Sam Hodgson - A day in the life
It’s Tuesday morning. The storm is raging outside and the Channel is producing some of the biggest swell of the winter so far. Sam is meant to be coming over to our Poole head office to meet the team, but as he arrives at the ferry port in East Cowes, Isle of Wight, his boat is nowhere to be seen. “Wind’s too strong”, he’s told, and so his only option is to sit in the car waiting, just watching the rain fall down on his windscreen.
When he finally gets to Poole, the rain has stopped (just about) but the wind is still howling and the sky grey. We greet him with a bottle of Monster Energy and a healthy little package which contains most of his SS18 Animal swag. Fair to say the boy is stoked.
It’s his first time at Animal HQ so we thought we’d give him a little tour of our various showrooms. With our AW18 collections on show, the timing seems right. While we admire the work of our designers and get amped on the thick flannels and fine-looking cord shirts for the winter season ahead, we chat ambitions and upbringings.
‘Determined’ is the theme we’re getting from Sam, who grew up knowing all he ever wanted was to be a pro mountain biker, and putting all his energy into making it happen. Since the day he met Blake Samson at 14, the dream became an achievable goal, and the hard work finally paid off.
After our tour of the Animal head office, we head down to our brand new Bournemouth store to show him what the brand looks like in the flesh. We are welcomed by Scott, our Bournemouth and Poole store manager, who runs us through our SS18 collections in further detail.
The shop looks slick, and the products on point, so we decide to live stream our store visit on Instagram and invite you guys in to discover Sam’s favourite pieces. The ANML collection is a hit, as Sam develops a particular liking for the wash on the Minerals tee and the speckled detailing on the Leash tee. Another highlight for him is the Venn jacket—super lightweight, waterproof and with many a pocket to stow away his valuables.
As we come to the end of our store visit we notice that, by some kind of miracle, the sun has come out. From raging storm to bright sunshine, Sam brings out his bike for an afternoon adventure.
We pack up our camera gear and embark on a mission to find an elusive dirt-jumping spot we’d heard of a few days prior. After a walk through the woods we finally arrive to spot X and surprise, it’s wet.
The floor is mostly clay, and naturally super slippery after the morning’s rain spell. Built inside a little quarry style ditch, most jumps are actually flooded with puddles and as such un-rideable. But one stands out. Though a bit soggy, the run up is actually do-able, and the landing is this fun- looking angled bank covered with pine needles.
Luckily, Sam came prepared. Having grown up building his own jumps on his parents’ farm, he’s quite used to adjusting every project he takes on, and as such, has brought his shovel with him. “I take my shovel everywhere with me”, he says as he starts digging.
Jump and cameras ready, chin pads on and helmet securely in place, he drops in. The sun is piercing through the clouds and lights up the space perfectly. A few jumps in and Sam is slowly gaining confidence as he gets accustomed to every single aspect of that jump.
He reckons he could potentially rock a backflip, but with a softer-than-normal ground, he’s not sure he’ll quite get the pop to clear it. The pressure mounts and he decides to put it all on the line. As he drops in, he peddles as fast as he can, wanting to get as much height as possible, and launches himself into the air.
The flip was flawless, but from where we’re filming we can’t tell whether he made it or not. A little worried, we peep over the landing and hear him scream in joy. It takes guts to pop a backflip on unknown territory, especially when that territory is as soggy as what we had, but Sam is determined, and that’s what brought him where he is today.
An injury-free adventure, we all high five in joy and decide to call it a day. A good day.
Check out Sam on Instagram at: sam_hodg_mtb.
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