Landboard USA: Great Escape
Posted August 16th, 2007
By Gavin Butler
America is a big place, a very big place. The third biggest country both in size and population with vast array of terrain, landscapes, characters and styles. It has big cars, big roads and even bigger amounts of space to escape to. You could drive for days across Texas and see very little except desert nothing. All this makes it perfect for landboarding and for doing a landboard tour, which is exactly what Alex Brown and Jim Rawlinson did during April 2007.
Alex Brown, Lake Ivanpah
Leaving Corpus Christi, Texas the boys loaded in the Best RV and headed west over 3 days of roadside rest areas, refreshing Corona's to fight the desert heat and tequila shots on route 66 with native Havasupais Indians before reaching their first destination, Primm, Nevada which is just outside of Las Vegas for the annual NBAX landkiting event.
Jim Rawlinson and friend
Along Route 66
The event, held on Lake Ivanpah, is a cracked, baked and brutally unforgiving lakebed, which makes up part of the Mojave Desert system. Hundreds of landboarders, buggiers and landsailors attended the weeklong event with variable winds of all directions and strengths over the duration with Alex and Jim making the most of the conditions when they were on. Alex's kite loops and technical tricks were impressing all until he tasted the desert floor with his head which allowed Jim to showcase his huge sunset jumps and grabs whilst Alex recovered after being scrubbed out at the local hospital to remove the toxic dust from the lakebed.
Alex, Lake Ivanpah
Alex, after a truck fell off of his board
Jim, Lake Ivanpah
With the event finishing up, the RV moved north to Utah to visit an old friend and try to find some new spots to ride on the Great Salt Lake just outside of, you guessed it, Salt Lake City. A day's driving saw us nearly complete the journey until gale-force winds hit the RV just outside of SLC forcing us to spend the night hiding behind a Wal-Mart superstore before we continued into town the next day and looking for spots to ride around the dried edges of the Great Salt Lake. It took a while, with Jim testing the waters (mud) but eventually we found some sick conditions with steady 15 knots winds and scenic backdrops to shoot against. We stayed a few days with our friends in SLC giving us a chance to take a break from the RV, catch up on some general hygiene and apply some duct tape to some of the increasingly loose parts on the exterior of the RV.
Alex, Great Salt Lake
RV at the Great Salt Lake
Adjusting tyre pressure
The Best RV
Eventually we moved on across the Great Salt Lake back through the top of Nevada and into California. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. About 50 miles out of SLC the side awning of the bus flew open from the rollers at one end, causing the bus to catch wind and swerve all over the highway. We pulled over on the interstate to inspect. A brief discussion of "oh sh#t, we're screwed" eventuated. A quick duct tape job gave us time to get off the highway and the oncoming trucks to a rest area. That's when we realized our predicament. The awning was jammed at one end from earlier malfunctions whilst the other end had tried to unravel as much as possible, causing a small sail to appear off the side of the bus. The wind was howling over the Salt Lake with a wind chill of 32 or below and we realized we were in the middle of the army testing range 60 miles from the Nevada border. So for three hours we tried to unravel and re-roll the awning but with no luck. The decision was made to remove the awning, as it was impossible to put it back together with the tools we had. Eventually we made it to the border town of West Wendover by 12:30 AM for tequila shots and dinner at another random Nevada casino.
We pushed on the next day narrowly missing the Friday the 13th curse thanks to Jim's lucky number and arrived to the California Coast in Sonoma, just north of San Francisco to check some beaches recommended to us by friends form the NABX event. To be honest it was way to windy to landboard so we waited it out with friends, then headed down into the Bay area and more specifically Ocean Beach just south of the golden gate bridge to ride the low tide hard packed sand and impress the locals. Every afternoon the wind would push in with the high tide for Jim and Alex with some awesome sunset sessions. The lighter wind days the boys rode the thermals off the cliffs around Pacifica along with the paragliders above and the step cliffs and crashing surf below. 10 days were spent in San Francisco and the surrounding areas as we searched for wind and riding spots, chilled out with the locals and received parking tickets before it was time to go separate ways leaving the adventure all behind.
Alex, Pacifica Cliffs
Alex, Ocean Beach at SunsetRV
Groupies at Ocean beach
Jim, Ocean Beach at Sunset
If you have the means and times, America is the perfect place to escape, with thousands of miles of
beaches, desert, salt lakes and nothing. It's such a small sport in the America, which is about to explode
with epic conditions waiting to be discovered and friendly people willing to be impressed and help at every