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Down under with Elevated Surfcraft

By Ashley Davidson on

“Sir, your luggage is overweight, can you remove any items and put them in your carry-on?”

 “Unfortunately not, everything is too large to carry-on and essential for my trip.”

 “Whats in here?”


 “Its August and 100F out. How many snowboards are you bringing with you to ... let me see ... New Zealand? Is it Winter there?”


 “8? Are they all for you? Do you really need 8 snowboards?”

 —-Does a chef really need 8 knives? Does a carpenter really need all those tools? Does a painter really need the whole spectrum of colors...?—-

 “Yes Mam. They are all mine and I am going Heli Boarding for the first time and must be prepared for the unknown.”

 “Ok- well, you are at max weight, thats gonna cost you an extra $200.”

 At this point I smiled as I felt like I was in one of those MasterCard commercials and the pricelessness of happiness - and whipped out a card from my wallet.

 “Do you take Visa?” 

 As she swiped it and passed me back my card with my passport and boarding pass, 

she signed off with,

 “I hope you packed your LongJohns- have a nice trip!”

 With a smile, I removed my foot from under the scale and trotted toward security. 


 Aug 17 11:30am Queenstown NZ

 “Sir may I see your passport please?”

 “Of course”

 “It says here for your profession you are a ‘Shaper’ ... what kind of job is that?”

 “Its like a designer”

 “Then why didnt you put ‘Designer’ ?”

 “Because I am a ‘Shaper’. “

 “What do your shape?”


 “Where are you staying while you are in New Zealand?”

 “Wa Na Ka”

 “You mean Wanaka”

 “Yes- that one”

 “And what will you be doing while you are in Wanaka?”

 “Heli Boarding”

 “Welcome to Winter” and with that he stamped my passport and sent me off toward baggage claim where a thin whisp of frigid air seeped through the doorway. 

 The rest of the trip was a blur: jetlag , South was North, Orion’s belt was upside down, storms came in and out in 18hrs, the valley floor was spring and full of sheep, meat pies are tasty, we drove on the left side of the road, winter began at 1,200m, and every moment felt like Lord of the Rings, accompanied by the most friendly hospitality Ive ever encountered globally. 

 40,000’ vertical feet of expansive terrain surfed, all 8 boards ridden, and few standout memories from the dream were carried back to the waking life. 

 Enjoy a few glimpses of my dream:


 PS- Down South Bibs are called Dungarees. 






Big thanks to: @harrismountainsheliski

Photos courtesy of @pedropimentalvisuals

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