It has been pretty much an annual thing, returning back home to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during the the Aussie summer. Only this time things were much different, it wasn’t all about enjoying the local food or bumming around for the uni holidays anymore. This time around I was a downhill skateboarder looking to make the best of my 3 months there.
Abdil at Janda Baik (Photo by Kultur Kampf)
The downhill scene has been more or less a one-man show for a few years now, mainly kept alive by local street luger, Abdil Madhzan. It was in February ‘09 when I first met Abdil (that was before I even considered doing anything downhill related). I sat in on an interview he did for a local newspaper and listened in as he talked about how much potential this country has for our great sport and also, how hard it is to be the only one to be involved in gravity sports in Malaysia.
Ironically, just a few months later, we started connecting with a handful of longboarders on Silverfish and eventually formed the Longboarders Guild of Malaysia on Facebook. By then, I had already returned back to Melbourne, but I kept track of the group’s progress now and then. There were monthly sessions going on at the local park, TMK, involving a mix of longboaders and shortboarders. The local Billabong stores started stocking Sector9 boards, along with other local skate shops occasionally carrying a few Globe and Stella Longboards. Wheel Love skateshop is in the process of bringing in some Landyatchz decks as well.
Some of the locals at TMK (Photo by Adlan Farazi)
By the time I got back in December a few guys had already bought some downhill setups and were more stoked than ever to move on from skating in parks to bombing hills. We were out skating, hill hunting and just hanging out every week. I probably skated more in those 3 months in Malaysia than I ever did in my 3 years in Melbourne. The benefits of having a car instead of having to rely on public transport :)
One of the local favourites was a run down in Janda Baik. This was a pretty mellow spot, only 1.4km long with speeds from 40km/h to 60km/h. With barely any traffic, the only thing to watch out for were stray dogs coming out from the trees and tailing your ass (what better way to push yourself to go faster?). It was the perfect hill for beginners and was mainly where we brought anyone and everyone who was interested in downhill.
Breakfast before heading up to Janda Baik (Picture by Kultur Kampf)
But, I have to say one of our best hills is in Bukit Tinggi. Just a 20 minute drive away from Janda Baik, this is a private road which led to a hotel resort at the top of the hill. The rideable section is about 5km long reaching a top speed of 78km/h on skateboard and 90km/h on luge. This road is both a test of endurance and skills. Unfortunately, we only had the chance to ride this road once during our stay. We had brought Martin Siegrist back to his favourite spot while he was in town, only to get busted by the security and management on the 3rd run down. We got a good solid half an hour lecture telling us we weren’t allowed to skate here unless we had an event pre-approved by the management. That being said, we respected their wishes and stayed away because if there were to be an international gravity event in Malaysia, this would definitely be the place to do it. We wouldn’t want to blow our chances by pissing off the people who would ultimately decide if an event could take place.
G, Martin and Abdil at Bukit Tinggi (Photo by Kultur Kampf)
Going down Bukit Tinggi (Picture by Kultur Kampf)
Lucky for us, we found a good hill worthy of replacing our Bukit Tinggi run. Further down south from the city was Hulu Langat. A slightly shorter but equally challenging run, we frequently found ourselves sharing the road with cyclists and the super bikes. There are a few other hills around but I think I’ve revealed enough for the moment :)
We did our best to spread the stoked there. We collaborated with Wheel Love to host a screening of Colabo’s Fellowship of the Bearing DVD (which I just realized I left behind). We also chipped in whatever spare gear we had as prizes for a little race we had organized for all the beginners in the group. It was great just to meet all these new faces and get to do shitloads of skating with all the locals (and internationals as well).
Outside Wheel Love (Photo by SuKeats)
Loren getting on board (Picture by SuKeats)
So if you ever find yourself in the neighborhood, make sure you stop by and hook up with the local crew. There’s good food, cheap beer, awesome hills and a bunch of friendly locals. As for me, I’ve decided to return back home for a few years once September comes around. There’s plenty of potential for the scene to grow and I’ll be doing my best to spread the stoke wherever and whenever I can.
Here's a video of the skating we did:
Special thanks to Abdil for showing us all the awesome spots; SuKeats and Wheel Love for all the support; Loren, Fendy, Kultur and the rest of the guild for taking all the videos/pictures and giving us an awesome summer.