
We we’re stoked to see so many familiar faces on the mountain, and to see the skate scene holding strong. No matter what happens, events like Giant’s head show the true stoke of skating and what it’s all about; sketchy pack runs, pinecone throws to the face, and organized chaos bringing out smiles in young and old, experienced and new.
There was so much going on throughout the three day event, it’s hard to even remember it all. What started as a sponsored and organized event turned into so much more; with so many skaters cooped up in a small vacation town, lake swims, skatepark sessions, and bellyflop challenges popped up in abundance throughout the full week. At every turn, restaurant, and store you’d find familiar skaters and new faces alike. It was a skater’s vacation–with the family of two-hundred plus, no rules, and a board to slash every bit of it.
We watched and shot as all of it went down and were truly impressed by how much the skate scene came together for this one. The organizers did a great job of getting the word out, and getting everything setup; including uhaul rides up, safety nets around the cliffs, and corner marshal’s with brooms to keep the corners full of gravel and pinecones at all times. They took an event and made it mellow, yet even more fun; a freeride means riding free–few rules, regulations, or interferences–of course other than those that actually keep us alive. The hundreds of riders would swarm down the hill at any given time, racers in the front holding tuck, freeriders behind slippin’ slides, and others trailing–carving, wiggling, and hitting the dirt embankments; or at least trying.
That was the first few days, however the final day grew a little more eventful. A race down the mountain was formed, and riders took on each other in a head to head battle to maneuver turns, mob through gravel, and avoid pinecones to the face by fellow riders/spectators.
The infamous “pinecone corner” filled full of spectators, and although riders went on “strike” up at the top for a few minutes and organizers stressed that the road could not be filled with pinecones during the race, the wave of people continuously refilled the road of these obstacles, and when that wasn’t enough, began popping, dropping, and tossing pinecones into the rider’s faces themselves. Even so, everyone was super hyped and racing became a battle of who could tuff it out and make it through the jumbled mess, instead of who always had the cleanest line or best tuck.
Racing continued this way, and as more riders got knocked out of their brackets, they transitioned into tossing the pinecones at those that beat them out. Rivalry is always best addressed by a shirt full of pinecones and a motive to make them crash… of course in a “clean-ish” manner.
The race went on, and more and more riders either fell behind, or off the road, and the final heats were formed. Ross Druckrey, Laine Jackart and Dillon Stephens were out front and made their way into the last few heats and then through Finals. After heated racing and over-the-top levels of stoked from the debris-tossing crowd, Dillon made his way out front, and Laine followed behind nearly as fast. Ross took third place with a heavy grin and Sean Young was later crowned Giant’s head MVP, and was also the most stoked through the week.
Giant’s Head lived up to its reputation and the organizers put on a killer event, with a bit of a change from years prior. Nonetheless, hundreds of skaters made their way out for their annual Canadian vacation getaway, and good times were had by all. We’re stoked to once again cover such a Rootsy and Radical event, and can’t wait until next year’s.
The skate family is holding strong, and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, as long as we share the love for the board and the stoke for the shred! Until next time, keep it classy Canada!Thank You’s: We’d like to thank everyone who made this event possible—The event organizers, staff, and volunteers, the city of Summerland, the rodeo grounds for having us as campers, and everyone else who gave a helping hand. This event was presented by Landyachtz Longboards, and sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon and they helped keep it alive. Striker got everyone hyped and made it out in his RV, with some sparkling coast medals, and kept the party going. Thanks for holding it down on the mic and crackin’ jokes all weekend long! Bustin came through with a lunchtime lake launch ramp, and got riders stoked on launch-ramp front-flips, as well as all around chill lake breaks. Big thanks to everyone who managed to keep some form of clothes on through the weekend, and an even bigger thanks to those that talked the nudies into at least belly flopping butt-naked. Also, thanks to Timmy Horton’s for letting us poach your wifi and get our media uploaded and keep our ig feeds fresh. Everyone that made the trip to canada and registered for the event kept the scene strong, and proved downhill is still alive! Thanks to everyone for coming out and keeping it rad! Until next year!