NICK and JOHN HALL of Hallstyle Racing at the 2019 King Of the Hammers event in Landers California. Above Photos by Evan Walsh
The 13th annual King of the Hammers event went down over this last couple weeks at Means Dry Lake in Johnson Valley, CA. Normally held throughout the first couple weeks of February each year, King of the Hammers (KOH) is a series of races that combine desert racing and rock crawling and is the largest off-road race event in North America. This year’s races included in the event: The Every Man Challenge, KOH UTV Race, the Shootout, and the all-new Toyo Tires Desert Invitational. There are more than 400 teams competing in the event, with vehicles ranging from dirt bikes, quads, UTVs, 4WD vehicles, and Ultra4.
Ultra 4, one class of vehicle used at King of the Hammers, are custom fabricated by each team and have specific mechanical requirements that qualify them for both racing and rock crawling. These creations must be capable of speeds over 100 miles per hour for racing, but still contain gear ratios of 100 to 1 or lower for the technical rock crawling.
Longtime Azhiaziam supporters Nick and John Hall of Hallstyle Racing participated in the Ultra4 (unlimited 4400 class), finishing 2 of the 3 laps, but suffering a broken front inner IFS (independent front suspension) axle. But parts failures happen sometimes when you’re doing stuff like this.
The brothers came out of the race with lots of support from sponsors and friends, and are looking forward to the next race March 22nd in Folsom, California.
This is our first ever TEAM RIDER interview at the AZHIAZIAM Warehouse in Morro Bay California. Daniel has been a part of the AZHIAZIAM Family for about 10 years and currently sits at number three spot in the World. The volume was a little low, so you might want to turn it up on your computer and also hit the "CC" for closed captions if you want to read along. We hope you enjoy this interview as much as we did! Thanks for watching :) Videos
INTERVIEW: Live Interview with Daniel Engel 1/31/2019
Daniel Engel, Azhiaziam team rider and one of the world’s top professional downhill skateboard champions is at the Azhiaziam warehouse in Morro Bay, California to talk about his downhill skateboarding career and what he’s been up to lately.
Daniel grew up in Bakersfield, California and started street skating with his friends at a young age. He was largely influenced by the culture of competition between him and his friends, mainly his best friend Aaron who was always pressuring him to “go harder”. After a series of life-changing events, Daniel eventually decided to make skating his main focus. He quickly realized that he was most interested in going fast and staying ahead of other competitors - making downhill racing the main focus of his trajectory. In the Fall of 2016, he quit his job at the sheet mill and started racing professionally. Now at 27 years old, he completed five years of downhill racing and moved on to finish two full seasons of the World Cup Circuit.
There have been a slew of positive influences throughout Daniels skateboarding career so far. He attributes a lot of his success to his closest friends. But also mentions Daewon Song, Chris Haslam, Chris Cole, Pedro Barros, the Rogers Brothers, and also his close friends Max Capps and Tim Del. Also Key Dougherty, and Ryan Ricker, who he credits for getting him started on gravity skateboards and helping encourage him along the way.
It takes a special mindset to be able to race downhill and stay calm enough to mitigate dangerous situations. According to Daniel Engel, his average speeds on a normal day are around the 45-50 mph range. World Circuit tracks are generally 55 mph and up to around 75 mph. At the Top Speed Challenge in Canada, his friends Tim Del and Max Capps when just over 90 miles per hour. And according to Daniel, there hasn’t been a “speed cap” that’s been reached as of yet. He credits a zen, calm state of mind for his ability to deal with tight situations that arise as he’s racing. He shuts off part of his mind and just enjoys the ride. He says it’s “kind of like flying.”
He hasn’t always escaped the dangers of his sport. He was recently injured as part of a larger tragic accident at the Downhill Skate World Championship in Rio de Janeiro on 11/11/18. He suffered multiple broken bones, including two breaks near his right knee, his left PCL broken in half, a broken jaw, shattered teeth, a sprained wrist, relocated bones, and organ damage. Tragically, in the same accident, another competitor, Allysson Pastran, lost his life after colliding with an oncoming motorcycle. Daniel was able to return home with the victory of coming in third place in the world yet the win was overshadowed by the dark cloud of losing his friend.
Fortunate enough to have no head or brain injuries, Daniel is looking forward to taking it easy for the first part of 2019 in order to complete physical therapy and to let his body heal. He’s hoping to attend the Newtons 2019 IDF World Cup April 5th-7th in Bathurst, Australia at Mount Panorama and also possibly compete in the Barcelona World Roller Games, which is a side championship to the International Downhill Federation World Circuit.
Traveling has got to be one of the best parts of Daniel’s skateboarding career and it sounds like he does it the right way by fully immersing himself in the cultures that he visits. Without big paying sponsors for his particular sport, Daniel travels on a shoestring, but enjoys this way of traveling over the alternative. He’s able to keep loose plans and go with the flow, meeting really interesting people along the way. Some of his favorites of all the places he’s raced have been South Korea, with is beautiful countryside, friendly people and amazing food. Also Australia, where he has tons of good friends and likes seeing all the “critters” they have. But the overall best place in his opinion was Peru. Particularly a town in the Peruvian Andes called Chacas, where the roads, the people, the food and everything around you is amazing.
With his breadth of knowledge about the downhill skating scene, Daniel does have advice for his fans and kids who might want to give the sport a try; “Put all your weight on your front foot, and if you wobble, get lower and you won’t wobble. You’re welcome.”
AZHIAZIAM has had friends down in Brazil since day one. That is almost 20 years of awesome team work and memories with a hand full of Aerial experts down there in South America. Rodrigo Sino has been on board the entire time. Traveling the Globe surfing the world's best waves and repping AZHIAZIAM along the way.
Sino is taking his passion for the brand a step further and will now be the only licensed AZHIAZIAM Retailer in Brazil. A step that we hope opens up the supply chain for all of our friends down in South America to get the AZHIAZIAM Brand easily.
Cássio Sanchez, host do LIL MONSTER, recebe Rodrigo Sino, seu amigo de infância e lenda do surf brasileiro. Eles falam sobre surf, Gabriel Medina, Felipe Toledo, video-game e surf trips.
On a cold Tuesday morning in Los Osos California, surfer Nick Wapner was attacked by a great white shark. The shark coming from behind and getting Wapners board and even a leg in his mouth before letting go.
Wapner was extremely lucky with this shark attack as he only suffered a few lacerations requiring 50 stitches. It could have been a lot worse.
The shark attack comes just a couple of weeks after a customer showed me a video from a boat just off Montana De Oro, in which a man was baiting sharks into biting a decoy seal just off of the Diablo Nuclear plant. This guy had 7 great white sharks circling his boat and this is only a couple miles from where this attack happened. Since this attack I have talked with the harbor patrol and they confirmed that a guy had been down off Montana De Oro baiting sharks for some kind of tagging or research.
My problem with this happening is that if you are teaching sharks to bite decoys of seals and chumming to get more sharks into the area for your "research" you are in essence bringing sharks in closer than they may usually be and also teaching them to bite on things that "look" like a seal that may not actually have all the characteristics they innately go for. You are almost causing a frenzied state for these great whites.
I am not saying that this is the cause of this attack, but it does seem odd to coincide with the area that this research was going on and where the shark attack occurred.
Los Osos is now the new mecca for great White shark attacks in California, this is the same place where local surfer Kevin Swanson was attacked by a shark and also luckily survived, albeit with a huge chunk taken from his leg. Luckily there was a doctor that happend to be on the beach for Kevin's shark attack and the chunk of flesh from the shark bite was able to be sewn back onto his thigh.
Here is the video from December 28th 2014 of Kevin's friend who was surfing with him showing the damage to Kevin's board...
It is interesting to note that these attacks happened at very similar times of the year Dec 28th and Jan 8th respectively 2014 and 2019
All in all, I am glad that both of these guys are ok! Growing up surfing in the area (I did go for a surf after hearing about this recent attack) I definitely feel more vulnerable now that so many attacks are happening in our area. Maybe we need to look into the research practices of the man baiting the sharks closer to where we all love to surf and play in the ocean.
Link to our INSTAGRAM page post on the Shark attack.
The tow session lasted about 3 hours before the paddle session started, as everyone knows Kai Lenny was the stand out all day. Getting into the biggest and best waves of the day. Then Aaron Gold and Twiggy also took top honors in the paddle session.
We made the 3 hour drive home, re grouped and ended up going out to our local slab the next morning.