At the still-hot-and-sticky end of a long summer, Damien Vergez of FastFokus.com came out to Tenerife with a team of mountain bikers and all his camera and video equipment to film some of his favourite riders getting to grips with the unique landscape. Thanks to Matt at Sorted Sites, a mountain biking enthusiast who was on hand to help the film crew with their work, Tenerife Magazine caught up with Damien to find out what had brought him to Tenerife.
Many thanks to Manuel Faster Rodriguez and to Damien Vergez for these amazing images 🙂
TM: Watching your incredible video of freeride mountain biking on Tenerife, I can see that you and the riders all had a brilliant time trying out the island’s tracks and trails. What is ‘freeriding’ and who are the top riders currently in the sport?
Damien: First, Freeride mountain biking is a state of mind, it’s type of mountain bike riding style. Freeride usually involves large drops, jumps, and manmade stunts. The trails are often accessed by shuttle or ski lift but can be pedaled as well. Freeride bikes usually have large amounts of suspension travel (180mm and more) and you can ride everywhere.
You have a lots of very good top riders in this sport and it’s difficult for me to give you names”¦ but riders like Darren Berrecloth, Thomas Vanderham or Matt Hunter are some of my favourites
TM: Can you tell us how this project came about, where else you have filmed in the series and how you came to be in Tenerife?
Damien: It’s been almost one year since I began work on this project. I came up with this crazy idea to travel to different countries and film some amateur riders with their favorite professional rider in some of the most beautiful trails on the planet. Who hasn’t dreamt of spending time with their favorite rider/player? Regardless of our nationality, it’s something we all think about.
There is less and less snow in Europe and this sport is taking a large market share in the ski resorts. Tenerife is an ideal place for mountain biking. Weather is always good, you have big mountains, lots of awesome landscapes. Mountain biking is an incredible way to see the island of Tenerife! The island has huge potential to become a must in Europe!
TM: How much work do you have to prepare the ground for filming?
Damien: It depends on the country and the place I am filming in. Normally I don’t need to prepare and work the trails I film because most of the time I film in ski resorts or places known worldwide like Whistler in Canada. Here in Tenerife you don’t have special “freeride” trails, only pedestrian ones.
TM: How did the bikes cope with Tenerife’s volcanic terrain?
Damien: The Tenerife ground is very difficult for bikes and especially for tires. You need to be careful because if you go too fast you can fall directly inside a cactus”¦ hahah 😀
TM: Can you tell us where on Tenerife you did the filming and how long it took you?
Damien: More than 70% of the island is covered by national parks. Each national park has its own restrictions. Some, like Teide National Park, we were forbidden to use for our purposes. It was difficult to find the right places with so many restrictions. Most of our images where taken in “Parque Rural de Anaga” and “Bike Park Tenerife” (a private park in Tegueste). The filming was done over one full week.
TM: Which area of Tenerife did your riders like most and why?
Damien: Parque Rural de Anaga is really nice for mountain biking because at the same place you can find volcanic and forest trails. We also toured the island by car, and I must admit that we liked almost all places on the island. La Punta de Teno, El Teide, Vilaflor, Los Gigantes, Playa de Socorro… After mountain biking you have so many good places to visit!
TM: Would you recommend Tenerife as a good venue for freeriding and for mountain biking in general?
Damien: For sure I will! And it’s already done! I also recommend Tenerife for your holidays. Sun all the year, beach, mountains, forest”¦ and it’s cheap! You can find pretty much all you want in the same place. It’s heaven, no?
TM: What’s your next project?
Damien: I have lots of great projects but I can’t say too much at this time. But I’m always looking for partners and customers, so if you need films or photos for action sports, feel free to contact me at fastfokus.com
TM: Thanks for chatting to Tenerifemagazine.com, Damien, and good luck with continuing to spread the word about freeriding! 🙂
Damien: Thanks to Tenerifemagazine.com for this interview. I hope to come back soon in Tenerife, it’s a wonderful place!