|I had no idea what to expect other than being there last year and the previous years, looking down the other side and thinking 'Oh wow, that's really steep and gnarly, I'm glad we're not going down that side.'|
We chatted with Norbs on the rain day here in Virgin, one of the few who was still chatty while waiting out the anxiety of the qualifier delays. Positive as ever, he talks sharing instead of line stealing, and reflects on how he read the new terrain. Yesterday Norbs qualified 7th and we can't wait to see what he pulls out for finals! Tell me about your line, how did you decide on it?
In the past I've taken more of the mellow more flowy route down, so the line decision was based on trying to find the gnarlier way down this time but with flow. We look at the options of either going wide left or wide right, not quite down the middle. So it was about picking a gnarly route right away and then getting in to some flow down the right ridge which looked like it would be scored higher. When you first walked into the canyon did you have anything in mind?
I hadn't seen anything, coming into the site it was just a total blank canvas for me. I had no idea what to expect other than being there last year and the previous years, looking down the other side and thinking 'Oh wow, that's really steep and gnarly, I'm glad we're not going down that side.' I hadn't seen any photos and had no idea what to expect, we just rolled in and tried to see what would could find. It's more exciting that way too. How early did you get here?
We flew in on September 16th and started scoping on the 17th, so a bit earlier. The plan was to have at least two days to scope and try to find something because I knew it would be a lot of work. Any time you go into a new zone and you scope it takes a long time, you look at things and you go away, you come back and look again and you see something different. It was more just to have time to look and see what we could find. Did you bring a big team this year?
No, not a very big team at all. It is just David Van Hoesen, my main builder, and then Nic Genovese. Nic is also shooting a video for Specialized so he's doing double work and he's still building like crazy. I've told him that he doesn't have to do so much but he's been going at it.
Last year your goal with your line was to avoid the pre-built stunts, is that a goal for you this year as well?
|That's always a goal for me, to find the most natural way down without using anything that's been built.|
That's always a goal for me, to find the most natural way down without using anything that's been built. Actually, this year I am hitting a wood ramp at Rampage. It's fine, it just ties into the line, I'm using the Polaris Razor Jump. It is a better option for flow, speed, and big air with my line. And it's a fun jump, so I figure it's better to go out that way then through the middle where there aren't any big hits. What is your goal coming into the competition this year?
I just want to do well. I had to qualify this year, last year I was pre-qualified to finals and then I only got my one run and I crashed. So this year with having to qualify my goal was to make it to finals and then do well there. The only thing I think about coming into Rampage is just to do my best. It's really just to push myself and to find a line that suits my riding, that I can have fun on, and not be totally stressed about. Do you think that by having the event at a new site this year without pre-existing lines, it gives the riders more of an opportunity to showcase their individual styles?
When I first hiked around I felt like we were pretty limited with where we could go right off the top because there are not a lot of options that look possible, although now things have been built that blow my mind. I think that as far as everyone's riding style go, they have found lines that suite their style whether that is nice and super flowy or some really gnar tech down the middle. It starts off really steep, continues steep, and then gets mellow from there on, so you get down the top half pretty fast depending on how your line traverses, but I think that everybody, from racers to freeriders to slopestyle guys, has found a line that suits them and what they are comfortable riding. Compared to last year's course it would seem that there is a lot more action in the bottom of the course.
I'm really surprised at how many lines have popped up, it's like everything has been used, every ridge and mesa ending. Everyone's got their own lines for the most part, some people are sharing sections, which we all kind of had to do.
How did you manage the politics of line stealing?
|I'm really surprised at how many lines have popped up, it's like everything has been used, every ridge and mesa ending.|
From my perspective, you get out there and you find a line and then you're stoked on the line and you know that's where you want to build, but you know that someone else is going to want to build that too because its a stand out section or feature that has potential. You either have to work together to get it built and then share it, branching off from there, or maybe some people might not want to share that feature because it's a stand out move. In my case I've shared my whole top half with Rheeder, he and I combined out teams to build the whole thing and we wouldn't have been able to do it without teaming up. And then I teamed up with Semenuk and his team on another feature and then it kind of just flows out from there. Everyone has to team up, like Aggy and Andreu, and the Fest Series guys, it makes sense. Even though we have more building time than last year it is still a lot of building because there's no pre-existing lines to tap into, everything is blank. It is a lot of building and a lot of dirt moving. It makes sense to team up and work with guys. Do you think that the need to team up has helped build a community here?
Certain guys come here for results, to win and do their best, so they don't want to have anything taken away from that in their line choice. There are certain things you don't want to have taken away because that is what is setting you apart from someone else. For the guys who come here to win they want to have some separate or stand out features and for the guys, like myself, who are just here to have fun and do as well as possible, we will work with other people to make it happen.Check out all of our images from the Red Bull Rampage 2014 here.