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SADDLE SURFER

 
 

SADDLE SURFER

Role: Director & Videographer // Photos: Illgander // Words: Illgander // Drone: CineMedia // Bike: Kris Regentin

 
 
175 FEET ABOVE THE WILLAMETTE RIVER A MAN STANDS ON THE SEAT OF HIS MOTORCYCLE AND SOARS FORWARD AT THE SPEED OF TRAFFIC.
 
 
“THE LEATHER JACKET CREAKS AS THE RIDER PULLS ON HIS HELMET. THE PIERCING FRAGRANCE OF MOTOR OIL AND BROKEN RUBBER FILLS THE AIR. THE GARAGE IS DIMLY LIT; A SINGLE WORK LIGHT HANGS IN THE CORNER. AN ASSORTMENT OF REPAIR TOOLS SHIMMER ATOP A HOME MADE WORK TABLE SCARRED BY PAST PROJECTS. A SLEEPY SUNDAY MORNING AWOKEN TO THE ROARS OF AN ENGINE.”
 
 
A narrow strip of freeway emergency lane becomes our staging area, just before the beginning of the bridge. Timing, speed, arrangement of the two chase cars, lane choice: the finer details get ironed out.
 
 
A glance back from the rider before the launch towards our objective. He will saddle surf the entire length of the Fremont Bridge’s canopy. Under the age old iron, the five of us will document the conquering of a Portland landmark. The air is still, the road quiet. One last minute to contemplate the consequence of failure. Too fast. Too slow. Bad balance. Death is a real possibility.
 
 
Onward is the only direction to go. An attempt, and then another and another. And then it happens. The wind settles for just long enough. 175 feet above the Willamette River a man stands on the seat of his motorcycle and soars forward at the speed of traffic. The shutter of a photographer claps from the bed of a truck. A lane over, the cinematographer yells at the driver of vehicle A to speed up. Above, the blades of a drone slicing through air. And the rider hears nothing but the sound of wind rippling through his helmet and his heart beating against his chest.
 
 
So dope though. The rumble and the blur and at the end it was more than we could have imaged. It happened. The rider slayed it. We caught him. Mission accomplished.