While most of us were enjoying a barbecue or spending some quality time at the beach (or more likely sulking indoors with a book, or packing up the tent early) this summer, Alan Carnaby, Troy Bilbrough and Guy Parsons spent five weeks longboard skateboarding some 1600km from Arequipa (Peru) to La Serena (Chile).
And in the process they have become the first people in the world to skateboard over much of the Andes, through the Atacama Desert and then down some of northern Chile’s spectacular coastline.
Their carboNZero-certified skateboarding adventure was self-supported, with the boys carrying everything on their backs, travelling 70-90km a day and then camping on the side of the road in the desert when they could not find a town to stay in.
“We encountered some rather interesting situations when we would arrive in a remote village which does not see many tourists. Often we would arrive in a village after coming down a hill on skateboards with parachutes deployed, helmet cameras going, the works and the shocked and confused expressions on people’s faces were certainly a sight to behold,” says Parsons.
Along the way, Carnaby was attacked and bitten by wild dogs (and needed rabies injections), Parsons managed to pull a leg muscle and the trio were forced to survive on just biscuits for three days.
But despite the wind, the altitude, the hills, the potholes, the sun, and the wild jaguars they had "a heck of a lot of fun”.
So what exactly did they want to achieve?
“Our primary aim was first and foremost to have fun and make a few people smile along the way,” explains Carnaby. "We wanted to do something that had never been done before and we did a bit of research and found that no one had ever skateboarded this area before and in hindsight probably for good reason!”
The group also wanted to raise a bit of awareness about sustainable travel "and how, with a little effort you can make more environmentally sustainable choices”.
In order to walk the talk, the guys got their trip carboNZero certified and were required to measure, manage and offset the carbon footprint of their trip. They also are trying to raise some funds for a charitable trust called Project Litefoot. The trust aims to inspire New Zealanders to become environmental champions and is helping sports clubs reduce carbon emissions and reduce costs, helping them put more money back into sport.