• 38 SPECIAL

    Riding Deep in the Woods of Vancouver Island

    Photos Hoshi Yoshida | Video Scott Bell Visuals | Words Mark Matthews


“The trip was one of the best I’ve ever been on, and having the opportunity to spend a week with such high-caliber riders and learn from them is something I’m truly grateful for!” Andrew Giesbrecht


What happens when you gather a group of freeriders, unleash them on Vancouver Island, and add a dash of SR SUNTOUR's 38 forks into the mix? You get a week filled with ridiculous moments, lots of laughter, and some epic riding. I had the golden opportunity to organize an unreal week of riding with my fellow SR SUNTOUR teammates and a carefully hand-picked selection of local riders who are keeping the freeride scene thriving on Vancouver Island. Everyone needed to be eager to take on the gnarliest features this island has to offer. Joiningme were my teammates Kurtis Downs and Dylan Crane, alongside the local talents: Andrew Giesbrecht, August Nesbitt, and Tor Cameron, who added a special touch to the experience. This trio of up-and-coming freeriders has been crafting insane, progressive lines deep in the woods, keeping the rough AF spirit alive and well on Vancouver Island.

“It was fantastic to show everyone around Mt. Steve and watch everyone ride the jumps. That was the best session we've ever had there.” - Tor Cameron

Our week began at "Mount Steve" near Victoria, named after its private landowner, Steve. This spot is a freerider's dream, offering a mix of chunky, steep rocky riding, old-school ladder bridges, big drops, and trickable senders. We warmed up with a lofty trick jump, and, within the blink of an eye, our crash reel for the trip had started. Yes, you read that right, within the first hour!

Next, we ventured to August's unique zone in Cowichan. Here, we discovered wide-open,freeride lines in a gravel pit perched atop a mountain. The session included some personal firsts, like Kurtis front flipping a drop, and August sending it harder there than he ever has! But the most stand-out feature was a long transfer gap over a mini canyon with an impressively tight and soft landing zone. I'm pretty sure at least two of us ended up in the trees at the bottom... more than once!

Unfortunately, Tor went too hard off a drop and suffered a hard fall, breaking his wrist. Nonetheless, he remained in high spirits all week. “My bike and I went off the same cliff; I wasdriven to the hospital, but the RUX 38 came out without a scratch.” - Tor Cameron

Dylan Crane

For me, the highlight of our trip was a visit to my own trail in the Comox Valley, known as "Sharknado." This trail consists of 12 consecutive hits (many of which are shark fins), each big and technically challenging, with super tight distances between them. The notable “stump gap” features a very tight corner that transitions into a steep jump over a 12-foot tall stump. We saw some tricks go down on it that didn’t seem possible before!

Despite the super dry conditions, the crew took on the challenge, with Kurtis and Dylan completing full top-to-bottom runs. Before this day, nobody besides me had ever made it beyond jump #2. Kurtis was the first person besides me to complete a full run, and it was an unreal feeling to see the pure excitement on his face when he made it to the bottom with me the first time.

Mark Matthews
Kurtis Downs

I was blown away by everyone's riding that day and their approach to tackling the features. Building Sharknado was a gradual learning process for me, one jump at a time. However, these guys faced the challenge of conquering it all in just a few hours!

As we wrapped up our whirlwind week, we found ourselves physically and mentally exhausted. Our final day took us to my other trail, "Moon Boot," where we encountered more big features. August was taking a well-deserved break, Tor was on the sidelines, and the rest of us were simply drained. But the trail has a super flowy vibe, highlighted by an aesthetic hip step-up jump in a mossy gully, which is definitely one of my favorite jumps of all time. It’s incredible to witness other people experiencing the same feeling there.

"It was sweet to see the guys riding and enjoying some of my lines I've built, and being able to get a trick that was on my mind as well as seeing other guys pull off some awesome stuff." - August Nesbitt

And just like that, the week came to an end, leaving us with a stack of incredible memories. I want to extend heartfelt thanks to SR Suntour for granting me the freedom to organize this unforgettable trip. We brought our team together, built new friendships, and kept the freeride spirit alive while putting the 38 forks to the test.