Freerider Kyle Jameson started riding almost 20 years ago, and he’s been on a SCOTT bike for fully half of his career. During that time, he’s ridden countless events around the world, shoveled literally tons of dirt to build fresh lines for bike parks and jump jams, and he’s coached hundreds of riders every summer at Whistler gravity camps. One of the most humble, authentic, and sincere riders you’ve ever met, KJ has slowly made an unforgettable name for himself on the scene.
Not too many people stay with a sponsor for 10 years, not that I can think of. It’s kind of a special thing. Usually, people jump around and all that because they’re trying to get a better deal or more money. But it wasn’t always about the money and the sponsors for me. It was more about actually riding the bikes and having fun, and you know, I would always find money in different ways, such as building bike parks and coaching ride camps. It’s definitely something very special to be with SCOTT for that long.
I wanted to ride and show the riding style from where I lived, which is here in Santa Cruz. I’ve been here since 2009. I’ve been here hanging out in the woods a bunch and I wanted to showcase the riding style I’ve developed in the time that I’ve been there.
After that, I went to the eastern Sierras and did some freeriding near Mammoth, and I chose that location because it’s an area that hasn’t been filmed a lot. And it’s also just, like, big-mountain riding, which I have taken a liking to. There’s no trail, and you get to ride however you want and let the land and your riding style do the talking. Which is pretty cool, because I build a lot of trails and jumps for work, but for me, it’s not always all about the trail. You don’t always need a strip of dirt showing you where to go.
It’s a totally different kind of dirt and terrain. There are no trees and it was deep pumice. It was hard to walk to the top of these hills. And it was super volcanic. There was tons of obsidian around which was really cool. It’s big country. It’s totally different compared to Santa Cruz, which is just pure redwood loam.
I got my first mountain bike in 1998. I was in 5th grade. So I got into mountain biking, but I didn’t really have too much mountain biking action where I was living, which was in Davis, California. So I found the summer gravity camps up here in Whistler, because I started watching mountain bike videos. I wanted to go, but my mom couldn’t take me, so she saved up and sent me up there at a young age. I realized that I really wanted to be riding mountain bikes and my eyes were really opened to the scene, how cool it was up in Whistler, and I was hooked.
I made it up back up to camp here for a couple years, and when I turned 18 I knew I was ready to start coaching and teaching these kids how to ride bikes. At that time, I kind of had a bit of a wake behind me. I’d been working on riding, trying to progress my skills, and I met Adrian from SCOTT here at Whistler while I was riding and hanging out. He instantly told me that I was perfect for what he was looking for: a young kid to grow with the company. SCOTT had a very small presence at the time in North America, and that’s exactly what I wanted at the time too. I wanted to grow with the company. I didn’t want to have quick, short relationships. So it all worked out perfectly.
I’ve had SCOTT behind me for a long time, and I really wanted to progress. I figured coaching would be a great way to be on a bike, getting people stoked on the bikes, and at the same time I get to give back to the next generation. Which is super cool to me! And I could make cash which I needed, to keep up the lifestyle.
The Fest series has gotten me re-stoked and fired up to stay relevant in the mountain bike scene. For a while there, the slopestyle scene had kind of taken a turn and the freeride scene was kind of dying off, and I couldn’t see a place for me and my riding. Then the Fest series came about. One of my buddies who formulated it made it into more of a media event, and it’s perfect for what I want to be doing. It re-stoked my fire. I do five events per year, all around the world. As well as putting my head down and doing my own event here in California, which is the Cruz Fest.
It’s raised awareness for building jumps and hanging out with your buddies. It’s not about first, second, or third. It’s about the good vibes and creating something with your friends. We film it to show the world what we’re doing, and it has sparked awareness of that kind of riding. Building jumps with your buddies, or loading up in a van with your buddies to ride the nearest trail. It’s just mountain biking. It’s cool.
Photos: Ian CollinsVideo: Scott Secco