Throwback Thursday: Matt Hunter's 'Impossible' Corner

Jul 15, 2021
by James Smurthwaite  
Matt Hunter enjoying bicycle riding.

When Sterling Lorence posted this incredible photo on April 28 2014, it's safe to say it turned a lot of heads. Not only was Matt Hunter cornering almost completely horizontally, but he was doing so on 29" wheels, something that the detractors at that time said was impossible on a wheel size that was supposedly awful for going round turns.

The photo was taken on one of Sterling's annual trips to Kamloops to visit Matt and plot out some photos. This wasn't about shooting a particular product or campaign, simply producing some stoke-inducing imagery. He said, "There was no assignment, it was simply doing what we wanted on something that we hadn’t tried before. This kind of pure freedom of creativity always provides good results."

The shot was captured on a gulley trail on the Kamloops Bike Ranch created by local builder Brad Stuart. After seeing Matt ride through it, Sterling spent some time lugging over a lighting set up, getting everything tuned in and then 15-20 attempts later the shot was captured. For all the photography nerds, Sterling shot this on a Canon 1D Mark IV with a Canon 24-70 mm f/2.8 lens, 1/640th of a second at f5.6, ISO 50 and there were 3 lighting strobes striking Matt.

The photo dropped to equal parts admiration and disbelief, comments on the original picture included, "Photoshop, blow up the pic and looks like cut lines from another pic", "That's an awesome pic, all it is though [is] just three layers. 1. The background picture 2. The guy on the bike (rotated) 3. The foreground," and "Photoshop or an epic bail.... but I'm leaning towards Photoshop."

However, that disbelief went way beyond the Pinkbike comments, Sterling told us:

bigquotesThis photo by far created more of a buzz than any other image that I have shot, simply for the fact that people couldn’t believe Matt’s flat positioning. I had brand managers, owners and riders of huge bike companies all asking me about the validity of the image. Folks that see images constantly were taken aback. To me, it is the ultimate compliment we could receive, to hear that a key artist in our industry thought it was fake. The fact that Matt and I were able to create an image that expressed beyond a person's ability to believe in it, is simply fantastic. My goal as a mountain bike photographer is exactly that…try and floor you all in stoke, as much as possible.

To prove its authenticity, Matt and Sterling had an ace up their sleeve. It wasn't just Sterling that was shooting in Kamloops with Matt but Anthill Films too. Posted a week after the original photo, this clip was titled 'Getting the Shot' on Pinkbike and 'Matt Hunter Goes Around a Corner on a Bicycle' by Specialized on YouTube.

Views: 379,553    Faves: 1,285    Comments: 45


That video took Video of the Day then the photo later took Photo of the Day, Photo of the Month and finished second to Photo of the Year only to Christoph Laue's incredible composition from Chatel. Not bad for a morning's work.

It s all about the moment in sport photography - Photo Christoph Laue
Christoph Laue took the top prize in the 2014 Photo of the Year but Sterling's shot still took second and a cheque for $3,000



146 Comments

  • 507 18
 Ah, when pinkbike was free and good
  • 104 2
 Down with the Bourgeoisie!
  • 155 2
 I haven't paid for anything yet, other than giving my bank info to a friendly Nigerian in need.
  • 43 1
 This is gonna be so good! Wont get old for months. Let the people speak! Sock it to the man! Also commit your new alliance to Vital bit meanwhile spend more time on PB checking all the sarcasm.
  • 52 1
 @slumgullion: My Nigerian friend said he was going to send a 2022 Stumpy Evo. What are you getting?
  • 1 0
 @PTyliszczak: man mine was from Indonesia
  • 2 1
 @valleytroll: dont forget to sign up for your vitalmtb every other mtb pack month for $50, lol
  • 1 0
 @atourgates: Bastille day was yesterday
  • 8 0
 @slumgullion: that's weird all my friend says is that my extended warrenty is expired
  • 4 0
 PB cannot say they did not expect this reaction from an already heavily critical comment section
  • 10 0
 i dont pay for anything, neither youtube nor strava. They all want you f....g money. My internet has always been free and always be.... btw 2 adverts on youtube is f......g annoying but I go on!
  • 4 2
 Every article we need to upvote the revolution to the top comment, regardless of what the article was about!
  • 3 0
 @Joeysolo: Get ublock origin, then you won't see YouTube ads
  • 2 0
 @mnorris122: Or just use Brave browser
  • 1 1
 @mnorris122: I watch YT on my C9 OLED so the adds are not possible to block.... still worth it though compared to having my phone 3" from my face.
  • 1 0
 @atourgates: Vive la révolution!
  • 2 0
 Everything everywhere is advertising already. Now it will be extra obvious on PB
  • 1 0
 Did i miss something here???
  • 3 0
 Never mind, found it….welp, its been fun everyone. I guess see ya at the lot for the post work shuttle.
  • 2 0
 @DBone95: Make a recursive DNS with a raspberry pi and pihole. Set the TVs DNS to that.
  • 1 0
 @Joeysolo: I caved and subscribed to YT premium due to the amount of content i watch and hatred for ads. Add in the fact they now have 3 ads in a row multiple times in a 10 min video... They know what they're doing. Also the bs fact that you cannot play vids if the video isn't on the screen. Such a stupid feature to disable...
  • 1 0
 @brandonschuh: Holy moly, I know you're speaking English, but it looks like Chinese! In all seriousness, thanks for that, I will do some googling because I watch 90% of my content on the TV and the adds are super annoying.
  • 2 0
 @stumphumper92: You get YouTube music with it too. I prefer it over Spotify
  • 1 0
 @PTyliszczak: A subscription to Outside+, I think????
  • 1 0
 @Kevinjones62: lol thanks
  • 1 0
 @Joeysolo: try adblock on the web browser. It's a godsend. I always get anoyed when watching on the TV or the smartphone.
  • 334 4
 Waiting patiently for the Friday Fails opening sequence showing PB casing the jump to Outside.
  • 26 0
 Gold
  • 26 0
 And get to watch a teaser 30 seconds free
  • 19 0
 Or wiping out on a paywall ride 'cause they approached it with too much speed.
  • 16 0
 Maybe we can pay for double upvotes for the premium comments like this one.
  • 8 0
 @Mattysville: Yeah, use your PB Gold to upvote and lose your PB Gold if you get downvoted! Every up/downvote is worth a PB Coin.
  • 2 5
 Hahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahahahabababaaaahahahahahaahhahaaaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaaaaahahahahahahahahahahahhaaaahahahaaa! you win the interwebbs today.
  • 1 0
 @SHREDWORX:

Pinkbike 2.0 should also launch with an ICO!
  • 1 0
 I thought that's what this weeks opening sequence was. Looked similar, at least.
  • 195 3
 This is neat and all, but when are we gonna see some hard hitting journalism on 7 Must Have Gadgets That Every Mountain Biker Needs? Come on Outside. Get your shit together.
  • 15 1
 Top ten mud tyres for winter is pretty interesting too
  • 18 0
 easy with this, I'm eating lunch right now and its becoming hard to keep the food down
  • 45 1
 Top 17 Must Have Things PR Agencies Sent Us This Month
  • 20 1
 But GMBN already has that covered for free
  • 41 0
 @n734535: top 10 reasons why I’m not watching GMBN
  • 2 2
 You're missing out on great articles on MTBR of Top 5 lists. Written by Pulitzer prize winner Fancis Cebedo.
  • 5 0
 @the-one1: Good example of a community in shambles after a corporate buy-over.
  • 6 0
 Top 10 reasons why Outside is better than GMBN, yet everybody still left for Vital
  • 7 0
 @suspended-flesh: No, I think we were like this before the takeover already.
  • 1 0
 @Upduro: 1-9 are that one dude's face.
  • 3 0
 I was kinda on the wait and see side of the fence, but this morning in my google feed thingy, an Outside article popped up which was "I went camping as my Dungeons and Dragons character"... That said, wasn't behind a paywall...
  • 1 0
 @Dangerous-daveo: haha I've noticed that when I went to Outside's page to see what crap they were trying to sell over there. Facepalmed hard. And that was under the "7 dog training tricks that work on humans", not even kidding.
  • 108 3
 You can't fake culture, once you destroy it, it's gone for good. Big conglomerates destroy culture. Good luck.
  • 27 0
 Ten pinkbike points to you sir
  • 1 0
 isn't that what that Stumpy commercial is about? That, and riding in Crocks.
  • 82 0
 Seems fitting to be reliving the glory days in the twilight of PB
  • 48 5
 6 months we will go the above to this: www.outsideonline.com/culture/food/how-to-become-an-awesome-vegetarian-cook

Vegan suspension tune advice coming our way
  • 26 1
 I, for one, only used the finest free range organic fork seals.
  • 4 0
 @emarquar: bamboo tubed full sus review coming soon too
  • 6 0
 @emarquar: I prefer to go through rescue organizations. #adoptdontshop
  • 10 0
 Being vegan plant based an mtb Gravity competitive rider is compatible, you lose weight, gain flexibility and increase strength
  • 7 0
 I Just had a scan through following your link…. Outside is so shit
  • 4 0
 Coconut oil chain lube review???
  • 1 0
 @dadunc205x:

Better than PTFE, which is a forever chemical!
  • 5 0
 Beta magazine is probably working on that already, but it’s hard to fit it in between their social justice articles.
  • 39 0
 Keith Wilson built that trail. It is a part of the XC loop in the Bike ranch and was used in the National Championships about a decade ago. I know that corner well, as I (and many others) have tried to emulate Matt’s laid out turn but none of us could even come close.
  • 36 0
 Pitted
  • 13 0
 So pitted.
  • 34 0
 just smack the lip like WUPAAHH!
  • 8 0
 WAPAH
  • 4 1
 Getting shacked.
  • 34 2
 Insert mandatory paywall comment
  • 10 0
 Outside auctioning off NFT of original image to support trial access
  • 1 0
 @dadunc205x: don’t give them any ideas!
  • 29 0
 It's the body positioning, he is so freaking relaxed it makes it seem fake. Ohh, to be that comfortable on a horizontal bike!
  • 30 2
 IT'S LIKE A WALL RIDE A PAYWALL RIDE
  • 19 0
 Price will never get as low as that corner.
  • 12 0
 That photo is not possible because that bike has the wrong geo, too slack in the seat, head angle too steep, the wrong dampers in the suspension and the assegai wasn't even invented. So it really is fake. Pinkbike comments told me so.
  • 1 0
 The SX trail disagrees.
  • 12 0
 But real talk, can we bring back Chatel style?
  • 12 0
 Right? That was such a cool course, and the scenery definitely didn't hurt.
  • 26 0
 @mikekazimer: tell our new overlords to make it happen.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: this is new to me and had to look it up..https://www.pinkbike.com/news/Chatel-Mountain-Style-2011-Photos.html. Pretty badass. any particular reason it stopped?
  • 1 0
 @SATN-XC, I'm not exactly sure. I feel like the Hardline event is sort of its successor, with all those big features on a wild course.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: Wales is pretty and all, but Chatel's vibe and scenery certainly increased the "nuts-ness" of the event. And I've never understood Hardline being a race, its huge hits and massive features lend it self to being a mixed judging event, like rampage, or speed and style. Riders like Kaos, who may not be the best at tricks, or the fastest, but are very good at everything, need a race to shine.
  • 11 0
 The world needs another Matt Hunter shreddit!
  • 1 0
 If that "Getting the shot" clip was out back when the 2014 POTY was up, this pic would of won for sure.
  • 6 0
 He’s goated. His season’s segment is still nuts to this day. That’s my idea of hell, being sent down hills at that speed with hard compound 26 inch tyres and 625mm wide bars. Legend.
  • 5 0
 People thought it was fake, but how could they think a person in the industry like Sterling could produce and release a fake to the public? Back then, I admired the photographer's workshop and creativity and rider's skills. I admire them today. Amazing, one of a kind work.
  • 5 0
 PB: Quick put up an article that gets users all warm and fuzzy with nostalgia
Users: Thanks PB, another opportunity to say 'back in the day when things were free'
PB: Jeez stop the ride, I want to get off, every comment has the word paywall in it.
Users: Paywall
  • 9 0
 Pitted and committed.
  • 5 0
 Anndddd Here's Johnny Helly at 16 years old doing it dannnnggg good! www.instagram.com/p/CBi7-0LHC6N/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
  • 3 0
 It looks like a really steep berm which I love. Would be cool to see some pics of other people doing this corner for comparison.... ...so that I can appreciate this corner when this pic is behind a paywall YEAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH
  • 6 0
 Ahhhhh no paywall yet
  • 5 0
 ♫ Bar leans Matt Hunter style ♫
  • 4 1
 Whats wild is that his front foot is the right foot so my guess is this is opposite of what his natural turning direction is.
  • 1 0
 Maybe he's goofy?
  • 2 1
 I ride right foot forward and corner better on right hand bends.
  • 2 0
 @smokingtires: same… feet level for sure right turns. One foot down, still better with the right foot down turning left.
  • 1 0
 I can remember the comments like yesterday :
1.) Matt Hunter proofs 29ers can corner
Quickly followed by
2.) 29ers proof Matt Hunter can corner.

And here I am years later on my specialized 26er that I purchased that year shortly after specialized said they would keep building them because there was no point building 27,5 bikes if you wanted agility. Haha what a laugh.
  • 4 0
 Rad riding and rad capture...one of the best shots ever.
  • 2 0
 This is sweet. I've got a similar freeze frame shot of my wife in a similar position on her bike...except she didn't ride out of it, I'm sure Matt did.
  • 3 0
 I was sure that the photo as Photoshopped until that video. Wow!
  • 1 0
 I could get a picture of me like that - wouldn't be a video of it though as I would be completely washing out a milli second later.
  • 3 0
 Look at how few gears are on that rear cog! Just 7 years.
  • 3 0
 That was one of the best short videos I have seen. Short and sweet!!!!
  • 4 0
 Paywallride
  • 3 0
 Pinkbike commenters are the worst! Oh wait...
  • 1 0
 So pumped up for the upcoming Pinkbike's challenge with Beta MTB when both teams will be racing those extreme head tube angle Dick Pound bikes!
  • 1 1
 I say stick it to the man...let's see are words in action..if and when they start charging..it's very simple boycott by simply not signing up...
  • 1 0
 If that was me trying that, my right bar end would have dug in & I’d been eating a dirt sandwich for a snack.
  • 2 0
 its just like whismas-ifht
  • 1 0
 26ers still cornered better. They also handled switch backs far better than 29ers. I know this as I owned both.
  • 4 4
 Well Trailforks put up a paywall for the Pro version. I paid for that, why wouldn’t pinkbike do similar?
  • 20 2
 I don't see what paywalls have to do with this awesome photo?
  • 4 3
 @TerrapinBen: enjoy it while it’s awesomely free
  • 2 3
 photo is way less impressive after watching the video. That berm is too obvious now. I can't do it, but still. Its less of a magic trick now.
  • 1 0
 He MUST HAVE been going FAST... O.O #JESUS
  • 2 0
 Specialized Enduro 29
  • 1 0
 "Your subscription will continue until you cancel. You can cancel anytime"
  • 1 1
 The one positive thing regarding a paywall is the suddan lack of "paywall" posts. Actually can't wait!
  • 1 0
 Laws of Physics ftw
  • 1 0
 So rad!!
  • 1 0
 Go Munter!
  • 4 5
 Monetization of old content now even!
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