Every Friday in The Weekender we take a look at the best videos from the week that was—like a documentary on one of the West Coast’s gnarliest waves, the Wedge —and give you a preview of some of the most important events in the world of action and outdoor sports coming up this weekend.
14-Year-Old Becomes Youngest to Ski to the North Pole
Most kids go to the pool on their summer vacations. Jade Hameister decided to ski to the North Pole. This week, the 14-year-old became the youngest person ever to finish the expedition, which took 11 days—shortened due to bad weather and a depleted ice cap that made the trip more difficult. Jade, along with her father, Paul, and two other people in her support team, traveled from the Russian ice station of Barneo, 150 kilometers southwest to the North Pole. Hameister definitely pulled her weight, and then some: she towed a 110-pound sled while skiing some 10 hours a day. “Because of the many challenges you face [in the polar regions]—compression sickness, dehydration, the cold—the greatest challenge of all is, probably, the mental side,” Jade said. “You can deal with the cold, you can deal with being uncomfortable, but the effort required to deal with all of those at once can be mentally draining.” The Melbourne, Australia, native isn’t finished, either. She hopes to complete what she calls the “polar hat-trick,” by April of 2017, which will see her traverse Greenland and ski to the South Pole.
The Dirty Old Wedge
Last week, a film about the notorious Wedge in Newport Beach opened at the Newport Beach Film Festival, chronicling the history of one of the gnarliest waves on the West Coast. The Wedge was created when the break wall was built in the 1930s and has been a summer phenomenon ever since when big south swells pound the beach. The wave jacks up to 20 feet or more before barreling and terminating on the sand. Because of its shallow nature, it became a haven for body surfers and then boogie boarders in the 1980s and ‘90s, which, as is often the case in surf culture, created major conflict. Mix in surfers who started braving the wave, and the chaotic mayhem that is the Wedge is certainly film-worthy. The documentary was made by environmental consultant-come-movie-maker Tim Burnham, who recruited his filmmaking friends to get the piece finished. It’s run at the NBFF ended yesterday but it plays again at the San Diego Film Festival May 18. One of the main takeaways from the film? Ride it and you’re sure to be humbled at some point: “I've definitely had my fair share of beatings," Burnham said. "I ended up in the hospital in 2013 after hitting my head and tweaking my neck pretty good. It hasn't been the same since."
• MORE EDGE: Kennelly first woman to win main XXL Big Wave award
Hall of Fame Mountain Biker’s Remains Identified
This week, Hall of Fame Mountain biker Mike Rust’s remains were positively identified by authorities after they were found near Salida, Colo., via an anonymous tip in January. Rust had been missing since 2009 and his family’s fears were confirmed this week: he was murdered. Rust was an innovator in the mountain bike world during the sport’s infancy, creating innovative, handmade frames and tire configurations in the early days of the sport and selling them out of his shop, Colorado Cyclery, in Salida. He eventually sold his shop, buying 80 acres in remote Saguache County near Salida. When he disappeared, he made a phone call to a friend after arriving home one evening after grocery shopping, irate that someone had broken into his home. His family theorizes that he caught up to the perpetrators on his motorcycle but that they somehow overpowered him, killing Rust during the mele and disposing of his motorcycle and body in the nearby mountains (pools of blood were found near his home and on the motorcycle when it was found). His story was told in the excellent documentary, The Rider and Wolf, which debuted at last year’s Telluride Film Festival. Local law enforcement has vowed to continue the search for his killers.
Cuba’s Surf and Skate Culture
As Cuba’s borders open to foreigners after years of a repressive communist regime come to a close, it turns out there’s a lot more to the country’s sporting life than baseball. A thriving skate and surf culture has survived with little or no resources since the 1990s, as the country’s small core of athletes used whatever means necessary to ride water and concrete. The Village Next Door is a short from Bosko Media that looks at this thriving culture while promoting Havana Surf, a collective that gathers donated surf and skate supplies for the country’s youth.
What’s On Tap
Monster Energy Supercross
FS1 | Saturday, 7 p.m. ET
Ryan Dungey vs. the field is down to two races in the Monster Energy Supercross Series. Dungey needs to finish with at least a 25-point lead in the overall chase on Saturday night in East Rutherford, N.J., to win the series title.
Red Bull Simple Sessions
RedBull TV | Sunday, 11 a.m. ET
Some of the best BMX riders in the world gather in Estonia this weekend for Simple Sessions, one of the largest indoor contests in the world.