We interviewed David and Rupert from Perspective Pictures about their 3000-mile skate from LA to New York for Teenage Cancer Trust.
How long did it take you to organise and prepare for the trip?
Rupert: The trip took us about 2 years to prepare for, but that actually includes learning to Longboard. Raising the funding was probably the most time-consuming element.
David: After countless phone calls with Rupert and a trip where we skated the length of Wales, which we did last year to help us realise how tough, but also how amazing this trip was going to be.
What are your set-ups?
R: We all used Mindless Longboards, I used the Mindless Nyoka, not seen as the 'ideal' board for distance, however its the one I feel most comfortable on as it has a bit of flex, whereas the others used the Mindless Cayuga. I think people often over think distance set-ups, just use something your comfortable on and enjoy to ride!
D: I switched between the Mindless Nyoka and Cayuka, both with Mindless Talisman trucks, either with the Mindless Maji or Haraka wheels. I actually started the trip with the Nyoka, I got pretty attached to it. It's so versatile and nice to ride. By the time we were in the flatter parts of America though I switched to the Cayuga, mainly because of the fact that the deck is much more sturdy so just a lot more comfortable riding on the flat without losing any speed in the flex of the Nyoka.
What was the best part of the journey?
R: It's really hard to choose one highlight, but generally the best bits when we could think 'wow there is literally no other way we could experience this'. When people took us into their homes, fed us, showed us some awesome local spots, let us ride their motorbikes or shoot their guns! Also, we had some INCREDIBLE hills, and if you have had a hard day of skating, with 50 miles behind you, there is nothing more rewarding than 5 miles of windy downhill.
D: It's hard to say what the best moment of the trip was, to be honest. There were so many! If I had to pick a place I would have to say Omaha. We did the 24-hour skate, which does sound like a strange time to pick as my favourite part of the trip. I think that we really bonded as a team. We also had the most rest days there so that was a huge bonus, and we stayed in an amazing hotel that let us stay for free. That's never a bad thing. I think the moment that my girlfriend surprised me in New York was probably the first time after those 3 months that I finally felt intact, after constantly pushing myself further and further.
Were there any moments you feared for your lives?
R: There were plenty of moments we feared for our lives. Most notably when we were skating into Philadelphia and the traffic was crazy and gave us no room whatsoever. A woman almost clipped me and so I managed to catch up with her and film me having an argument with her. But beyond that we had some bad falls, skated into oncoming traffic on the interstate, skated at night, crossed the desert, I don't think I could count the number of times I feared for my life on one hand.
Seems like you spent a lot of time in your underpants, how comes?
R: Haha, well I think living in a bus (essentially homeless) for three months breaks down a lot of social barriers, and it wasn't long before I would happily stand in a Maccy D car park in my underwear and brush my teeth into the bushes.
Did you make many friends or have time to talk to many people?
R: We met tonnes of amazing people who I cannot thank enough for their support. We would speak to people wherever we went to try and raise as much awareness about what we were doing as we could!
D: Yes, the American people are so friendly, so we were constantly talking to people about the trip. Especially in the small towns where they would never find tourists there, so when we rolled up in some gas station with our Longboards drenched in sweat. We were a rarity in places like that I think. There was this town in Utah, I can’t remember the name now. Where in the morning as we were leaving, the whole town knew about what we were doing. So that was surreal where you woke up in some town up in the middle of a mountain in America, where everyone is waving and cheering you on.
Your travel bus looked awesome, how did you find it, what was inside it?
R: The bus was brilliant. Inside it has 2 beds, all of our gear, food, cooking equipment, water tanks etc. At the start of the trip, there were 7 of us living in that bus, using hammocks, the floor, the beds and of course the wheelchair lift to accommodate us. It was actually owned by two Americans who travel full time, and we got in contact with them and asked if they would help us out, and they agreed. So we had a few Facebook messages, one Skype call, and met them at the airport in L.A!
What was the biggest struggle you had to overcome?
R: All of the biggest struggles we had to overcome were mental. One night David and I had to cross the Appalachian mountains. So in one day skated 20 miles, and walked 40 miles only arriving at our finishing point at 6:30am the next day. This was one of the most gruelling things I have ever done in my life, and I remember standing at the top of a hill, and hearing David essentially having a mental breakdown at the bottom. Your mind will take you on a crazy roller coaster ride when you are exhausted and alone in the dark, and you will find yourself reaching the darkest places of your head. But you have to learn to pull yourself out of it and not give up, or take it out on those around you.
D: The Appalachian mountains, I really broke down just coming out of those mountains, following days and days of slow progress and the longest section of the trip without rest days, I have never felt like that before. Its almost meditative once you've picked yourself up after having a full on meltdown though, after that it was actually quite nice. Almost meditative.
Did you receive much support?
R: We received an incredible amount of support, from people offering encouragement online, to 5* hotels and restaurants offering us somewhere to stay and an amazing meal (despite how filthy and homeless looking we were after a week without showers)!
D: We couldn’t have completed this trip without all the support that we had. Whether it was all our sponsors giving us all of their support, or just someone in a gas station giving you some free water and food in the midday heat after they hear what your doing, or Matt and Josh being our support vehicle picking us up when we most needed it. Yes we definitely had a lot of support!
If you did it again what would you change?
R: If we did it again I would have taken a little more time, so we could have chilled out a little more, 50 miles a day with 1 rest day a week was definitely a tall order!
D: Its hard to say really, there were a lot of things in retrospect that you dwell on and think that we should have done differently. However, all the things that go wrong are what ultimately make this kind of a trip worth it when its over. So I don’t think that I would change anything, otherwise I don’t think that the trip would of had much of a profound effect on me and everyone would do it if it was easy.
What is your next adventure?
R: For our next adventure we are heading out to India, to travel from one end to the other by public transport with no plan! You can follow all of our adventures on youtube.
D: Rupert and I have had countless conversations about what were going to do in the future. I think the most charming idea that we have had is to get one of those Pedalo boats (preferably a swan one) and covering some kind of distance on that. I don't think there is going to be a trip as long and as intense as America for a while yet. I'd rather let my poor legs have some well needed rest.
Find more on:
Facebook for LATONY
Just Giving Page for donations to Teenage Cancer Trust.