(Photo above: Zach Wallin, gap backside five-O.)

The day after we arrived, the news headline read: "The World's Largest Storm to Hit New Zealand." Are you kidding me? I forced myself out of bed and peered through the drapes of my Best Western hotel as that UV heavy, ozone-free New Zealand sun blindingly came pouring in. As my eyes struggled to focus, I glanced outside toward the vans and saw the crew already starting to gather. The soccer ball was out, fresh boards were being gripped, spliffs were being rolled and of course—coffee. I made a mental note to stop by the store to grab the necessary staples: water, snacks, a deck of cards and of course beer. Storm or no storm, this was going to be a trip for the books!– Levi Brown
Photography by Jake Darwen 

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What travels the world, but stays in the corner? If you think you know the answer you are wrong. Franky Villani, quick with the wit and quick with the tricks. Backside Smith.

Franky Villani, backside Smith. (click to enlarge)

Does the Australian reference "down under" work for New Zealand, too? Maybe it should be "over the top and down" in honor of this Jake Hayes kickflip backside lipslide over the top and down?

Jake Hayes, kickflip backside lipslide. (click to enlarge)

Tyler and Jordan were obsessed with the idea that we are all living in a simulation and that glitches are everywhere, showing us that we don't live in a real world, you just have to be aware of them. I'm not so sure about that, but what do I know? Uphill, rough and with a car in the way nonetheless, Tyler Surrey—the magician—found the glitch in the system and matrixed his way through this frontside boardslide.

Tyler Surry, frontside boardslide. (click to enlarge)

Alexis is the most competitive person on the team, but in the best kind of way. If she gets you into a game of SKATE (which she will), you better bring your A game and know that there is no room for sloppy landings. That's why she's got that mean flick! Kickflip over and down.

Alexis Sablone, kickflip. (click to enlarge)

Under the watchful eye of God, Jordan Taylor ain't slipping. Wet wall stall to fakie.

Jordan Taylor, stall to fakie. (click to enlarge)

The city of Napier where this pump track is located suffered a massive earthquake in the 1930s and burnt down. The town rebuilt in the style of the time and is now known as one of the most authentic Art Deco cities in the world. If you don't know what Art Deco is, imagine Leonardo Dicaprio in The Great Gatsby. Can't you imagine the Governor fitting in perfectly at one of those Gatsby parties? Marius, Ollie blaster for the Gatsby ghosts.

Marius Syvanen, Ollie. (click to enlarge)

Just take a minute and soak in the insane tweak on this Westgate kickflip. So dope!

Brandon Westgate, kickflip. (click to enlarge)

Levi Brown, 360 flip to nowhere. (click to enlarge)

Brandon closes it out with a backside 50-50. A big thanks to the team, Jake Darwen, everyone who helped make this trip possible, and of course the skate gods for allowing the "World's Largest Storm" to pass us safely by keeping the sun shining and us skating until our legs gave out!

Brandon Westgate, backside 50-50. (click to enlarge)