Above is a Playlist (Trailer – Episode 16)
TEAM – Adam Colton, Paul Kent, Aaron Enevoldsen
DURATION – 2 months
DISTANCE – 1,500 miles
HIGHEST MTN PASS – 14,851 ft
HIGHLIGHTS – Living above 10,000 ft for 2 months, skating over 13 passes in the Andes, 2 days and 2 nights living on the Salar De Uyuni Salt Flat
In January 2009 I set off with Paul Kent and Aaron Enevoldsen to conquer the Andes with only longboards and backpacks. We came out back as broken down machines, with life memories and whole video series documenting our self torture.
UNTOLD ROADS – Long Treks on Skate Decks Interview with Aaron Enevoldsen
Peru & Bolivia
In 2009 Paul Kent, Aaron Enevoldsen and Adam Colton took off across South America with their backpacks and longboards. They faced a grueling journey of uneven road surfaces and uphill pushing but their determination and sense of humor kept them going. Their reward was discovering South America like no one else before. They crossed an epic 2400km over two months whilst filming every step, or push, of the way. A year later they decided to endure it all again by crossing Morocco in the same fashion, albeit a little bit more prepared. A few weeks ago I managed to talk to Aaron about their South America trip and the plans for the future.
When did the size of the adventure ahead really hit you?
There was gigantic notions that struck me at different points. I mean, when we were telling our friends that we were going to skate across an entire country or two within some of the most mountainous terrain in the world, we weren’t boasting about it like it was already done! We had a concept, and a destination, we prepared like it was going out of style. But nothing struck me harder than the day we actually landed in Peru, flying into Lima, the first real desert, and the most foreign place I’d ever been too. Watch our episode 1 and you can see that Paul and I were basically losing our minds just sitting in our hotel room.
But the size of the adventure struck me the hardest over time. When we’d tell people 1500kms into the journey that we skated all the way from Lima with no vehicle, rarely the locals believed us. Especially when we got to Bolivia, I remember people telling me I was a liar
How did you manage to focus whilst out on the road?
Our focus was rarely diverted from the mission. I attribute our great distances covered day to day to Adams drive and intolerance to apathy. He had done 3 trips in the previous years (USA,NZ, France), and he was familiar with many of the challenges by that point. Although this was his first trip with no support vehicle and a backpack. We’d stop for a maximum of two days in major cities. When his board broke in Puno, Peru, we finally took a well deserved break of about 3 or 4 days. When we got back on the road after that break, it was like nothing could have been more natural.
A few times in your blog you mention robbing banks. Did you manage to?
We’ll leave that to the Bolivian authorities to decide if it was ‘robbing’ or ‘borrowing.’ I’d like to think they’ve made their money back by now in the tourism we’ve created from our videos.
What was the biggest challenge on the road?
Hmm, this question can be answered in a few ways! A general challenge we encountered from the first day to the last day would have been food. We had to carry enough food on 30-50km stretches of road that had no signs of human life sometimes, so typically the only take-along food we could find was select packages of Cookies much like Oreo’s, then the typical stale bread, on a lucky day we found the occasional fruit stand, but generally in the Andean Pueblos at high altitude they had Bananas if you’re lucky. After eating packaged cookies and chips and drinking Inca Cola for a long stretch of road, we’d sit down to a meal in a town that consisted of White Rice, Fried Egg, more Stale Bread. That combo in the small towns was the main meal deal dude! Sometimes they’d put that Egg in the Bread, and you’d have an Egg Sandwhich, that was when you were at a 1 ½ Star restaurant.
The other challenges that faced us were High Altitude and trouble breathing, Injuries and infections. To top it off Adams board broke after riding on rough, jittery pavement for two days straight!
What was the most memorable part of the trip for you?
The reality of making your wildest adventure come true. I mean, you can’t say you’ll ever regret anything like that unless something really shitty happens to you! Every single day there was huge uncertainty of survival. Even making it home was uncertain, Paul and I bought a 1-way ticket to South America, and we didn’t have enough money to make it back! Lesson learned. But the amount of memorable moments are too many to choose one. So I’ve listed some really epic moments in our videos you may enjoy and the episodes they occur in…
Episode 3 – Amazing Peruvian family who took us in and fed us, followed by the most deadly and dangerous road you’ve ever seen. Episode 5 – Generally an fun and memorable episode. Episode 9 – The craziest road you’ve ridden! Episode 11 – Trespassing on the Tarmac of the Cusco Airport (watch the end of episode 10 for the full story leading up). Episode 13 – Adams board breaking, and then Paul breaking his sternum with his very own chin…. Check it out Episode 16 – If I could describe a more surreal situation, it would be heaven itself.
Did you encounter any dangerous situations?
Well the end of the trip had gotten a little bit out of control. Adam ditched Paul and I, so then we both chased after him for two days until we caught him, then he got away again, I got sick and decided to let Paul skate after Adam yet again, while I laid in a field moaning and groaning overcome by some strange diarrhea sickness. Yes this sounds rather silly. But then….. I realized I left all my money in Paul’s backpack except my back-up bank card. Nobody would give me a ride because I had no money, I ran out of water. Story ends happily, a narcotics officer gave me a ride after two days of hunger and struggle.
What did you take away from the the trip?
The gigantic sense of accomplishment!
Did you guys do anything different for the Morocco trip?
We were very prepared for Morocco. Had more experience with the camera, and we also goofed around quite a bit because there wasn’t the true element of struggle like we had in South America. It turned into an adventure fairy-tail comedy.
What would you say to someone who is contemplating going on an adventure like you guys have?
Dive in with 10 fingers and come out with 7! Make sure you’re with the right people, make sure you pack light and bring the absolute minimum. That being said, don’t forget anything crucial to your survival (finding this balance when the bottom line is survival can lead to very critical decision making) Ask us any questions you might have firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re not shy.
What’s next for Long Treks on Skate Decks?
Considering that Paul is now the world champion of Long Distance Skateboarding I can say something could probably happen in the future. I try not to let the people telling us we should do another trip affect whether or not we should actually do another one together. It will happen if the cards play out in regular life. I ain’t no super hero and it’s nice to live a stable life. I could have a career if I spent the money and time on these trips towards education! Oh wait I have a career….. I work at Rayne Longboards.