The Deep Summer Photo Challenge has been a staple of Crankworx since 2009 when Mattias Fredriksson won the inaugural event at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. That was the year when a young Kaz Yamamura decided he wanted to enter this illustrious photo competition. This year, Kaz was not only invited to Deep Summer, but he walked off the stage at Whistler Olympic Plaza holding the winner’s $5,000 cheque as well as the Bonny Makarewicz Memorial Trophy.
You may know Kaz primarily from his cinematography work with Vancouver-based IFHT Films. But like most video creators, Kaz got his start in photography and has been capturing distinct mountain bike moments since he first picked up a camera before finishing high school.
For the 2022 event, Kaz teamed up with strong roster of riders including Marzocchi Athletes Hailey Elise and Ollie Jones. For three (mostly sleepless) days, the team rallied to gather epic images from the Whistler Valley and Whistler Bike Park, including a mandatory capture of the Community Reconciliation Canoe at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre. Kaz edited his selected images into a five-minute slide show, making his submission deadline cutoff by minutes. Going up against five other skilled photographers, his work was shown to a passionate crowd of mountain bikers, including a panel of expert industry judges.
“Deep Summer was one of the first goals I set for myself when I started photography 10 years ago,” says Kaz. “The dream was just to be in the competition. I’ve made it into the final round of the wildcard spot at the last two Deep Summers, but I lost out both times.”
“This year, I got invited to the main event, which was already a dream come true, and after three days of my team and me working sleepless days and nights, we ended up taking home the win. It still feels so surreal. Ollie and Hailey were there for all of it, including the pre-production and post-production, and were my main riders. Ollie even woke up before everybody else so we could get some sunrise bangers in the alpine.”
A well-deserved win for Kaz Yamamura. Congrats from everyone at Marzocchi!Watch the Deep Summer Slideshow here.