Japan | Rayne Skyline Tour Pt.2

I still hadn’t caught up on sleep from the Veggie High Hill after party in the Philippines, and Clayton was still jet lagged, so we slept in until 7:30am, two and a half hours past wake up time for the trip. Most of the day was spent acquiring materials. At one store there was a stamp station with the entire english and Japanese alphabet to play with. I wrote “I <3 stupid happy holidays" and Clayton wrote "arigatou" on his forehead which is Japanese for thank you.

japayne rayne japan skyline tour Clayton writes thank you in Japanese on his head.
japayne rayne japan skyline tour Danny being silly.

Later we arrived at a skyline that was titled “???” on our map. It looked great on google earth, but there was no street view so we didn’t know for sure if it was good. We got to the bottom of the pass and… gate! “CLOSED FOR REPAIRS” translated Nori. At this point we didn’t have enough daylight to hit another spot so we had to make a call. The options were:

1. Drive to the next hill and arrive after dark.
2. Pack the essentials for an overnight closed mountain road adventure!

Day 4
So there we were at the bottom of the mountain pass. Gate closed, no clue what the pavement is like or how steep the corners are. No daylight to find another road and there was only one way to find out if it was good. Did we send it??? Of course we did ya dummy! We had just enough food and water for an overnight closed mountain road hiking adventure. Our bags and boards together weighed around 40 pounds each so we had our work cut out for us. The question was… would it be worth it? The adventure was too appealing to refuse so off we went. Before we even left there was a stray cat that was cuddling up to us and trying to pee on our bags. He followed us up the hill for the next 20 minutes, meowing the entire time, but was scared off when we ran into a wild boar and an “itachi” which Nori translates as a Japanese ferret. After about an hour of climbing mellow and super wide hairpins, we reached the aggressive squiggles on the map… and it looked rad! The road got much steeper, the pavement was good, and the corners were interesting, not just a stack of identical hairpins. Not that hairpins stacks are terrible, we’d just skated so many already that we needed variety. On one hairpin was a cool camp spot. Nori and Clayton set up their tents on the road (why not, it’s closed!) and I set up my hammock spanning over the creek. We still had just enough sunlight for a session so we hiked a few corners up to a super steep righty to skate, shoot photos, and film the daylight away.

On the way down we slid to a stop a few feet from our tents, and built a fire on the bridge in the middle of the road. An odd but fun experience for sure.

rayne japayne skyline tour 2016 japan longboard downhill skateboard Clayton squats in front of our morning road fire.
rayne japayne skyline tour 2016 japan longboard downhill skateboard Danny Carlson drops into the steep apex during a rad corner sesh.

Days 5-6
During the night I awoke in my hammock dehydrated, having to pee and since I was set up over a creek, I drank water and peed without leaving my hammock. I drank the water first of course, don’t piss upstream! The stream during the night was relaxing compared to the usual buzz of birds, bugs, and wind. After a morning fire and breakfast, we started the hike up the mountain for a full run. There was 13-ish hairpins with dozens of slidable bends still above us, taking an hour and a half to hike up. At the top was another closed gate meaning it’s possible to drive up the back side and skate a closed road! Good to know for next time. After our morning descent, we grabbed the film gear for another brutal hike to film the best corners. There were so many interesting features and bends to the road that it was tempting to film longer, but the hiking was tiring us out and there was no food left. The next challenge was to skate from camp down the bottom 10 hairpins with all of our gear. Personally I thought it would be pretty chill but I was quickly proven wrong! All the extra weight made it impossible to stay slow. Sliding and foot braking with a 40 pound backpack on is as scary as it sounds and we quickly switched to “survival stance.” My sleeping bag would drag on the ground every time I did a heel side pre drift without sticking my butt way in the air. After a few near crashes we reached the bottom gate, exhausted, and stoked on a successful adventure. It sure was a lot of work, but our gamble paid off big!

rayne japayne skyline tour 2016 japan longboard downhill skateboard Hammock life. Danny soaks it up.
rayne japayne skyline tour 2016 japan longboard downhill skateboard Danny feels what it's like to weigh the same as Douglas Dahlua.

In the next blog post we go against better judgement and skate a oneway uphill? It was too good not to ok!

Thanks for reading,

Danny Carlson

Tour Riders:

Clayton Arthurs

Noriyuki Tamura

Danny Carlson