Super Enduro 2019

Super Enduro 2019

I always enjoy a trip to the mountains. I can’t really say what it is that appeals to me so much but I always feel much more relaxed after a trip to the mountains. Yes there are those of you who may say Australia doesn’t have real mountains but its what we have and they are still very special. There’s a lot of terrain down there that will make you feel really small.

I am up and down these next few weeks as we have a few races on shooting for both Thredbo MTB and Rocky Trail Entertainment with Outer Image Collective. I spent a weekend down there shooting the Super Enduro. Not as big as Cannonball at this stage but it is growing quickly each year. Riders get 2 days on the tracks. 1 day for practice and then the Sunday for racing. They have to hit 3 tracks and get the cumulative best time on all 3. They can do as many laps as possible but only their best will count. It makes for a busy day shooting when you have nearly 500 riders going past with 20-second intervals. It’s good to stay busy though.

Posted by Richard in Bikes, Events, Sport

f-stop gear Competiton

F-Stop Anja - Pack Review
Fstop Gear Anja backpack and large ICU

As many of you may know I have been a fan of f-stop gear backpacks for some time now. It’s quality gear that handles all the mistreatment I can throw at it, and I do throw a fair bit its way. You can check out a gear review I did of the f-stop gear Anja backpack for the Tyres and Soles crew here on my website here

Now is your chance to get yourself some of their kit by entering their contest. go throw your name into the pool by entering the contest here

Posted by Richard in What's going on
Mountains and Oceans

Mountains and Oceans

Saturday

A weekend spent in the mountains and on the coast is a weekend well spent in my book.

This last Saturday I was in the lower Blue Mountains near Glenbrook shooting one of the Adventure races from Maximum Adventure. We shoot 3 of these races a year and they are a lot of fun. It makes competitors do a bit of orienteering while trail-running, kayaking and mountain-biking there way around a course. Always a very social atmosphere.

I tested out a new flash system dipping my toes into the Godox system and checked out the AD200. It will hopefully last me a bit longer than the usual speedlights that I use at the races and tend to burn out on a regular pace. Mixed early results but will give it another good nudge this weekend and hopefully have some more to say afterwards. I may even try to read the instructions beforehand this time.

Sunday

Then for Sunday, it was down to the coast for a sunrise session at a highline. Although the sun didn’t cast its usually morning colours thanks to a big cloudbank sitting on the horizon it was a beautiful morning none the less. Sitting there watching the highliners doing their stuff while surrounded by nature. Whales swam and jumped in the oceans below and black cockatoos flew overhead. A good weekend indeed.

Posted by Richard in Adventure Racing, Events, Highlining, 0 comments
Outdoor Retailer Australia 2018

Outdoor Retailer Australia 2018

I met up with Jason Lorch from Tyres and Soles last week and we went to the ORA (Outdoor Retailer Australia show) to check out the new products hitting our shelves in the next few months. Here are a few words he put together to go with my photos from the event.

It was our second year at the ORA show and ran from the 17th – 19th June at Hordern Pavilion and Royal Hall of Industries, Moore Park Sydney. Although a little quieter than last year, there were still plenty of interesting brands and products on display.

We didn’t shoot everything as some items are still a little hush, hush, but we managed to snap a few that the exhibitors were comfortable for us to share.

Hoka One One

Hoka One One produces incredibly lightweight and technical hiking and trail running shoes. It was the first time I’d actually got up close to this brand and was blown away. The shoes offer the same levels of technical features as you’d expect from an alpine boot but using different materials and technology, they are so much lighter and less cumbersome.

Hoka One One and their latest ultra mountain runner.
Hoka One One offer a hiking boot that can match any high alpine boot on the market, but at about half the weight

Marmot

Marmot has been around since 1974 and is a well-known brand in the outdoors scene. There were a few key items that caught out attention on their stand this year, but the star for us was what Marmot are calling their Ultra-Light rain jacket.  We like to call it the Uber-Ultra Rain Jacket because it weighs in at under 300grams!

Otter Box

Otter Box are best known for their number one selling smartphone cases, so we were excited to discover that they have now just launched a range of cooler cases. The cases come in a soft and hard version and a number of different size specifications. Each case has a set of add-ons to that you clip to the case, such as bottle opener, waterproof pouch, small cutting table and a side table and can keep items cold for up to 10 days!

Products on display at ORA
What we really liked was the backpack version, which immediately frees up your hands to carry other gear.

Injinji

Although they still give me the creeps, the Injinji socks do offer something over traditional socks. The Injinji socks helps reduce excess toe rubbing which can lead to blisters, by wrapping each individual toe, just like a glove. Their latest designs have a certain Australian flair to them.

Injinji have released an exciting and colourful new range. Check out the Aussie prints!

Spibelt

Spibelt offers a discreet and convenient way to carry your phone, keys, credit cards, and ID while running or on the go. The belts stretch to accommodate a large number of goods. We were surprised. We can see these move into the MTB scene at some stage. There is an opportunity here. We did drop a few design hints to the exhibitor, hopefully, it sunk in.

Products on display at ORA

TOPO

TOPO make a range of very comfortable trail running shoes. The design is similar to the Altra shoe, with a wide toe box area allowing your feet to splay out naturally, rather than crammed into a narrow shape, which most running shoe manufacturers are still developing. This reduces foot fatigue and plants your foot in a much more natural and logical position.

The TOPO men’s and women’s range. TOPO offer one of the lightest fully waterproof trail running shoes in the world!
The men’s TOPO “Terraventure”.

Ultimate Direction

Ultimate Direction are well known in the trail running world for creating highly functional and lightweight running packs and vests. The Marathon Vest will be one of their lightest and adjustable running vests coming out soon. This was a sample version, so the final product may look slightly different. Be sure to stay tuned for this release!

Products on display at ORA
Stay tuned for the release of this beauty!

Power Buddy

Power Buddy are going to be launching a range of silent, mobile lithium power stations. They will feature a dozen different output ports built-in, including 240V AC, Cigarette Lighter, Quick Charge USB, Type C and 12 volt DC to run and charge multiple devices while off the grid. These are so powerful that they will pretty much blow all other power banks on the market, out of the stratosphere.

We had a great chat with the creator of these models and are very excited to see the launch of these into the market, later this year. We’ll be running a test and review on these, so stay tuned!

One of the latest Power Buddy power stations, almost ready to hit the shelves.

Adrenalin

Adrenalin is an Australian brand based on the Northern Beaches. They have been making, among other things, very high-quality wetsuits and thermal-wear for years. This year they have released a thermal jacket using their 2P technology. The jacket has outstanding breathable and wind resistance qualities, ideal for not only coastal activities but any outdoor adventure. From what we saw and felt of this product, we can safely say it will be a highly sought after piece of kit. Get in touch with them to find out more.

The thermal and wind resistant jacket from Adrenalin.

So iLL

So iLL have moved the indoor climbing industry out of the dreary, cold warehouse walls and into the sizzle of unchartered terrains. They have a unique blend of fashion, art and climbing all mixed into one. Their design, brand and ethos are inspiring. They are a truly exciting brand worth checking out if you haven’t already.

Products on display at ORA
So iLL approach/fashion shoe. Achingly cool.

Sierra Designs

Sierra Designs are a massive outdoor company and have been on the scene for many years. They offer a range of entry-level products all the way up to the extreme end for the more experienced and hardcore adventurers out there.

We particularly liked their new Cloud 800 zipperless sleeping bag that has a fold over flap on the entry section, instead of the, sometimes, claustrophobic zip. This is a hybrid mix of a mummy and quilt design, giving you freedom to open up if you begin to overheat. The toe box also has a cooling down feature, with a small slit where you can slip your feet out of.

In addition to these two features, the bag also has small flaps on the rear so you can attach it securely to your sleeping mat, stopping it from slipping off. We also really liked the Australian colours.

The Cloud 800 zipperless bag.

Gregory Packs

We don’t often see the Gregory brand out on the Australian trails, so we were happy to check out some of their latest packs. Gregory knows a thing or two about pack design and we’ve always appreciated their elegant and ‘essential only’ design features.

Gregory doesn’t only focus on hiking activities, they also offer a range of packs for mountain biking as well. Check out their Endo and Avos range.

Gregory, elegant and highly functional packs.
Gregory have an exciting new range for 2019.

OzTrail

OzTrail always has a large presence at these shows and although I generally just do a quick glance over what they have, this year, however, I noticed a change in their display. It seems there have been some changes in the business and this has opened up some new verticals.

One of these was a 4K video product, which to me, looks like a GoPro but with the OzTrail branding. In terms of price point, that wasn’t discussed but it would need to be competitive to go up against the other major brands who have been in this sector for quite some time. Stay tuned!

Oztrail is taking on the giants in the adventure mini camera sector.
OzTrail’s 4K adventure camera.

Conclusions

All in all, it was a good show with a lot of interesting brands and products on display. It was much quieter than last year and we weren’t sure why this was. I think it could do with a bit of a revamp to be honest, a new location, fresh approach and some more marketing pre-event wouldn’t go amiss.

If you’re in the outdoor industry or are interested to see what goes on, then this is one you should have on your list. For more information, check out the ORA website.

Posted by Richard in What's going on
OCR World Championships

OCR World Championships

Last weekend was the Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) World Enduro Championships or more commonly known as the OCR World Championships. Competitors ran the 10km course with 30 obstacles in it and tried to knock over as many laps as they could in a 24 hour period.  This year I was chasing Shammes AlShamsi, the only entrant from the United Arab Emirates around the course.

The Race

This has to be the toughest and most brutal race that pops up on my calendar. Whilst I think that the people who do 24mtb races and 24hr trail runs are crazy I believe (and please correct me if I am wrong) that these competitors can find a rhythm and lock into it. Obstacle course racers have to break that rhythm every 40m or so to complete a different obstacle. They do a huge variety of obstacles such as rope climbs, crawling in the mud under barbed wire, scaling walls and rope traverses across the creek.

Chasing one competitor around the course is a little bit awkward as the course is so spread out. I found the best place was around the start finish area where the greatest amount of obstacles were found making it easy to jump between one  and another. I didn’t manage to get all the obstacles I still managed to get a good selection of shots with Shammes and and managed to grab a few other folks as I was waiting for Shammes to get back around to me.

Night

This has to be one of my favourite events as I simply love shooting at night. As night fell so too did the rain and fog. Both years I have shot it it has been raining and foggy which definitely add to the atmosphere of the event. I know many photographers don’t like these conditions but I love it. To a point that is, eventually heavy rain can wear me down.

Trying to pick out that one competitor in the night though became even trickier as it was almost impossible to tell one competitor from another in the darkness and the headlights shining into my eyes. I basically just ended up shooting most people in the night and hoping one was Shammes. Its always good fun playing around with different lighting setups at night. Hopefully I didn’t blind anyone but no-one complained to me so that’s always a good thing.

Morning

I got up early for another few shots but had to shoot off before the finish due to another booking. In the early hours of the morning Shammmes, like many others, had pulled the pin due to exhaustion. I still managed to grab a few more frames before I shot off though. Being the athlete that Shammes is though he is off to Andorra this weekend for not one but 2 more Spartan Race events.

I certainly hope to be back again next year. Registration for the event has opened already. The level of fitness of these athletes just astounds me and the vibe at the event itself is just great. It is well worth checking out even if racing is not for you

The rest of the images can be viewed here on my website

Details for signing up for next years event can be found here here otherwise just come along, check it out and marvel at the strength of these crazy athletes.

Posted by Richard in Events, Obstacle Course
Scott Graham: Mountain Biker

Scott Graham: Mountain Biker

I was at the new Trailshare MTB trails on the weekend to shoot some product and some portfolio shots with Scott Graham. Scott is currently leading the competition in State Downhill series and needed a few shots to pump up his portfolio for his sponsors. We thought we should also tie in a product shoot for Tyres and Soles shooting the new AMS bike strap, a silicon strap designed to hold your tyre repair kit and spare tube on your bike.

Trailshare and its cabins

We also had an exclusive tour around the new bike park on the NSW Central Coast called Trailshare. Chief trail-builder Josh Paul Smith pointed out a few of the features on the black trail for us to session. It’s still a work in progress though it already boasts 27kms of trails of varying degrees of difficulty. We spent the day on the Black run but I am looking forward to seeing the Red trail, very picturesque from all I hear. to top it off it has its own set of cabins tucked away in the bush. The trails start right at the doorstep making it the perfect little weekend getaway for riding.

It’s a great area and I look forward to getting back up there soon and checking out some of the other trails.

If you need some images for a portfolio or some new images to upgrade your profile send me a message and let’s see what we can make happen.

Posted by Richard in Bikes, Portraits, Sport, 0 comments
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