Ode To Ojo—Paying Homage to Dillon’s Rail in NZ
words: Spencer Schubert
September 11th is a weird day to fly. It’s probably cheap… and probably the reason why Jon Stark told all of us to book our flights on that day two years ago to Queenstown, New Zealand. We were filming for an edit called Lords of the Chiken 8. I had never really payed any mind to it until this September. I was flying back to NZ going through old photos reminiscing on the times I had spent there with Dillon Ojo and realized that I was flying on the exact same day as I had 2 years prior… September 11th.
Flying on 9/11 still isn’t the weird part. The weird part was being back and standing in the same places I had two years ago, but this time Dillon wasn’t there. (Some of you may not know of Dillon Ojo’s untimely passing, but he sadly passed away in June.) To be there on the same date was the best wish I could have asked for. Everyday I could look through my phone and see what we were doing two years ago, and relive those moments again. To be able to do that felt like it brought me closer to Dillon.
To pay tribute to Dillon, visiting the stair set rail at—what used to be—Snowpark NZ was on the top of my list. September 19th, 2016 we had gone there in hopes of filming on the rail, but when we arrived, there was pretty much no snow. Dillon stepped up to boardslide with barely enough snow to get him to the rail. We built the lip out of dirt then covered it with snow. It was the highlight of our Chikenmeat trip, Jon ended up giving Ojo an award in celebration. The photo of him on that rail is iconic to me.
Cut to this most recent trip. The only problem with going to that rail is that in late September, there is usually no snow. Not to mention that the resort is now closed forever and you have to pass a gate with a no trespassing sign. But the way everything came together almost felt like a miracle—and I’m not one to ever use that word. There was a late spring snow the day before, so we knew we would have enough snow to ride the rail. It was myself, Sam Taxwood, Carlos Garcia Knight, Troy Sturrock, and Marcus Skin. We went the same day two years later, it was sunny and beautiful. Someone forgot to lock the gate, so we drove right through. The dirt lip was still standing. We set the whole thing up and was ready to go just as the owner pulled up to kick us out. He told us that the resort was no more and they only keep the rail there for novelty, to remind them of the legacy of Snowpark. I told him we were only there to pay tribute to our friend, and the legacy of what this rail meant to us. He knew about Dillon and ended up giving us permission.
Sam and myself boardslid it as an ode to Ojo. After that we had a fun session, drank Coronas in his honor, and left flowers on what will forever be Ojo’s rail.
Lord of the Chiken 8:
RIP Dillon we love you.