Local Trip: Surf in the Mountains

Last year I was the first European mountainboarder who visited Local Trip Mountainboard Park, a cradle of Brazilian mountainboarding. The story of this place is inextricably linked with the life of its founder, Paulo Solon.

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So that’s what Local Trip looks like in 2013 © Andrey Yenin

Paulo was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro where he surfed daily. More than ten years ago he moved to a small farm near Visconde de Mauá village in the Mantiqueira Mountains about 200 km away from the shore. In 1996 there were no paved roads, only dirt trails and hills. He realized that the practice of mountainboarding will be the only option to make a board sport there in the absence of waves and the way to keep fit for surfing somehow.

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Local Trip in Visconde de Mauá, RJ, Brazil © Andrey Yenin

Those years there were no distributors or special equipment manufacturers in Brazil. They were a rare even in the USA. The only board that Paulo owned was shared between a group of his friends.

Documentary film about Local Trip © Gabriel Alho

In 1997 he decided to manufacture his own models of mountainboards, started building a track, holding competitions and training staff. All these activities generated the impact on the future and gradually became an element of adventure tourism which was already traditionally established as an attraction in the region. Due to all this factors local mountainboard experience has been covered by various Medias and expanded to The Center for Local Training Trip with the team of athletes passionate for revolutional surf in the mountains.

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1st Brazil Open © Local Trip

The first track that was built in the Local Trip simulated ocean waves and required physical efforts from the athlete on the decent. After the first attempt, a new boardercross track was constructed with various obstacles and banked turns. The last one hosts the annual stage of Brazilian Circuit Mountnainboard (former Brazil Open Challenge) since 2003.

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The first old school boardercross track © Andrey Yenin

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Mountainboarding like surfing, circa 2001 © Local Trip

Local Trip has a very particular area with tons of possibilities for enlargements. Due to excellent topography a slopestyle course with small jumps, handrails and quarter pipes appeared. Now it is equipped with night lighting and used for funny sessions.

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Slopestyle course © Andrey Yenin

On the other side of the park there is a big air. It is really good, but intended to be a part of the sequence of ramps with a huge quarter pipe at the finish. Paulo bought a garden tractor with cart recently and is very excited and motivated to put his plans into action.

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Big Air © Andrey Yenin

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Guity Ristow (air) and Leo Ristow, circa 1997 © Local Trip

During the past years Paulo continued production of his boards in a small factory. The team athletes work as testers and give him feedback, so the boards develop according to the style, body weight and height that effects on flexibility and shape.

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Mountainboard decks come in a variety of shapes © Andrey Yenin

He uses time-tested components: a composition of wood, epoxy resin and fiberglass inside the decks to scale the shore and resistance. With the goal of achieving renewable and environment-friendly materials, combined with light weight and high strength, he experiments with bamboo core.

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Blank deck © Andrey Yenin

Aluminum skateboard-like axles are light and durable. They serve powerful maneuvers in sharp turns.

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Skateboard trucks © Andrey Yenin

The lead rider of the Local Trip’s team is Thiago Solon, the youngest Paulo’s son. Thiago was born and raised in a region of mountains in Visconde de Mauá, where in the age of 4 began living and playing with the first mountainboard team in the country in which his father took part, now called Old School Local Trip.

Thiago Solon @ Canal OFF
Thiago Solon © Canal OFF

From childhood he absorbed influences from different techniques and styles of riding of that time. At 11 years old he won his first competition in a PRO category. In 2011 he won the South American Championship which was attended by Tom Kirkman, Kody Stewart and legendary Akoni Kama as judges. Last year he awarded the title of Brazilian Circuit of Big Air and Slope Style and got the support of the Municipality of the city of Recende. Department of Sports and Recreation covers his expenses for tickets, registrations, lodging and meals, so he can compete in all steps of the Brazilian Circuit which has 6 interstate steps, organized by independent local associations.

Today Local Trip unites manufactory, school and different slopes suitable both for beginners and experts: big air, boarder cross, slalom, downhill, mini halfpipe and skateboard ramp. Their aim is not only to make a mountainboard park, but to cultivate a culture of mountainboarding in the country. The Training Centre operates all year round, but the best time to visit is during from May to September, a period of low rainfall.

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Tiago Solon 9 years old © Local Trip

Thanks to Denise and Paulo Solon for welcome and help to prepare this article for publication.

Local Trip: серфинг в горах

Бразилия, где так много диких обезьян