JULY 2018 | The Coalition: The Sequel – A Manifesto
Join the Coalition (photo: Mathis)
THE COALITION: The Sequel – A Manifesto
The Coalition all started with the Valdosta Wake Compound crew hanging out talking about putting together some clips for a few web edits, which evolved into The Coalition web series. After doing that for a while, we realized that we were getting quality content at the park and winching had worked its way into the mix, so we decided to put a little more time and effort into making one big project which grew into The Coalition. The Movie. The first movie happened very organically, the crew was hungry, the canvas was fresh, and the opportunities were endless, it was a blast! After the movie dropped, a lot of people were stoked on it so naturally a sequel was born. Like any sequel it had to be bigger, better, stronger, longer, and have more explosions, so our first order of business was to plan a trip to kick off filming. We wanted to go to an untapped winching destination that was out of the country. Some homies from Argentina reached out to us and said they would be down to help us out by lining up transportation, tools, generators, kickers, trailers, spots, and places to crash if we decided to go there. We got our squad together and when it was all said and done, we ended up with 11 people traveling there, plus however many were in the Argentinian crew, and the plan was to go for a month. We did some research and figured out that it would be totally possible and legal for us to check our own winches as luggage on our flight, so we hit up Leader Winch Co and they got us two brand new winches for our adventure.
Pancho Luchessa locking one in (photo: Mathis)
Terry Bailey with that perfect pull (photo: Mathis)
Quinn likes to play in the mud (photo: Mathis)
The day we left for Argentina was going way smoother than we expected. We got the winches checked-in, made our flights, and retrieved our winches from the carousel at the Aeropuerto de Buenos Aires, Argentina’s only international airport. It wasn’t until we were about 50 feet from the automatic exit doors that we were stopped and pulled aside by a curious Airport employee who was wondering about our two huge 100 lb. boxes containing the winches. Well unbeknownst to us, right before we went on this trip, Argentina had passed a law that banned any gas motors from entering or leaving the country. However, being the “corrupt” country that Argentina is, we were given the impression that if a certain supervisor was there on a certain day, that it would be possible to pay to get the winches out of the airport. Well that day turned into weeks which turned into never. In the midst of this game of limbo, we were busy rounding up backup winches and everything else we would need, the number of people on the trip grew and the amount of space in the vehicle’s got tighter but we were on a mission to make it work no matter what. So after a week of getting our shit together, shredding at Renton Wakeboard Complex, and waiting to hear news on the winches, we had to cut our losses and embark on the winch trip.
We mapped out our course through Argentina and quickly realized that none of the spots were close to each other and they pretty much spanned the whole country. So for a month we traveled the country of Argentina…at times it provided, other times it was like an oil rig trying to pull from an empty well. By the end of the trip, and over 6000 kilometers later, we were starving, exhausted, bruised, and beaten but had seen an entire country and wakeboarded in places that no one had ever ridden before. Overall it was an incredible experience that could never be traded or replicated. Even coming home had its hurdles though because we were detained with the winches in the Atlanta airport and were lucky that they didn’t confiscate them since the Argentinian airport employees failed to give us the proper documentation to bring the winches back into the US.
Winching = walking (photo: Mathis)
The “Coke Man” approves (photo: Mathis)
As soon as we made it back, the real world was in full effect. With the first Valdosta Yardsale a couple months away, we had to shift our focus from filming to building the setup. Making a movie has its ups and downs and you can always bet that there will be obstacles along the way which can come in many forms. For this movie, a plaguing series of injuries over the course of the last year has kept us at a steady pace rather than full speed ahead. Wes Jacobsen broke his ankle filming the first movie but didn’t know until it started bothering him while filming for the sequel, Quinn Silvernale broke his leg mid Yardsale build, Wes Huber broke his arm… twice, and Terry Bailey smashed his face into a metal pole while winching.
A lot of times when someone sees a winch part or video they only get the clips or the bangers, but the most interesting part are the stories behind each of those clips or photos. The bonds created on the road and seeing the world through winching are unlike anything else. Of course, the productivity of each winch trip is totally dependent on the crew. The crew along with the spots will make every trip develop its own unique theme.
WMJ getting pitted in the jungle (photo: Mathis)
THE TRAIL OF TEARS TOUR:
A quick, three day, trip through north Georgia and Alabama with Terry, Huber, Quinn, and Blake. Jeff Mathis came to meet up with us to shoot some photos on the first day since it was his day off from the powersports dealership. The first spot we got to was a big mill house perched up against a large but perfect spillway. We arrived the night before to scope it for the morning and we were all set, but the next day the temperature dropped from a steamy 85 degrees to 50 degrees with howling winds. Obviously we just dealt with the cold but it made the day much more of a challenge. Jeff showed up and after a few hours, we had some sick content. So sick in fact, that Jeff ended up quitting his job that day and now he is the editor of this fine publication. That day Quinn got his wall ride down the drop that turned into the cover of Alliance Wake 18.2 and both Huber and Blake got tricks down the drop as well with everyone hitting the spot in different ways. On the second day of the trip, we woke up in a state park with an incredible spot that was tucked away on a closed off road through the park. We got all set up and ready to roll but just as Jeff showed up with the coffee, a park ranger found our illegal winching operation and instantly kicked us out. We packed up and continued our excursion. As we rolled through the countryside, we started to notice that everywhere we went was marked with official “Trail of Tears Route” signs, hence the name “Trail of Tears Tour.” The second spot that day seemed promising: a public lake in a park with a small boat ramp, it all seemed like some good cover for us to drop in the kicker and set it up for some kicker to rail action. Terry got a good little session going and got his clip on his last try before we ended up getting the boot. Once again, we loaded up all our shit into the trailer and charged forward. After a long haul we made it to the last spot of the day which was a massive drop that Terry was keen to switch ollie down. The set up was a mission in itself and the sun was dropping with the temperature, fast. Terry sent it once to size up the drop, but by the time his second and third attempts would come around, he was nearly hypothermic and ended up kneeing his face on his third try. Fortunately he was fine so we went to scope the spot for the last day and crashed in a Walmart parking lot for the night. The third day started with a trip to Home Depot where Quinn got a 2×6 to sure up an unfinished railing on a deck that was positioned perfectly above the spillway at the first spot. Quinn ended up getting some shots hitting the rail he added on to the drop and Huber got some clips going through a metal frame then down the drop. We met a local named Mike with a Coca Cola tattoo positioned on his shoulder directly above a Diet Coke tattoo and showed us his gun. Also multiple people were seen leaning up against the rail that we finished for the park, so overall the day and that entire trip were better than you could ever ask for on a winch trip. Jeff drove from Atlanta to meet up and shoot with us all three days of that trip and we were stoked to get photos along with the clips.
Wes Huber handling this man-sized drop with ease (photo: Mathis)
Quinn off the top rope (photo: Mathis)
No handrail is safe while Terry Bailey is around (photo: Mathis)
The winch gods smiling on Blake Bishop (photo: Mathis)
Huber threading the needle to a tasty drop (photo: Mathis)
The Jacksonville Fence of Death Tour
Experiencing a successful winch trip is the highest high that a sewer rat can get but with the highs come the lows and the lowest lows can happen in a split second. This trip started off with Terry tacoing a chain link fence and walking away clean the first day, but in a twist of dark and ominous fate, the trip ended with Terry fracturing his face in 14 places on the end-post of a different chain link fence. After the close call with the fence on the way to Jax, the squad got a little airbnb and took it easy before the next days mission, where they would be joined by Cole Vanthof and Jeff Mathis. The next morning, Pancho and Quinn got a solid session in on this massive pipe feature. After they stacked their clips and got their shots, we packed up and moved on to the next spot. We eyed up this insane decline fence rail that was down the road from the first spot. Terry had been looking for a perfect fence hit like this for about a year and was really stoked to have a go at it. We set it up and he got busy. He got a couple clips on it straight away and started to feel comfortable on the fence so he wanted to get a little more tech on it. He had a few really close attempts at his harder trick but the sun and temperature were dropping yet again. He was ready to bail because the cold had gotten unbearable for him, but as fate would have it, he ended up walking back over after trying to warm up his body a bit and wanted to have one more hit on it. In hindsight, we should have just said “No, lets just come back tomorrow and get it,” but in this case he seemed to have the fence dialed so he went for it again. As he got up onto the fence, he leaned forward causing him to slip out on his toes and BAM. The next thing we know we are pulling Terry out of the water, and speeding to the hospital. This of course was the lowest of lows for us, almost seeing a homie die before your eyes is heavy and makes you question everything you’re doing. His accident could have been so much worse though and watching him recover and seeing his drive to get back and ride again has inspired all of us.
With the good comes the bad…Terry enjoying it before things went south (photo: Mathis)
Wes ripping some turns (photo: Mathis)
It puts it all into the perspective that good and bad things happen when you’re pushing yourself, but it’s all about the journey. There’s really nothing better than squadding up in the truck and heading out to explore new winch spots, without knowing what the end of the excursion will bring. Sometimes you leave a four day winch trip with one clip of one person and that’s a success and other times you have to leave early to rush someone to the hospital and, as long as they survive, that’s a success.
Now we are in the wake of the Valdosta Yardsale 2 and everyone is healed or healing and we are still out here winching and stacking clips. Sure there were plenty of times where it has felt like everything is f#*&ed and nothing is going right but that’s how the world works and if you are patient and vigilant, you can make it happen. That has basically been the theme of making this movie: patiently overcoming the hurdles and going after any opportunity to film when our bodies allow it.
Closeout chaos with Dary Znebel (photo: Grange)
Big drops require big balls and Terry’s definitely got ’em (photo: Mathis)
Big Wes flexin’ on the bollards rail 2.0 (photo: Mathis)
Fortunately we have a full blown network of winching aficionados and a squad that has each other’s backs and who are down to work their asses off for one another, which makes winching so much easier. So other than the injuries and a few bumps in the road here and there, the filming has been going really well. Whether the movie drops tomorrow or a year from now, you can bet that we’ll be steady stacking clips until it hits your eyeballs. So just stay patient and the movie will be here before you know it. The rough cut is going together as we speak and the final product will beam down from the mothership when you least expect it…or when you most expect it, who knows?!
Gnarth Slayder (Galactic representative of the Space Mob Coalition)