Kade Edwards shares what goes into making a viral freeride edit like Parallel II with the legendary Brandon Semenuk, how he's dealing with concussion, and his goals for the rest of the year
If you haven’t seen the new Parallel II edit with Brandon Semenuk and Kade Edwards…where have you been? Featuring smooth riding, incredible footage and eye-popping tricks, it’s the perfect showcase for Edwards’ and Semenuk’s skills.
We caught up with Edwards to chat about the work that went in behind the scenes to turn it from dream to reality, plus how his World Cup Downhill season is going, how he’s managing concussion, and his goals for the rest of the year, including plans for the Red Bull Hardline.
How did you get involved in Parallel II?
Brandon came to me, which was awesome! I could not believe it! I’m obviously a massive fan of his riding, he’s one of the best, and we’re both Trek riders and Red Bull athletes, so that kind of worked.
It was pretty surreal. I just said yeah, then we made it happen, and it all happened super-fast – we were filming within five months. It’s all insane.
What was it like riding in Kamloops? There’s a lot of mountain bike history there!
I’d never ridden there before. The only place in British Columbia I had been was Whistler. It’s four hours from there, and completely different terrain – super dusty, almost like a desert with forest.
I felt super old-school freeride. Even driving to the spot everyday, I’d look out the window and be like, ‘that’s where that sequence was filmed!’. I’ve seen so many places in Kamloops just littered with riding and builds.
What was the process from idea to final edit? And how hard was it to get the close riding shots?
Brandon showed me some drawings of the main features in the months before, and I could say if I thought anything didn’t look cool for me. Then I saw the rest of the features when I arrived. He dug most of the trail himself with the team!
We had ten days to get everything, and we did nine days of riding. We went 100% on it. The days were long, like 12 hours. We’d arrive at 7am or 8am. And when you’re not riding you’re digging and fixing up the track to look good for the film.
When you start riding it, the team need to get their angles for photo and video to find out what looks good, and then me and Brandon can work out what tricks to do too. The tricks had to come from me because Brandon can do pretty much everything and anything!
When you look at the features, riders normally think along the same lines anyway, just be the way the jumps go – left, right, etc – so you think of what tricks you can do that way. Then we’d both give it a go, and if we didn’t like it we’d change it. It takes about five goes at a feature to work out what you’re going to do on it.
Some shots take ten goes to get them right, and it takes a long time, then sometimes the best shot happens the first go. But you always do more than one run. It takes a lot of goes to get the timing right too. As soon as you’re out of reach, you have to shout to try again. Every run you drop in and just hope you’re close enough or not too close – you’re kind of winging it every time! We switch so many times it’s quite hard to line up.
What about the rest of the team that worked on pulling this together?
I didn’t realise until I turned up just how much of a process went in behind everything – it was definitely a big eye opener. There’s the photographers, the videographers, the drone pilots. We also had motos – some of the follow-cam footage was done by a guy on a motorbike who had his own trail on the other side of the valley.
I learned so much, not least that just hard work gets you a long way.
What do you make of the response to the edit?
Surreal! It’s crazy. I never thought I’d see myself in a Brandon Semenuk video. And the feedback has been amazing, everyone’s loving it!
You’ve been getting great results in downhill recently too?
Yeah, the downhill’s been going pretty good. I’ve had a couple of good results, and I was feeling really strong this year, and I’ve done well before.
I’ve just been riding bikes. I don’t see myself as a downhill racer or a freerider or whatever. I just love riding bikes. I don’t really want to be anything else.
You’re recuperating from concussion at the moment – how’s the recovery going?
I’m okay, and I’m definitely getting better. I’m just being pretty cautious, because obviously people like Reece [Wilson] and Tahnee [Seagrave] and people around me are struggling with concussion. I don’t want it to get any worse.
I don’t think there’s enough support in place for dealing with concussion. We don’t know enough about it – no-one really knows enough.
I don’t feel too bad, not too many gnarly symptoms, but I’m not 100% sharp and that can lead to worse crashes, so I know I don’t feel right to go racing yet.
But I want to make it back for maybe the last round in Canada, or get to Les Gets for the World Champs – that’s my goal for the minute.
You’ve also mentioned you’re aiming to be back racing at Red Bull Hardline. What is it about that event that makes it special?
I guess it’s about the group of people who race it. Everyone who goes is kind of like crackers, you know? We’re all just crazy people to send it down that hill. Everyone is having fun and it’s not even a lot of rivalry – though at the same time you’d be a bit pissed off if someone beats you.
We have a good time every night. We have a couple of beers, and it’s just such a relaxed vibe. You need to relax when you’re doing something so challenging. You don’t want to be in your bedroom getting worked up all night – you need to go release that tension! You need to forget about what you’ve been doing all day because it’s so fucking gnarly.
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