This section doesn’t currently include any content. Add content to this section using the sidebar.

LF Story Time – The Debut at Jibtopia

Welcome to LF’n Story Time, where we dig through the archives of the past and bring you some fun stories. Maybe it will be a trip down memory lane – jogging an old feeling of stoke you got years ago. Quite possibly it could be a history lesson, giving you some insight into something you never knew about. Either way, we’ll be working with some of our favorite “wake media” friends from over the years to share these stories with you. To start it off, we’re letting our staff photographer and longtime wake media man, Garrett Cortese, share a story from 2013 – when a young LF trio of Kevin Henshaw, Nico Von Lerchenfeld and Felix Georgii headed at the then brand new (and not yet open to the public) Jibtopia Wake Park in North Carolina. They spent four days there riding like crazy and filming for what would become the iconic park-riding video, “The Debut,” shot, edited and produced by Andy Kolb.

Buy “The Debut” from Apple TV.

I remember heading up to North Carolina to shoot with Kevin, Nico, Felix and Andy and not knowing what to expect. I’d heard rumors of a new System 2.0 park being installed in the middle of nowhere, but I knew it wasn’t open to the public just yet. I also barely knew Nico and Felix, having only met them a couple of times before at Wake the Line in their native Germany. But I’d been told that the whole crew would have free reign at the park to build and ride whatever they wanted in order to get some cool, unique clips. Thanks to the help of the guys behind the building of the park, Clark Davis and Alex Hamrick, we not only got a bunch of great photos and clips for the video, but we had an unbelievably fun time.

From the get-go, the guys were talking about what crazy things they could create, hack, construct or just throw together in order to get some unique video clips. Almost immediately, the large corrugated tube came into play. The first afternoon and through the evening, the guys sessioned the crap out of that thing. Eventually they all got pretty comfortable on it, and started throwing some hammers. Henshaw put down a transfer from the up part of the rail into a tantrum to back lip, back 90 out. Once it got dark, I set up some strobes to try to get a few different-looking options. I got right next to the rail and shot Henshaw as he flew by doing transfers, then shot Felix from different shorelines. The shot of him jibbing the side of the pipe, while one of the Jibtopia dogs looked on from the bus, is a favorite from the whole shoot.

The shredding and filming continued over the next couple days. They continued to send it on the kicker to corrugated pipe setup – with Felix launching some huge airs and Nico and Kevin stomping more and more technical moves. Of course, the elephant in the room was the giant, hippie-painted bus sitting on the side of the lake. It was there for a reason, but nobody was quite sure how it would go down. Fortunately, Clark and Alex were game to let Henshaw have first crack at it. Shooting Henshaw hitting it over and over was another highlight. As he got more dialed, the shots kept getting better and better. I had a ton of fun mixing things up: shooting sequences from far away to show the whole setup, shooting up close with a fisheye lens, shooting inside the bus with Alex at the wheel (Not Beer in hand, of course) with Henshaw launching off the kicker right over the windshield, and on and on. It was a blast, and due to the cold weather that was only getting colder, it ended up being the last riding/filming session of our short stay at Jibtopia.

Needless to say, we had a ton of fun over those four days at Jibtopia. The park opened later that summer, and “The Debut” released to huge international acclaim. I still look back at these photos ten years later and remember the craziness, the laughs and knowing at the time these guys were doing really cool stuff that kids around the world would later watch and try to emulate. Big thanks to the Jibtopia gang for playing host to all of us, letting everybody crash in the old RVs on site, and feeding us plenty of frozen pizzas.