Walking NZ for Kidneys

My Dad calls me up and tells me he there are some special guests coming to stay at the B&B. Being my curious self, I wondered who it could be. While on a break from cycle touring, I was fortunate to meet Ros and Hugh Cole-Baker. They are traveling the length of New Zealand on the Te Araroa Trail to raise awareness for the need for more live kidney donors. Ros gave one of her kidneys to her husband Hugh October 2013 and have almost completed a challenge worth sharing.

The duo set off late September 2014 from Cape Reinga and have been walking and biking the length of New Zealand on the Te Araroa trail. During their visit in Wanaka, my Dad hosted them while the enjoyed local walks and rides around town. I Was fortunate to meet up with them for a hike up Mt Iron followed by an interview with the Otago Daily Times.

Rob Johnston & Ros Cole-Baker, supported by husband Hugh
Rob Johnston & Ros Cole-Baker, supported by husband Hugh
Walking NZ for Kidneys | Prevention – Support – Research
Walking NZ for Kidneys | Prevention – Support – Research

If you would like to find out more about Kidney Health New Zealand they are more than willing to answer any questions ranging from dialysis to transplants.

What is Kidney disease?

  • Your kidneys clean your blood by working as a filter to remove water and wastes from your body. Kidney disease damages these filters so they don’t do their job properly.
  • Kidney disease usually affects both kidneys and may also damage other parts of your body, such as your heart.
  • When enough of the filters are damaged, the body will fill up with excess wastes and water. This is called kidney failure. It can happen when you have kidney disease for a long period of time (chronic kidney disease).
  • Kidney failure is fatal if not treated by either dialysis or a kidney transplant.

The role of KHNZ:

  • To fund research into the prevention, early detection and cure of kidney disease.
  • Provide education and support in the recognition of the symptoms of kidney disease.
  • Provide resource information concerning the treatment and management of patients with kidney disease.
  • To promote the donation of kidneys and other organs and tissue for transplantation.
  • Liaise with and support patient Support Groups

It is becoming increasingly likely that anyone of us or family members will be in some way affected by Kidney disease. To learn about a donation to help with prevention, support and research please visit here.

Icebreaker

2014 finished of with fun travels and great news! I have been fortunate create a relationship with a company born and bred here in New Zealand that I have looked up to and respected from day one. Icebreaker have chosen me as one of their ambassadors leading into the new year. Stoked!
It all started when they needed snowboarders for a commercial during the winter. I put my hand up! Before I knew it I was sitting down with their Marketing Co-ordinator and Inhouse Producer a few weeks later. They kindly sent me new merino threads which will be great for the antics ahead – and because it does not hold odor, I will be doing less laundry. Happy days…

Some other good news is finding out that my story on Japan has been selected to feature in Say YES to Adventure Magazine! An amazing New Zealand publication that is raising money to help protect the Rhino and Elephant on the Laikipia Plains in Kenya. Read more about it here. Perhaps your story will feature in Volume 2?

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Kid’s Bush | Lake Hawea

 

Biking the rainforest

We parked up the truck next to some of the deepest rain-forest in New Zealand. Neither of us had been here before and we curious about the ride ahead.  While leading a VBT trip down the west coast I was able to scope out some of the local mountain bike trails. Ross (another VBT guide and I) found some fun lines nestled beneath the Southern Alps snaking through the rain-forest. Even on the isolated west coast there are still some die-hard bikers that are passionate enough to create some fun trails.

A 4km loop track is accessed only 3 minutes drive north of Frans Josef township. What looks like an old mining pit, you can ride up beside it and the trail starts from there.

Map to paradise
Keen to return one day…  head for the red pin

Aside from the rain & sand flies, there is so much potential for  amazing riding there. I hope DOC turns more walking trails into bike trails… Bring on Summer!

Demos, demos, demos!

A clear visual picture will always help a learning process. It definitely helps when the delivery is clean, simple and gives the student a solid understanding of the task. It was a privilege to not only present these tasks, but to do them on a world-class mountain like Treble Cone. The following video was a project the SBINZ team and I worked on during a couple of days during the NZ season of 2014.

Great work by http://www.360newzealand.com and the SBINZ Trainer crew. Cheers boys!

Please excuse the out-takes at the end… they insisted on including them!

Countdown to Interski, Argentina

To represent SBINZ and travel with such an awesome team gets me stoked. Especially when the next trip will be to Argentina 2015 during September! Earlier in 2014, myself and 5 other fortunate souls were chosen to represent the hard work that the SBINZ team have put in over the years.

Every four years the world of snow-sports instruction sends a team to the Interski conference. Up to 35 nations will showcase their development in skiing, snowboarding and telemark. It is an exciting time for us because we will showcase to the world the teaching theory, riding style and our unique outlook on snowboarding and it’s instruction.

For me, it will be the most unique learning environment I have ever been in. The opportunity to discover new tactics and technical information is literally world-class. With over 10 years in the instruction world I have had the pleasure of meeting many inspiring instructors, athletes and management that have all taught me something unique. In Argentina, we will have the chance to further out skills and bring home to our New Zealand instructors a fresh insight on how we can better the sport.

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Bring part of Interski will also be a massive celebration for snowboarding and the people that make it what it is! The count-down has started and we are stoked to be part of it. Stay tuned on the New Zealand blog over the next year and follow the path we take with NZSIA. If you are intersted in sponsorship opportunities please get in touch with me.

SBINZ Interski team 2015
SBINZ Interski team 2015: Rhys Jones, Sean Thompson, Sam Smith, Dan Burton, Richie Johnston & Keith Stubbs

3 years and counting!

It has been 3 years since my Dad received his new Kidney! A day worth celebrating because it represents so much to my family and I.

A couple of times a year my Dad will make the trip to Dunedin to have a checkup with the Nephrologist. Going by car each time seems a little bring, so this time both Mum and Dad decided to load their bikes to the car… Mum cycled the entire way from Wanaka totaling over 300km in 3 days! Dad has ridden much of that trip before riding as far as Middlemarch which is still an impressive 240km.

All too often people will take health for granted. It is a constant urge to maintain fitness, a balanced diet and well-being that keeps us all healthy. When we pay attention to what our body truly needs we move closer to an intrinsic balance. Move every day, eat & drink well and trust in your bodies ability to deliver. Dad and I are doing great.

It seems my family believe in this idea of a healthy lifestyle. The more km we clock up on our bikes the better we feel. Choose to take the bike more and the car less this Summer. Move more, sit less and keep your Kidneys healthy!

Bike vs Car                 

Spring Camp

Around 100 athletes & coaches took control of Cardrona’s finest features last week and the progression was mind blowing. With the Whitestar lift spinning & sleds shuttling skiers and boarders there was every chance for great things to happen. Coach to Shawn White, Bud Keene stated Cardrona Spring camp jump progression setup. If you can’t get it done here, then maybe you can’t get it done at all…

 “…If you can’t get it done here, then maybe you can’t get it done at all” – Bud Keene

The SBX course shaped up beautifully throughout the week challenging athletes from Australia and New Zealand to discover new limits of speed, agility and edge control. I was fortunate to be up there for a few days helping the NZ riders Carl Murphy & Duncan Campbell on their form. After working with Carl during the 2014 season on Treble Cone, it was great to see his progression using the skills from riding TC’s challenging terrain & strength training from the gym.

Carl Murphy Adam Dooney
Carl Murphy Adam Dooney

 

SBX Cardrona
SBX Cardrona

Variations of the AirBag were set up along the Super Pipe wall along with the bottom. The biggest bag in the southern hemi was catching athletes on boards, skis and even a sit-skis! Jody Blatchley has been ruling it on his sit-ski this season and nailed his first back-flips onto the giant pillow. Impressive!

Triples, triples, triples… Cheers of Stoke rippled across the home basin as new personal bests were made. Coaches tactfully challenged their athletes to bring new found air awareness on the jump line. Fewer speed-checks were made every day as racers pushed themselves over the rollers and berms. Old fears were controlled more and more each day as new heights were reached.

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Neversummer Riders throwing down.
Neversummer Riders throwing down.

Exciting and progressive times all week as many of them raised the bar getting ready for the northern hemi winter… Breckenridge will be a destination of choice for the park riders along with La Molina Spain, where Carl will compete in his first F.I.S race for the winter.

 “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear… not absence of fear.” – Mark Twain

Much to look forward to during the next year and it has never been a greater time to be involved in snowboarding.

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Treble Cone Export 33 Banked Slalom

The Treble Cone Export 33 Banked Slalom was another successful event. The event pulled in 60+ riders in open and maters categories. Local and international riders enjoy attending each year shredding for a prize pool of $2000 plus spot prizes thanks to Never Summer & Candy Grind.

It was local talent that stood on the podium this year and I was honored to stand next to some good friends – a great way to celebrate my Birthday! If there was an official world circuit in this event I would sign up in a flash. Until then, I will continue training in boarder cross, coach Paralympian Carl Murphy part time and work with Rookie Academy.

Winter Imports New Zealand
Winter Imports New Zealand

Check out the hi-lights by John-Jo at Flashworks Media. Thanks to 360queenstown-wanaka and Thierry Huet Photography for the images.

Treble Cone Export 33 Banked Slalom VIDEO

Winter Imports New Zealand
Winter Imports New Zealand
Richie Johnston - Banked Slalom Treble Cone Thierry Huet Photography
Richie Johnston – Banked Slalom Treble Cone Thierry Huet Photography

Treble Cone Export 33 Banked Slalom VIDEO

Treble Cone DB Export Banked Slalom – 1 week to go!

The quad lift reaches tower 6 and the SW wind really starts to kick in… Like a sand-blaster, snow is picked up and shot into me, particularly my glove-less hand which is hoping to get a photo of how epic Treble Cone’s pipes are looking.

This last week on Treble Cone has treated many skiers and riders to some cold winter conditions. The gullies are loaded with some high quality snow which has been getting sprayed all over the place by stoked locals and visitors.

The great news is that conditions are looking mighty fine for the Banked Slalom which is being held in 6 days time. An international flavor to the start list is usually expected next weekend including Olympians, World Cup racers and die-hard locals. All of which have an equal chance of winning a cash prize pool of over $2000 and assorted prizes.

35 years young? No problem, there is a Masters category just for you. Thanks to the generous and very supportive sponsor Never Summer Snowboards and Candy Grind, Treble Cone will host one of the worlds most famous snowboard gatherings.  Get your kit tuned by the pros at The Wax Room be sure to enter and I look forward to seeing you there!

Check out the hi-lights from the 2013 DB Export Banked Slalom:

Powder filled gullies! - 7th August 2014 Image: 360qw
Powder filled gullies! Image: 360qw
DB Export Treble Cone Banked Slalom
DB Export Treble Cone Banked Slalom

N.Z Living Kidney Donor Network is underway

Did you know that people lucky enough to survive the 4-5 year wait-list for a kidney, only 30% of them would receive one from a deceased doner? I was fortunate to attend a meeting recently, held by Kidney Health New Zealand. Ten keen kidney doners crossed paths in Christchurch and shared ideas on starting a Living Kidney Doner Network (LKDN).

• Helping to increase living kidney donations in New Zealand
• A support group to donors – mentor to those donating
• Educating people on personal stories
• Increasing financial support for live donors

Continued support for people involved in this life saving operation is very important to us. Providing the public with well informed information about donating and general kidney awareness is key here, because we are bound to someone who will be affected by renal disease.

We are still in the early stages of getting our project off the ground. If you have any suggestions regarding how we can make this opportunity better than it already is, please get in touch.

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