High Seas – New Zealand

>A Camping Trip With Skateboarding Benefits

Journal Entries by Andy Henrie a.k.a. The Doctor

Photography by Mike O’Meally

In the mystic highlands and rugged skateparks of New Zealand’s North Island, nine skaters went on the hunt for a pure skateboarding experience. No demos, no comfort zone, no television, and no complaints-just a Maui camper and a sidecar with no itinerary and no particular destination. Sometimes getting right out of it is the best way to get right into it …

Day 1-January 5, 2005

Six a.m. comes way too early. Get there with time to spare since Duffy was stuck in customs for ages. P-Stone, Chetter, Rat-a-tat-tat, Mutt, and Strubing make it through easy, but Duffy looks the part. Long blacks/flat whites all around until P-Stone and Mike go off to retrieve the vehicles. Ages later, after games of SKATE and getting repeatedly stopped from skating the statue of Lady So And So (New Zealand’s most famous aviatrix: the first woman to fly solo from London to NZ in the 1930s), the Maui and the Lancer arrive. I navigate Mike in the Maui, while the Rat drives the little car. First stop: alien landing zone snakerun off of Ponsonby Road. Everybody is hyped to skate, and we get right into it. The Rat: kicky to tre flip (almost lazer) line. Strubing: innumerable moves including awesome shifties. Chetter: Switch carver to switch 180 out. Rhys shows up while I’m out picking up Javi. Next, Rhys takes us to the best park ever: Bob Hill park in New Lynn.

Gnarbuckets. A sick snakerun though a full pipe and into a bowl constructed in centimeters rather than inches. Chet rules it, with everyone else gettin’ right into it. Next, we pick up Pay Cut Shane-Os, and head to the Lynnfield bowl.

Javi is skating like a mutant beast-mega tricks going on the face wall. P-Stone has become street-Stone on the bench. I’m too spent to get into it until I’ve got a sixer in me, and then I get a couple o’ runs in. Adapting to the slick spraypaint from the sandpapery best park ever is tough. The boys make me get a crailer. Then it’s off to Rhys’ to set up camp in his backyard. Fortunately there are no bars nearby, so we manage to pack it in early. Not bad: three epic parks straight off the plane.

Day 2

Day two begins with rain in the morning. Cafe scene and skate vids occupy us in the rainy Auckland day. By afternoon Rhys is back from work, and we head up to this crazy mini ramp on a farm north of Auckland. The mini is freaky, but a sick session ensues. We shoot bottles with a pellet gun, play with pigs, and Shane-Os gets moto-X.

Day 3

We eventually head toward Tauranga to get up out of the rain. We check out a freaky bituminoid, metal-covered, wood and cement volcano/Jersey-barrier park. It’s wet but looks kind of fun. I fill up the Maui with petrol-rookie maneuver. A hundred bucks, one and a half hours, and multiple mouthfuls of gas later, we’re back on the road with a tank full of diesel. In Te Puki, my skate-dar gets us to the handrail school before we head up to Rotorua in the late night. We arrive at the bootleg truckie hot pools Marty put us on to sometime around midnight. It’s so epic with the candles and the drinking and mud baths and general hippie brodeo that we make noise well into the wee hours of the morning before passing out in/on/under the cars.

Day 4

In the morning we’re licking some wounds, but the sulfur hot pools get us going. We veg out in Rotorua getting breakfast, and the break in the rain sends us back down to Te Puki where

Mutt gets the rail handled, Pay Cut gets his name coined, and our wet stuff gets dried out. From there, we decide to quickly backtrack to Tauranga park and skate the Jersey-barrier thingy. It’s even sketchier than the rain could have predicted. Soft spots in the bitumen send everyone flying. But it turns into a sick session that lasts until dark. We find ourselves taken in by a Bonn Scott-looking vegan skate-shop proprietor who puts us up on his floor/drivey and takes us out on the town. I go all in on the club scene, dancing and double-fisting until last call.

Day 5

Duffy is MIA. And we’re all pretty hung over. We manage to lag in tow until afternoon. Rat-a-tat-tat is hyped on skating this vert ramp Bonn Scott told us about in Tauranga. Somehow a session ensues on a gigantic sketchy vert ramp. P-Stone does a nose grinder. Rattray’s sweepers and Javi’s stalers are sick. There’s another (bigger) vert ramp across the bay that we skip and head back to Rotorua. I make the executive decision as the driver of the small lead car to take an alternate route to Rotorua. We go through a sick windy canyon with one-lane bridges and find an amazing eight-foot concrete vert ramp. Rattray goes nutter. He sparks it, and everyone including myself is getting loose on this mini-vert madness. But snap, the Rat goes down-collarboned. We head into Rotorua as it’s getting dark and get a campsite at the family-oriented double lakes after chasing the golden light around blue and green lakes. Somehow we set up camp in the dark, in the rain, and manage to get groceries by 11:00 p.m. Late-night gourmet and madness, which amuses even the other campers (but not the proprietor). P-Stone’s farts and Chet’s snoring make us the hit of the camp.

Day 6

I go for a swim in the lake early, before the rain kicks in again. Slowly but surely we break camp and hit the road by noon.

We get caught up a bit in Rotorua (again) and check the waterfall and Taupo park in the rain. It looks good, but we decide to try and head past the rain. We head south toward Wellington (via

Palmerston North), and after stopping for some amazing lamb burgers by the side of the road, we find a sick campsite next to a river. Rock skipping, raging bonfire, gourmet fire-cooked food-we are f-king living!

Day 7

Hit a crap park in a random town first thing. Everyone is so hyped to skate after the rain that we almost get caught up. Skate a park in Palmerston North on the way to Wellington. I ditch out to try and find Rattrap a proper sling and get some sandwich stuff while the boys deconstruct the sick street park. An emergency shit in the grocery store later, and I find myself back at the park launch-ramping methods and jumping the seven-stair rail like a kid.

In the late afternoon we hit Porirua Center Park. I bag out for the first time and don’t really skate. Pussy. We roll into Wellington just as the sun’s going down and bag out into our first hotel of the trip. Rattray is flying home the next day, and after a nice Indian meal on Time Warner, I return to the hotel and have a nice hot tub before packing it in for my first eight-hour-plus sleep of the trip. The other boys go to TJ’s strip bar.

Day 8

I take Rattray to the airport bright and early and get the lay of the land by car. The next morning I’m finally letting things happen at tour pace instead of mine. Dave from Manual mag meets us, and we go check some spots-warm up on some sick harbor banks. I learned tailslides! Chetter gets ninja, and somehow the all-nighter Lagacy crew holds it down. We see some sick spots but only skate the hardest bowl in the southern hemisphere. We all escape injury somehow, and Chet kills it. We hit Porirua East park, which is a sick asphalt snakerun. Hill bomb to death match! The local Maori kids are off the hook. We literally drive away with a mob chasing us! One girl gets Shane-Os’ undies. I hit the bar scene with Chetter and the boys for a while but pack it in early. Vegetable sandwiches in the Jacuzzi!

Day 9

Mutt stayed sober last night and has a date with a big flat handrail. We also skate the sketchy bowl again. Chetter gets wicked, and I get some scratchers I’m very proud of. Gale-force winds in effect, and we leave town by 5:00 p.m. trying to make it toward the coast. Just past Masterston (where we drove right past the skatepark) we find a sick campground. Sergeant O’Meally won’t let us skate: “This is a camping trip with skateboarding benefits.” Epic camping ensues. We’ve all got bottles of wine. We’re eating yummy sausages. The stars are popping. Could life be better? The little car meets its demise. I sleep my first night in the Maui instead of under the stars.

Day 10

After some, shall we say … delays … in Masterston (including the skatepark), we get some skating on in Taupo, and Strubing gets us all the way to Hamilton where we hotel it again. I don’t skate again. Pussy. The hot tubs do The Doctor well, as do they do under-the-weather Matt.

Day 11

We meet Rhys and the boys at the Hamilton bowl. I pull a layback to tail. Rhys shows us a bunch of street spots. Servo banks:

P-Stone out of the car frontside rock with Grolsch in hand before anyone else can even scratch a grind. Jungle hubba: I try a noseslide, and Pay Cut stacks on one. Steep cement banks and a loading dock: I do a fun manual and a not-so-fun backside grind. The boys go check the town, but everything starts early.

Day 12

We warm up at the Hamilton bowl again, and the Mutt handles the jungle hubba. We hit the second gnarliest park of the trip in Waiuku before dark. Chet somehow does a disaster. It’s possibly the gnarliest thing I’ve ever seen. Proud me did a backside scratch.

Make it back to Auckland in time for some food and an early night.

Day 13

We skated New Lynn again. F-king gangster! Street spots. Rodger Dodger varial heelflips the big four. Chetter gets nutter with a switch 180 to big five ollie the big four. Shane-Os looks like he’s going to switch backside flip the gap but piles out too much on the switch 180. It’s Duffy’s birthday and Javi’s tomorrow. Skate the sick sculpture banks in the city, and then get thrown out of the bizarro train-station volcanoes. After an epic Japanese dinner with rounds of sake and fun, we take over the whiskey bar.

Day 14

Lick wounds. Barely make it to airport. Find Lagacy in an Irish pub already three-fourths maggot. Mike and I run a serious gauntlet getting out of New Zed. I swear they didn’t want us to leave. Somebody was making sure we followed the book to the letter literally every 100 feet. Somehow we made it, and the beer on the plane tasted sweet.

trip with skateboarding benefits.” Epic camping ensues. We’ve all got bottles of wine. We’re eating yummy sausages. The stars are popping. Could life be better? The little car meets its demise. I sleep my first night in the Maui instead of under the stars.

Day 10

After some, shall we say … delays … in Masterston (including the skatepark), we get some skating on in Taupo, and Strubing gets us all the way to Hamilton where we hotel it again. I don’t skate again. Pussy. The hot tubs do The Doctor well, as do they do under-the-weather Matt.

Day 11

We meet Rhys and the boys at the Hamilton bowl. I pull a layback to tail. Rhys shows us a bunch of street spots. Servo banks:

P-Stone out of the car frontside rock with Grolsch in hand before anyone else can even scratch a grind. Jungle hubba: I try a noseslide, and Pay Cut stacks on one. Steep cement banks and a loading dock: I do a fun manual and a not-so-fun backside grind. The boys go check the town, but everything starts early.

Day 12

We warm up at the Hamilton bowl again, and the Mutt handles the jungle hubba. We hit the second gnarliest park of the trip in Waiuku before dark. Chet somehow does a disaster. It’s possibly the gnarliest thing I’ve ever seen. Proud me did a backside scratch.

Make it back to Auckland in time for some food and an early night.

Day 13

We skated New Lynn again. F-king gangster! Street spots. Rodger Dodger varial heelflips the big four. Chetter gets nutter with a switch 180 to big five ollie the big four. Shane-Os looks like he’s going to switch backside flip the gap but piles out too much on the switch 180. It’s Duffy’s birthday and Javi’s tomorrow. Skate the sick sculpture banks in the city, and then get thrown out of the bizarro train-station volcanoes. After an epic Japanese dinner with rounds of sake and fun, we take over the whiskey bar.

Day 14

Lick wounds. Barely make it to airport. Find Lagacy in an Irish pub already three-fourths maggot. Mike and I run a serious gauntlet getting out of New Zed. I swear they didn’t want us to leave. Somebody was making sure we followed the book to the letter literally every 100 feet. Somehow we made it, and the beer on the plane tasted sweet.