BEHIND THE LENS
RED BULL RAMPAGE
IT’S A FUNNY WORLD
Words by Yoann Barelli & Shane Roy | Photos by Shane Roy
Yoann Barelli – It’s June 16 and I’m out riding my bike like any normal day. Except on this day I fall of my bike and hurt my knee, badly. I know right away that it’s serious and that my session is over. One week later the verdict is a completely torn ACL and my Meniscus is severely damaged. I need surgery.
As you may know, I’m a really active person and I didn’t know how I was going to handle this challenge. This is my first big injury and I’m not used to having forced down time. I was down and depressed for a while and searched for ways to distract myself. I’ve been really into photography as a hobby and enjoyed shooting all sorts of things, from action to landscape when suddenly it all clicked! I was going to be a photographer.
My wife Katrina and I had planned on taking my daughter down to watch Red Bull Rampage for quite some time. As I was waiting for my surgery, I counted out the months ‘til Rampage and it gave me my new goal! Getting back into shape, mobile enough, and strong enough to be able to attend Red Bull Rampage and hike around the grounds. What became even better was my desire to not only watch Rampage, but to shoot it as a hired photographer! It was as if I was training to recover in time for my biggest race.
I contacted Red Bull and asked what it would take to get a pass to shoot the Red Bull Rampage. I was told that I needed an assignment letter from a media outlet so I quickly reached out to Drew and after we discussed the plan he sent an email to Red Bull and I was in. It was party time. The 2019 Red Bull Rampage was going to be my first ever event as a media guy and I was going to work my ass off to get there, ready to work.
Six weeks of crutches and couch time after surgery and I was anxious to start training. After three weeks I’m back at the gym, doing upper body stuff and single leg exercises, it felt amazing to have such a big goal during this process. The six weeks pass and I’m walking again, gym exercises starts to get more and more interesting and my progression is amazing. ‘I’ll get there,” was my mantra every day.
It’s now October 14th and I meet with my buddy Shane Roy for a highway garbage pick up project. We talk a lot about our passion for photography and he shares that his dream is to also become a professional photographer. We bonded over a love of high quality imagery and highway trash bags. That day was amazing in many ways, we picked 300kgs of garbage in four hours and a movement was created. Check my Instagram if you want to know more :).
On October 16th, I have an appointment with the surgeon and she is stoked on my progression. I get the green light for Rampage. I’m pumped. It’s happening.
Just a few days later we are at the airport ready to go. My family and I are on our way to the Red Bull Rampage. We are at the check in counter with a short line, we are a bit tight in time but not too worried. We step up and give our passports to the agent. Two minutes later the lady calls me and ask if I have an ESTA to get into the States. At this moment I realized that I fucked up. My ESTA was expired. I tried to do it in time but the system wasn’t working properly and it didn’t go through.
I decided to stay in Vancouver with my daughter, while Katrina went ahead without us as everything was booked and paid for. I send another application and wait for a bit. After a couple of hours with no confirmation emails back, I decide to go back to Whistler.
On my way I get a message from Shane who wishes me luck for Rampage, I decide to call him to share my story. We laugh a bit about the situation (I like to laugh about things) and suddenly, BOOOOOM – an idea!
“What about if you go shoot rampage instead of me?” He says “What?! Are you serious??” “I’m fu*king serious man.” I call Drew, explained the situation, I laugh more about it, I feel like he wants to punch me in the face and break my nose (Editor’s Note – Yoann is 85% accurate in this statement! Ha ha), I laugh more, and I tell him my idea. He says YES.
Now I have to call Chris from Red Bull and hope for another yes. I get it so now I call Shane. “You’re in man! You dreamed about being a professional photographer and now you’re about to shoot the 2019 Red Bull Rampage!”