Filming a ‘Raw Run’ with skateboarder Liam Morgan
Bay Area skateboarder Liam Morgan regularly rides steep hills at high speeds amid traffic, gravel and metal guardrails. He got hooked at age 15 when he averaged 40 mph on a 12-mile hill. It was a unique feeling and one he needed more of. Safety equipment? He wears a helmet and his balance enables him to control his speed by sliding out occasionally. The above video was shot in one take with a camera mounted on the hood of the car following him and is the second in a series of “Raw Runs” produced by skateboard accessory maker Blood Orange.
Q: “Raw Run Vol. 2” is pretty incredible. What does it feel like to do that ride?
A: I’ve skated that hill a few times before, but every time is a different experience. Conditions change, traffic changes, and those variables keep me on my toes. I’m not as scared as, say, the first time I bombed a hill, but it’s still an adrenaline rush.
Q: What worries you most while skateboarding down hills?
A: I pretty much only worry about things out of my control. Other drivers and unexpected road conditions are the biggest. Let’s say I’m coming through a blind corner and there is a ton of gravel I didn’t expect to be there; it can get gnarly pretty fast.
Q: What is the key to learning how to control your speed?
A: Learning to slide at high speeds is key. I did a few of them in the video, basically you kick your board out from under you until it’s almost completely sideways. This creates friction on the wheels and allows you to slow down, very similar to the way snowboarders shave speed. Depending on the road and wheels, you can usually come to a stop faster than a car can at the same speed by throwing a slide.
Q: What were your first downhill rides like?
A: I started skating somewhat short residential roads, but the first time I skated a road over five miles long was rural Northern California when I was about 15. It was a super-sick 12-mile hill with an average speed of 40 mph. Amazing feeling that I couldn’t find anywhere else, that’s what made me keep skating.
Q: Any idea how fast you are going in the “Raw Run Vol. 2” video?
A: I’d say my speed was between 30 mph to 50 mph.
Q: How was the video shot?
A: Our rig was a Canon 5d Mark III, Canon 24-105 lens, strapped to the hood of a Subaru with a suction-cup mount. I asked my friend and the filmmaker Jack Boston to add a few words and he said: “Something to note is that most people (filming stuff like this) shoot on something wider than a 24, so ironically its making you look a tad slower.”
Q: Was the video shot in one take?
A: Yep. We were actually out all day on a different hill and decided to hit this one once on the way out of town. It turned out to be the best run of the day, so we decided to put it up. Pretty lucky.
Q: Have you ever had a serious crash?
A: Nothing too major. I’ve been hit by cars, smashed into guardrails, and left a fair amount of my skin on the road but I’ve managed to get away with only ever breaking a collarbone. Here is a good clip of me crashing that is pretty funny.
Q: Where are your favorite places to ride?
A: Malibu, Oakland, Laguna Beach, and mountain passes in Yosemite are some of my favorites runs. They all have a unique vibe. Each road has different pavement, traffic and corners. The best way to stay diverse in skateboarding is to change your environment regularly.
Q: What advice do you have for someone learning to skateboard?
A: Be safe while pushing your limits so that you feel challenged but aren’t putting yourself in serious danger. As you become more comfortable, go bigger.
Q: Was there a particular moment early on when you became hooked on skateboarding?
A: I’ve always skated parks and streets, so my love of skating has been there for a while. I was hooked on bombing hills since the first time I ever went really fast and started doing slides that I didn’t think were possible before.
Q: What do you like to do when you’re not skateboarding?
A: I like traveling, getting in the water (even though open ocean kind of scares me), watching movies and eating good food.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A. Just a quick thanks to my sponsors Comet Skateboards, Caliber Truck Co, Volante Wheels, Blood Orange, and Daddies Boardshop for always being supportive. And also, if you want a current media and news site that covers all types of skating but focuses on downhill check out wheelbasemag.com.
Liam Morgan can be found on Instagram @liam_lbdr.
November 18, 2013, 7:02 am
Isn't he also a columnist for a downhill skateboard magazine?
November 18, 2013, 10:41 am
Saw this video a few weeks ago, absolutely crazy!
November 18, 2013, 11:32 pm
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