For the past five years, Matt Macduff has been one of the very best mountain bike street riders in the world. And while he’s a hero to the small subset of die hard street riders, he’s not yet a household name to most mountain bikers. Maybe they’ve seen one of his collaborations with Mind Spark Cinema - Dreams
or Project Breathe Easy
- but to most he’s just a brakeless nut job, or worse: a complete unknown.
Matt Macduff, 24, splits his time between Toronto, Montreal, Barcelona, and a tiny hamlet in Nova Scotia known as Brookfield. There’s a property in Brookfield owned by Jay and Kelley Leil which contains the most progressive riding zone in the world, designed and built by Macduff. The Sanctuary of Fun (SOF) is a Willy Wonka-esque fantasy land of loop de loops and seemingly impossible angles. There are stunts here that exist nowhere else on earth, although we’ve seen some of Macduff’s older designs recreated on other slopestyle courses.
|I owe so much to Jay Leil for believing in me and giving me a place to bring my dreams to life. Without Jay I don't know if I would have ever had the chance to express my creativity and become the rider I am today. I am forever thankful to him and his wife Kelley. |
Macduff is an innovator in a sport that typically sees incremental changes. The old paradigm of building things slightly farther, steeper, and taller seems quaint in the age of Fest. We’re seeing riders trick freestyle motocross sized jumps, but where’s the creativity? What separates freeride from FMX? Macduff’s vision for the sport seems to defy the laws of physics and he mentioned needing NASA astronaut training to ride the features he’s got planned - literally, he’s worried about the potential of blacking out from the g-force while riding.
|I dream up and design everything, but things are getting so large that it takes someone with real structural knowledge to make sure everything is safe and solid. When it comes to anything wood I leave it in the hands of my best friend Marc-Andre 'Marshall' Locat. He is so dedicated and passionate in everything he builds, I wouldn't trust my life to anyone else.|
|Building with such a creative and freestyle person like Matt is really funny. He imagines crazy stuff and will look at me and just be like 'Yeah man, let's find a way to build it!' Then we will sketch out his idea, and look for a spot in the woods where it could fit. After he starts the excavator, you know things are happening and you're gonna be working 10-12 hour days of freestyle building!|
Marc-Andre Locat, builder
Macduff’s riding kit is less ‘professional mountain bike athlete’ than it is ‘extra in Waterworld
.’ He looks as if he came from a dystopian future to teach us what’s possible on a mountain bike. He looks like the guy your parents wouldn’t let your sister date, or the dude at the centre of every mosh pit at your local dive bar. Macduff, however, is one of the warmest and most instantly likeable humans I’ve ever met. He’s so genuinely enthusiastic about the life he lives that he can’t help but be happy to be alive. One of his favourite lines is, ‘’Best day of my life!’’ And I heard it spoken multiple times, un-ironically, during the shoot. Outside of Brett Tippie, Macduff is the most enthusiastic ambassador for cycling that I’ve met.
|The Claw has always been a hero, but Danny Way inspired a lot of what I've done at SOF. The man is one of the most creative and dedicated dudes in action sports history. Tough as nails, his builds always blew me away! The man defied the odds and dreamed so big he created his own sport (Mega Ramp contests). I don't so much feel a responsibility to 'push the sport' as I feel a deeper calling and burning desire to push my own limits. I am just haunted by my own potential, and if I don't answer, I don't sleep.|
On our final day of shooting Matt pulled off one of the most impressive moves I’ve ever seen on a bike. It took him several run ins and a few anxious moments, but he prevailed. I asked how he overcame the fear: ’’Sometimes when I get scared, I just think - What would Zink do?’’ We all know what Zink would do, he’d call his shot and stomp the biggest, baddest move in his path. What we don’t know is what a brakeless street rider from small town Ontario will come up with next. If money and time were no object, what would Macduff do?
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