Must Watch: Brandon Semenuk Rides Unique Slopestyle Features in ‘Realm’

Sep 9, 2021
by James Smurthwaite  

Press Release: Red Bull

Brandon Semenuk is back! This time, he reimagines the true essence of Slopestyle MTB by designing four unique features in hopes of advancing and promoting creativity in the sport, and allowing riders to bring their own creative riding styles to the table.

In preparation for the Red Bull Joyride 10-year anniversary, fans can now vote for their favourite feature and the one with the most votes will be included in the slopestyle course at Red Bull Joyride 2022!

Brandon Semenuk during the filming of Realm on the Sunshine Coast Canada on July 01 2021.

From Brandon Semenuk’s jaw-dropping corked 720 in 2014, to Emil Johansson’s double truck driver down whip in 2019, Red Bull Joyride has consistently set the stage for the evolution of slopestyle mountain biking.  But as the tricks have gotten gnarlier, and the courses and features become consistently built to boost riders faster, higher, and farther, an element of course creativity has been often overlooked.

Brandon Semenuk during the filming of Realm on the Sunshine Coast Canada on July 10 2021.
Brandon Semenuk during the filming of Realm on the Sunshine Coast Canada on July 03 2021.

bigquotesIntroducing features that allow riders to really express their personal creativity on a bike can really help shake up the people we see on the podium on a week-to-week basis,” explained Wyper, who believes this creative build approach will inject more excitement into the sport.

"Without the confines of a contest environment, Justin Wyper and myself had the opportunity to create our own Slopestyle haven and take some chances with this course build. Like any mountain bike trail or course, you work with the given terrain to make the best features imaginable. In this situation, we knew we wanted to create a course that would ride well top to bottom, but also offer up some opportunities for creativity along the way. We took our knowledge from previous builds and integrated some 'wildcard' features with some more common slopestyle features to hopefully have a good balance of both.
Brandon Semenuk

Brandon Semenuk during the filming of Realm on the Sunshine Coast Canada on July 14 2021.

Fans now have the chance to vote for their favourite, and the championed feature will be reintroduced at the 2022 Red Bull Joyride event.

Vote here.


131 Comments

  • 167 0
 Finally! A Semenuk trick I can do! The walk along holding the bike bar spin. No wait, I cant do that. Never mind.
  • 35 0
 I mean sure, if a bunch of people built me a line like that with all those features I could totally.... not do anything with it... and probably slip and fall climbing up to the start ramp. But still, I almost became a brain surgeon too, and thought about being an astronaut.
  • 5 1
 Glad this wasn’t filmed by the Red Bull camera crew from the last World Cup. Would have just been crazy cam and if you’re lucky, you’d see some riding
  • 112 0
 What an absolute genius on the bike! Unreal work boys.
  • 64 7
 This guy really does keep the spirit of why I like mountain biking alive. He doesn't have the deepest/craziest trick bag anymore, but he just likes building features and dropping videos of him sending them. I was discussing it on another pinkbike thread, but that's like.. at it's core something a lot of us can relate to. No I don't have an excavator and no I can't send shit like this, but digging jumps and making vids with your friends ? Very much something that makes mtb'ing special. I think some of my favorite stuff is just seeing Semenuk do shit in his back yard. It makes me want to own some property where I can just dig shit up and be stupid just because it's fulfilling to have friends over and f*ck around on your bike.

One of the podcasts brandon was on months back with some bmx'ers he was talking about how he wished mtb culture was a little more like bmx because so much of bmx isn't actually about competition, but just going to a street location and filming yourself hucking a stairset or something and releasing an edit. That type of dynamic exists in mtb'ing too, but things in mtb'ing are much more weighted towards comps/racing and I actually really enjoy that this guy wants to put resources into just making cool content now. It seems more rewarding for him.

Slopestyle as a whole just feels stale now, all the district rides and roof top diamond events that aren't even really on a mountain don't exactly feel like a part of biking i can participate in. Throwing barspins in the woods and digging trails and just enjoying that aspect, that's something that feels closer to home. I look at the pro level bmx comps and even those feel stale/a little too nitro-circus'y for me, but I understand that comps is where the moneys at.

All in all just kinda stoked this guy was able to find a meaningful living after his comp days, because I'll always enjoy the angle he puts on stuff. No question he still has a ton of influence in what slope athletes do on their bikes and to their bikes though. Hoping to see Brett follow the same trajectory.

Very much like that this article is talking about something I see all the mtb boomers bitch about during every slopestyle contest: How slopestyle aint the same no more. Well here you go, looks like this guy put together a video to show that maybe slope could be something like this instead ? If you've ever been to dirt jumps you've seen that the guys there aren't always about sending crazy impossible tricks and more just about flowing around. Would be kind of tight to see Semenuk/Rheeder just qualify for Joyride but instead of sending nutty tricks just do something like this in a competition. I think it would have the ability to just kind of shape how this sport looks in the future.
  • 18 0
 Do we not do "Must watch" anymore? Because . . .
  • 44 0
 @anchoricex: Agree with almost everything you said there, but "He doesn't have the deepest/craziest trick bag anymore," is just wrong. He could land a top 5, probably top 2-3 if he were to still get a run. Even in this video, he 720ed the boner log, which I've only seen Logan Peat do before, and the switch 3 downwhip to oppo bar to 3 downwhip to bar on a step down is some Emil level stuff. Easy to forget that he is the GOAT of slopestyle, and would still give Emil a run for his money (as would Brett).
  • 18 0
 @absentminded: Must Watch + Semenuk = redundant
  • 1 0
 @anchoricex: Along the same lines, I was kind of hoping this entire video was just going to be doing crazy tricks around that single log. Like, "oh, just hanging with my friends, trying things".
  • 5 0
 @absentminded: Fixed ;-) I think Semenuk gets a free Must Watch subscription for life.
  • 13 0
 @anchoricex: >>He doesn't have the deepest/craziest trick bag anymore
Did we just watch the same video? Maybe not the most spiniest tricks, but 360 foot plant out of a cereal bowl is still pretty deep/crazy
  • 4 2
 @plyawn & @leon-forfar

I wasn't saying that in an insulting way. Yes his tricks are still f*cking nuts but I'm saying deep as in he's not going to suss out every combo/direction you can do a double down whip with a bar and cash roll each way while eating breakfast.

In the context of competitions, who knows where Brandon would stack against some of the nitro-circus caliber stuff going on in slopestyle diamond events right now, I'm sure he'd podium without a doubt but the takeaway I was trying to convey was mostly that I just highly prefer watching stuff like this, and I'm glad Brandon has a way to basically define another aspect of slopestyle riding that doesn't revolve around competitions. Because I think a lot of us can agree that competition slopestyle is starting to feel a little clinical and it's not always as exciting as stuff like this.
  • 4 0
 Semenuk is boss. Period.
  • 2 0
 @anchoricex: I get what you mean, but I honestly think this is just him chillin, throwing in some new stuff he has thought up. If he did rampage or crankworx, maybe even Audi 9's I bet he would work on new stuff and still blow everyone else away. Altho Emil is doing some ridiculous stuff also.Either way as soon as a semenuk vid drops its instant save link time.
  • 1 0
 @leon-forfar: Perhaps, but do not forget that we are looking at an edit.

A racerun is different (with very different speed and heigth of jumps). He's crazy experienced for sure, but stating he will cruise to 2nd if you just give hiim a run is a tall order even for Brandon.

Doesn't diminish him one bit.
  • 1 0
 @anchoricex: couldnt agree with you more mate
  • 2 0
 @Ronkol: Racing is a different discipline all together a not really relevant to slopestyle. Slopestyle athletes get to practice their tricks/runs leading up to the event, and while not as many attempts can be made towards landing X trick, all the athletes are VERY calculated. Semenuk is arguably the most calculated (Emil and Brett are also right alongside), and could definitely lay down all these tricks and more in a contest run. I think what separated him from the field was the fact that generally he wasn't just adding a bar or whatever to the trick but going for new tricks, or doing things off of features that no one has done. Not taking away from the current batch of slopestylers, but everyone is playing the combo trick bag (except maybe Rogatkin doing his unique spin tricks) by adding bars to their combos on "regular" jumps, but rarely are people bringing what would be considered a crazy move to ridiculous features (ex. Cork 7 bar step down, Brett's Flip whip off a flat drop, Emil's 360 windshield wiper on a step down). Nobody cruises to 2nd place, but Semenuk is a checkers or wreckers competitor and always willing to bring new and different things to competition; IF he got his planned run, it's a podium run.

I like that they created a poll for what feature to add to the next slopestyle course, but I really wish there was an option for that step up to the flat platform. That would allow for manual combos and 180 combos, which would open the doors to genuinely new possibilities and really showcase different skill sets (can you imagine what Max Fredriksson and the swedes would be able to do with that??)! The skinny thing is neat for sure, but I don't see much really happening on that, along with the sideways bowl thing (which they had in the 2010 Whistler crankworx. Then the other two features are hardly a departure from normal slopestyle things (big quarter hip, and the whale tail). They should just add all those features and give slopestyle a new face!
  • 1 0
 @anchoricex: Loved that podcast. He was right, too many ordinary riders are way too concerned with having the newest tech or the latest standard "insert component here". BMX suffers from the opposite problem; An extreme resistance to change. Having the newest bike or gear doesn't dictate the fun you can have or the places you can go.
  • 1 1
 @leon-forfar: Racerun should have been competition run.

And this is where we agree to disagree. You believe the level is so low that Semenuk can come out of retirmenet and smack Fedko, Lemoine and Rogatkin around, no matter that he hasn't been on such a course for quite a few years (slopestyle careers are short to begin with).

I don't believe he can pick up his bike and become a force as easy as you think. He would need at least a year hard training to get back to that level again. It's a very hard sport... you see how hard the riders work to get aback again. Talent is one thing, but the hours need to be made on those huge jumps.. Can Brandon rebuild that? Probably*, but even he needs time.

Edits and smaller jumps certainly show he's a great rider, but it's not a competition run at Crankworx.


* Probably? Yeah, we have seen great athletes return and fizzle. We also have seen magnificent returns.... Nothing is certain.
  • 2 0
 @Ronkol: As someone who is lucky enough to watch him ride massive jumps every year, I can comfortably say that he is still practicing the high level of tricks. In fact, I saw him riding alongside Fedko, Emil, Rogatkin etc last year and the year before, and he was definitely throwing down equally as hard as everyone with the exception of maybe Emil (Emil is a combo freak). I did not say that the level is low, it's the highest it's ever been. Semenuk still pumps out worlds firsts, which he generally would bring into his contest runs (to either land them and win, or crash out trying). Landing those worlds firsts (like Cork 7 bar on a step down) require that you are still VERY comfortable sending those tricks on the regular. Even to this day, under 10 people have cork 720ed step downs, and the only rider on tour currently doing them is Rogatkin. Riders like Fedko and Lemoine and such have their place, but realistically are not going for the "win" in the same way riders like Semenuk, Rheeder, Emil, and Rogatkin have. Fedko's style is amazing, and he has a solid trick bag, and Lemoine is consistent and well rounded but isn't really doing any tricks that are unique to him or worlds firsts. Those two are definitely contenders to get on the podium, but as long as Emil and such are getting their runs and not crashing, it just ain't happening. We have seen that to be winning the events, you have to do what would already be considered gnarly tricks off of the gnarly features (Rheeder flat drop flip whipping, Semenuk bringing new and creative combos combined with cork 7s on stepdowns and flat drop flip candy bar etc, Emil with his ridiculous combos and 360 windshield wipers on stepdowns), and those guys just aren't doing that (Fedko did truck to whip on stepdown which is definitely very gnarly though). The rest of the field is very strong on the more normal jumps, and I would agree can maybe* out-trick Semenuk there, but they are not pushing the envelope on the properly scary features that are much more technical. The current crop of slopestyle is very talented, but seeing everyone do cork 720s on jumps, and then add barspins and whatnot to everything is cool and all, but it's not groundbreaking or unique anymore. The field is playing catch up to the likes of Emil, and still Rheeder and Semenuks when it comes to bringing proper excitement and progression to the sport.
*Semenuk is very secretive with his riding and what he has up his sleeve, so who really knows, he likely still has his own tricks going on

Also as a side note, Semenuks backyard slopestyle course is crankworx sized. Given that he was basically the first big Slopestyler to have a full course in his backyard, and he has had the time since it was built to ride it on the daily since its inception which would be an edge over many of the current competitors.
  • 72 0
 The slope goat makes anything look possible. Incredible.
  • 47 0
 do they give you a hard time for not being a pinkbike plus subscriber?
  • 85 0
 @adrennan: I only do free trials and then cancel all my memberships before they start charging me Wink
  • 4 0
 It's also a brilliant response to the standard "Semenuk makes it look too easy" nit-pick. You can see him pushing hard to get a lot of these tricks in on lower-amplitude features. Adding more jib features and multiple line options like this course to the slopestyle comp format would make those comps a *lot* more interesting to watch for your average, general-interest mountainbiker!
  • 9 0
 @Veloscente: I have always thought non-biking people couldn't understand his stuff because he makes it look effortless. I had to watch the tail whip to manual landing to nose bonk drop a couple of times to wrap my head around what he did. I can land manual 1 out of 20 tries (and none look smooth) to land that after just spinning around the bike is insane to me. The key to manual landing is being straight with your weight in the right direction, a tail whip is the last thing you want to do in that situation. Unless you have tried this stuff I don't think you could comprehend how insane that little part was.
  • 4 0
 "slope goat" nice - I like that one.
  • 45 9
 So cool to see people like Semenuk, Johanson and Rheeder adding more style and steeze into slopestyle, I cannot stand the usual spin-a-thons we usually see (looking at you Rogatkin.)
  • 11 7
 Emil?…all he mostly does is 3, whips and bars in every possible combination
  • 8 1
 @coadymacmillan: yea i love emils precision but its mostly a downwhip clinic from him every comp. It works and he scores high, and hes probably got years of this left in him like this, but im not gonna pretend like watching slopestyle comps is as enjoyable as this vid or that vid anthony messere/polygon dropped the other night. I dunno, different strokes for different folks I guess, I don't know that slopestyle comps is for me but whatever this niche "slopestyle video that doesnt necessarily have the hardest tricks but is super enjoyable to watch" segment of mountain biking is certainly for me lol
  • 10 2
 @anchoricex: Oh yeah, the comps are dull. But what Emil is doing with the windshield wipers, turndowns and other steezy tricks outside of comps is at least somewhat better then the standard 360s.
  • 5 0
 @coadymacmillan: I’d say you clearly haven’t watched enough footage of Emil outside of contest riding then, that dude brings new style and extension to some of the oldest tricks out there
  • 1 0
 skiing went through the same growing pains. I think the base level tricks take time to get figured, then once enough competitors can do the tricks, it becomes more about who makes them look good.
  • 1 0
 @adrennan: Although I'm not a skiier, I do watch the comps, and you can defo see the similarities from about 5 ish years ago in snowsports. I think steeze will prevail, but it might take some time to exit the spin-a-thon.
  • 3 0
 @Jaib06: We like to call it the "spin-it-to-win-it" era.
  • 33 0
 finally an edit with way slower cuts and slo-mo replays
  • 3 0
 It's like he listens to fan feedback and still wants to please us as well as shred harder than anyone else. I've never been his biggest fan and his attitude competing was off putting for me but man he keeps dishing it out for us minions and I'm thankful and respectful of his commitment to biking and slopestyle.
  • 26 0
 B_Semenuk has re-entered the chat
  • 25 0
 7 off the boner was facked
  • 2 0
 Huston, we have take off!
  • 21 0
 The half sphere - alley oop - euro table - ender was absurd. I had to watch it three times to see what the hell just happened.
  • 19 0
 Finally, a Semenuk edit that isn't a string of half second clips manically strung together. Still not convinces he's following the same laws of physics as the rest of us though.
  • 13 0
 A whole new level of technicality. The construction of everything looks so solid.
  • 12 0
 Football has Ronaldo, Slopestyle has Semenuk!
  • 10 0
 The thing that always gets me is his style, so crazy smooth, not bad for a rally driver Smile
  • 5 0
 I always wonder what the costs associated with these videos are. That build must have taken a team of people months to plan, and weeks (months?) to build. Are these single-use builds? That would seem a shame, but at the same time the level of difficulty means that only a handful of riders could even use them.
  • 4 2
 It's probably in his back yard
  • 1 0
 @Gmang: Looks like CGP somewhere. That's usually where they build cool parts for video segments.
  • 9 0
 Who's got big bowls? Semenuk, that's who.
  • 4 0
 How can he sit down with those bowls?
  • 2 0
 Death Star dish! So rad!
  • 7 0
 Good lawd. The king will always reign. And the size of that build…unreal!
  • 4 0
 Do you think Semenuk ever gets exhausted thinking up wild tricks that no-one's ever comprehended before? That little bike-walk thing was hilarious.

"I have mastered the art of riding my bicycle, now I will show you how much better than you I am at even walking alongside it."

Also, missed opportunity to reuse one of those old-school gigantic satellite dishes out of someone's backyard for the bowl tricks.
  • 7 0
 Yes I do, and I think that's why he's racing Rally cars now. I think he does these videos for the people now. I would imagine he still has love for the sport, but doing anything professionally takes its toll. This man is a wizard at any sport he touches.
  • 5 0
 All those features are impressive, but what I really wanna see in the 2022 Joyride is Brandon Semenuk
  • 5 0
 Took me way longer than it should have to realize he was riding the same bike the whole time.
  • 2 0
 Remember that podcast about the OG's of mountain biking... I know allot of the names harkened back to the golden age of Tomacs, Simmons, AC and alike, (all for good reason) but honestly even if you consider him new age (esque) like Semenuk is absolutely an OG because of all the reasons, be it skills, accomplishment, culture, level-up, film making and obviously eminence and culture. He literally transcends. It's one thing to have an incredible edit, another to expect an incredible edit and then always be like "holy shit" that was better than I expected... every bloody time. Almost poetic riding. Ya, it's rad in every sense of the word from the 80's to next year.
  • 1 0
 Crazy. Must have a full time crew that maintains that. Also wonder what's the emergency operation when u get f*cked up inevitably? Looks pretty remote... Unreal everything tho. The build. The moves. The background. Everything
  • 1 0
 I have no idea how remote it is but I do know that some well planned camera angles can make something look more remote than it is. They clearly had to get quite a bit of materials, equipment, and machinery up there to build and film this. The camera work hides it but there's probably a road 20 feet off camera.
  • 1 0
 Now just imagine how satisfying it would be to see a full run on that build! I get the slow motion clips and multiple angles views of the same trick, but it would have been awesome to get a full Semeneuk run on that course. Dope video though, he is truly the best.
  • 9 5
 Never fails to disappoint. Filming and riding were top notch as usual!
  • 35 0
 so always disapoints?
  • 19 0
 @nikifor88: Haha I just read that back and yeah, didnt mean it like that. Let me rephrase: That was f*cking awesome!
  • 3 0
 Hard to decide what I like better the sick riding or the insane trail building!
  • 4 0
 Love the split Black and White Trek bike.
  • 3 0
 A wizard as always. And that build. Gorgeous.
  • 3 0
 That Yin Yang paint job is
  • 3 0
 All I want is Semenuk edits every year for the rest of my life, thanks.
  • 1 0
 Props to the build crew, rad dudes as well. This is okay but Raw 100 V2 is the epitome of a shred clip. The trail features include...dirt.
  • 1 0
 Those "smaller" hits and whale tail jump lines are pretty huge. So fun to watch them effortlessly flow through them with high speed
  • 1 0
 How do his videos just keep getting better? The build, the skill, the music. These are epic movie segments. So far each one better than the last. Bravo.
  • 2 0
 Brandosn's tricks are so dialed even the maxxis logos are aligned before landing at 0:30
  • 2 0
 First step after watching a Semenuk/Walker edit: watch it again

Second step: find out what the music is
  • 2 0
 My daughter (2yo) is watching this with me and keeps saying “bike!” and “happy!”
  • 1 0
 This makes me happy! As does bike. Going to show it to my kids later
  • 2 0
 Sweet use of the radar dish.
  • 2 0
 Is justin wyper on a blkmrkt?
  • 1 0
 I remember one of his first edits. Justin Wyper is a Biker. So simple, it had stuck with me for years.
  • 1 0
 yeah that sure looks like an Edit1 to me
  • 2 0
 @bubbaburger911: the bars caught my eye first. I have an edit1 that I love, but it seems that they went out of business so it was cool to see their logo pop back up.
  • 1 0
 Loving that curved drop-in! lol I have no words to describe the rest of what I just saw
  • 1 0
 Stoked to hear that they’ll be adding some unique features to slope courses they’ve been the same for a while
  • 3 0
 ayyyee WypDaddy
  • 1 0
 I have always been impressed by Semenuks riding, but this is fucking insane.
  • 2 0
 Are we sure he's not a cat? Seriously…asking for a friend.
  • 1 0
 Brandon's videos make me laugh out loud with joy.
A 360 tail whip to manual landing ? Whuuuuttt ???
  • 1 0
 His riding is incredible, but there was no 3 whip to manny? I saw he tailwhip to manual to nollie bar off the platform which was pretty rad, and he has 360 unturndowned to manual in his last raw 100.
  • 2 0
 @leon-forfar: I don't know what to call it but it was rad.
  • 2 0
 Amazing build by Semenuk and his buddies for $8,000
  • 1 0
 I can't imagine how stiff his suspension has got to be to not use all of the travel on those drops.
  • 1 0
 Dammit Brendan, can't you just go and ride a bike normally like everyone else!
  • 1 0
 I will just put this one repeat... great riding, great course, great filming
  • 2 1
 I thought this dude was a Rally Car driver...mad skills!
  • 1 0
 Vote for the north shore feature!
  • 1 0
 There's so mulch going on in that yard
  • 1 1
 Brandon please don't wear that shirt. That could scares the hell out of me thanks legend
  • 2 0
 I'm sure at this point, everybody went back to look at the shirt to see what's wrong with it Smile
  • 2 0
 g.o.a.t.
  • 1 0
 anyone know whose shoes he's wearing? I like the triple black mids.
  • 1 0
 Etnies - his sig model.
  • 2 0
 The magician!
  • 1 0
 Every damn time!!! Just WOW!! Every edit confirms GOAT status!!
  • 1 0
 brought to you by 4 dollar soda
  • 1 0
 soundtrack just cherry on top of the video, nice work
  • 1 0
 Even the landscaping around the course is pretty crazy.
  • 1 0
 That whip at the end was insane
  • 1 0
 I give a 3/5 on welp… just playing, that shit was smooth.
  • 1 0
 He's put on some bulk...or maybe the dudes made of Helium.
  • 2 1
 Wow, love the music choice
  • 1 0
 should have been "The Wizard" by Black Sabbath
  • 1 0
 The locals call him The Don... for a reason
  • 1 0
 That satellite dish is taken straight from Crankworx 2010.
  • 1 0
 somebody help this guy, he’s still running from the bees!
  • 1 0
 I wish I could play on a bike like semenuk. Just looks so flowy and fun!
  • 1 0
 Words fail me to name Brandon Semenuk. God?
  • 1 0
 WOW.. love the raw sound of Icarus, "Digging Holes" 2010.
  • 2 1
 Wtf did I just watch
  • 1 0
 perfection
  • 1 0
 Bonkers.
  • 1 0
 The stache eh?
  • 1 0
 Simply epic!
  • 1 0
 Dave Mirra of MTB
  • 1 0
 that was pretty neat...
  • 1 0
 Kin top dog aaayyyyiii !
  • 1 1
 Foly Huck.
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