Red Bull

GoPro + Kirby Chambliss = Stunning


There is no point in watching any other YouTube video today. Every day we are bombarded by links to videos, now even more so with the drivel coming out of Socialcam. I know how tiring it can become, but please, take a minute, blow this up, turn up the volume and sit back in awe as you watch GoPro's latest offering with Kirby Chambliss in his Red Bull stunt plane.

Kirby has just made his way onto the top of my list of "random people I want to interview on this blog".  I'm going to do my damnedest to make it happen.  Watching the video over and over, I'm most fascinated by his facial expressions.  I guess I would assume that a pilot maneuvering this way should be grim faced, gritting his teeth and sweating. Kirby? Not so, Kirby looks like he's at a spa getting a massage - a man totally at peace. I wanted to cheer when he relaxed into a smile, flying upside down, over the rock formations at sunset. I felt like he was having a little laugh at the fact none of us understand the beauty of the world from his perspective.

"Gonna pop up into that torque roll, with the nose straight up. Then I'll fly backwards."

"Coming right at you......I promise I won't hit you"

I'm not naive enough to compare this to the flying my grandfather did, but I think it makes me understand it a little more.  I grew up fascinated by the stories he's tell me of  his bombing runs in Burma during WWII. Sitting on his knee, he'd tell me about nose dives that far exceeded the speed rating of the plane, with everything shaking loose, only to drop a bomb and switch direction before he either hit the ground or got shot out of the sky.  I remember him saying he was in his element during those runs.  Watching this video made me feel like I might understand a little better what his "element" was. Enjoy.

Gizmodo posted the video this morning - hat tip. Love it.

Photo Credit: Balazs Gardi - incredible photography.

Oakley Downhill Derby


Oakley is pretty good at events for the employees and we’ve been lucky enough to do a LOT of random things there over my 5 years. However, the Downhill Derby we put on last year took the biscuit for the best yet. It was wild – the commitment from the teams that entered blew my mind.  Stupidly, I thought that it might be a big disappointment. I mean, surely none of the teams would put in real effort, nobody would fabricate legitimate racecars, test performance weeks in advance, carefully select people based on the skills they bring to the team or generally grind the company to a halt for a few days in 2011… surely not… Wrong. It done gone got brung. Big time. 23 teams entered from the company, every one with a unique theme and every one planning to win. Derby tanks, kegs, rum bottles, golden baths, Nascars and fighter jets rolled up to the start line one Friday afternoon to compete with a ferocity I’ve rarely seem.  People might have died.  We got pretty clear instructions from our head of design:  “You’re the design team here – win”.

It quickly became clear we had some serious talent on the team. One of the designers arrived at work one day with a tubular chassis he “knocked together last night” and the “sketches” from the designers looked like we were in the final review process for a new sports car. It became really fun, really quick.

We built a P51 Mustang and dressed simply as racecar drivers, keeping it classy. Classy is a little dangerous though, we could be seen as boring, boring at Oakley is very bad.  However, our team genius, Jano, is an extrovert and had an idea that guaranteed zero boredom - that his idea skirted along the lines of indecent exposure was conveniently overlooked by the company. . Ricky Bobby “on fire” in his tighty whities 100% STOLE THE SHOW.

The 2 40,000 cubit ft smoke bombs that I lit in our exhausts prior to the green light didn’t hurt either…

Pictures tell the remainder of the story. We did as instructed and won everything and are now Oakley sponsored in the official Red Bull Soapbox Race in Los Angeles this year. Watch this space.

[gallery link="file" columns="4" orderby="rand"]