[Tracing the Edge playlist, kick back and watch episodes 1-5. Video: Fitz Cahall & Bryan Smith]
Our friend Fitz Cahall, who you know from The Dirtbag Diaries, and his partner Bryan Smith have created a new 10-part video series, Tracing the Edge, that peers into the lives of three Patagonia ambassadors. You saw the first four episodes in the Tin Shed. Today we're picking up the series with episode five. Read on for some background on the project from Fitz, then watch episode five with Gerry Lopez. You can look forward to a new episode every week from here on out.
Adventures don’t always begin at trailheads. They can start in the most mundane places. Take for instance this dorm room at the Banff Centre for the Arts I’m currently calling home. The bedspread is the most wonderful floral pattern. Just lovely. Canadian reality TV is just as inane as its American counterpart – you lose just as many brain cells watching it, so I don’t. Whenever I’m here, lovely Banff always provides perfect working weather – steady rain.
It was in a room just like this on a rainy day much like today that Bryan’s and my adventure as collaborators and friends began almost two years ago. It began with beer, or maybe a couple of beers, and then it evolved into an ongoing discussion about what it means to be a modern adventurer or outdoor athlete. Aside from being a whiz behind the camera and having the work ethic of mule, Bryan is also a professional kayaker with a slew of really adventurous first descents to his name. I’m a decent climber. A passionate mountain biker. The most stoked snowboarder on the hill. These are euphemisms for mediocrity. Yet Bryan and I really aren’t all that different. We don’t melt when it rains. Neither of us are afraid of the dark. Long approaches with awkward packs suck equally whether you’re a pro or a kook. Our skill levels vary, but our passion for the outdoors and the people who make the natural world their home is equal.
That’s the underlying reality of our community. The legends of our sports harbor the same passion as the weekend warrior. At their root, our shared knowledge of thirst, fear and success are what make us a community. It’s with this thought in mind that Bryan and I embarked on our latest adventure, Tracing the Edge. At this ten-part series’ center is a question that Bryan and I have chewed on: Are our heroes any different than us? So we went to three of the most compelling athletes, each at different stages in their career. Alpinist Colin Haley. Trail runner Krissy Moehl. Surfer turned snowboarder Gerry Lopez. Then we asked a few simple questions.
“Are you super human? Are you an anomaly? Where you born into super athletedom?”
No one answered yes to those questions. So we came up with some better questions.
“So what events in your life made you who you are today?”
Tracing the Edge presents the answers. Bryan and I broke our backs making it and for that I thank Krissy, Colin and Gerry. Just as our legends are more human than we’d imagine, inside of each us exists an athlete. They brought the athlete out of this computer dork.
Once a week, from now to September, you can find the newest installments of the show at Patagonia.com/tracingtheedge and here on The Cleanest Line. Along the way, I’ll share some of the stories that made this project special for Bryan and I. We hope you enjoy it. We hope it inspires you, because each of these very talented, creative individuals left us wanting to pursue our own goals and dreams in wild places.
Here's episode five, which continues the story of Gerry Lopez and his son Alex:
Tracing the Edge was written, directed and filmed by Fitz Cahall and Bryan Smith, creators of The Dirtbag Diaries and The Season. Visit Patagonia.com/tracingtheedge to see the first four episodes or check out the YouTube playlist if you want to share any of these videos on your blog or social network. Stay tuned for the next episode with Colin Haley on September 1.