Words by ambassador Elliot Smith. Photos by Caleb Smith.

I was born in Wellington just over 18 years ago, and I have spent almost 16 years riding and living in the windy city, and if there is one thing I’ve always longed for, it’s jumps. Growing up I was extremely lucky to live in a city that had so much mountain biking to offer, although  I couldn’t help but want more. I wanted massive jumps, the kind I was seeing on the computer and the tv, whether it was Rampage or Joyride. Didn’t even matter if I was able to ride them, I just wanted to see stuff like that in person, it seemed so far-fetched because I didn’t have anything to compare it to.

I think one of the first gap jumps i ever did was a classic two metre long gap on a trail called Double Down in the whakarewarewa forest in Rotorua, after landing that, I thought I was the man. Then coming back to a “mostly jumpless” (at least within my 11 year old self’s limits) Wellington my new found “skills” were soon drowned out by the popularity of steep tech, root and rocks.

Even though we suffered a lack of jumps in my area, dad made sure to educate me on style, taught me how much cooler it looks when you tilt your bar a few degrees to the side. So with this new turnbar ability and some sub par jumping skills, we shipped ourselves off to Canada.


Now Canada had no shortage of little dirt jump spots, true flow trails and old rugged woodworked senders sprinkled throughout its forests. I had never seen anything like that before it got me sooooo excited, all these new jumps to try my turnbars out on! How rad. Eventually we made our way up to the wondrous town that is Whistler, that’s where shit got real. I tried my hand at A-line, Dirt merchant, Freight Train and occasionally a cheeky B-line lap. This all helped to really hone in my jumping ability and I was noticeably improving by the day, logging up those airmiles and starting to get the hang of this style thing everyone was so worried about. But eventually came the day where I had to move back to New Zealand, after a solid two and a half years of testing out all the pacific north-west had to offer.

Moving back had me scared that I would lose my ability to jump and do cool shit in the air, as I’d been told horror stories about previous travellers, returning with their recently developed skills, then losing them all due to Wellington’s lack of jumps. But upon my arrival I heard news of plans for new jump trails all over, a bike park an hour north that was good enough for Bas Van Steenbergen! A fully machined gap jump trail only 30 minute drive from my house or a fast paced wide jump track on a hill notorious for narrow bars and big climbs. All these new additions to the community had me so stoked, if only they were around when I was a young buck. Either way I am super grateful that the future generation (and I guess still my generation), get to enjoy such amazing work by Dirtfarm, Trailpro and TGL. It is something Wellington has needed for a long time, and I’m happy it happened when it did. It’s crazy, because of all these new jump tracks, the skill level and confidence of every rider gutsy enough to give any of these jumps a yank has just skyrocketed, there are so many more kids enjoying the thrill of the sport and it’s so good to see. The biggest plus, I don’t have to dream about big jumps anymore.