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Six vie for photo honours at Deep Summer

Wildcard Satchel Cronk brings his team to the Crankworx keystone event on Aug. 16



Californian sports photographer Satchel Cronk was on the Isle of Arran in mid-July, shooting the 2017 Grinduro Scotland race when he got the call.

San Diego-based Cronk learned he had been selected by Pinkbike to be the wildcard entry in this year's Deep Summer photo competition at Crankworx.

"I was busy in Scotland and it was pretty hectic, and I didn't have time to think about it or celebrate. Grinduro was a really sweet event to photograph and Arran was beautiful," Cronk says.

The 23-year-old adds: "Deep Summer is something that I always thought was really cool and inspiring, and I wanted to do it someday, but I didn't expect it to be so soon.

"I submitted some photos to the wildcard with zero expectation, just in case I got lucky, and I was selected for the next round of top five who went into the online vote. And the readers chose me.

"It's a huge honour to participate."

Cronk started riding with a group of friends while still in high school, and was nudged into photography by one of them. He calls it a natural progression for a lot of riders.

Also competing in Deep Summer this year are Ollie Jones, Daniel Ronnback, Steve Shannon, Julien Grimard, and JB Liautard.

The photographers get to flip off their lens caps early on Saturday, Aug. 12, after a morning meeting and shoot through 72 hours of tricks and challenges by their team riders.

From those thousands of shots, each creates a five-minute presentation of still photos put to music and presents them at Whistler Olympic Plaza on Wednesday, Aug. 16 at 8:30 p.m.

There, the presentations will be judged, with the top photographers taking home prizes.

Cronk says he was in Whistler for two days last summer, and does not know the area as well as he might like.

"It will be fun. I'll know it a lot better after a few days of shooting," he laughs.

"It has been a lot to try and co-ordinate without having a super-good sense of the trails. I have riders on my team who are more knowledgeable about trails there than I am, and that has been a big help."

He describes his team as "a good group of folks from all over the world and different riding backgrounds," but didn't give away any names.

"I'm really excited to be working with them. Everyone is super committed and into it," Cronk says.

In terms of his photography, he says he is interested in light and the experience.

"For me, I got into shooting in order to convey my experience as a rider out on the trail, and being out in nature," he says.

"Mountain biking is super fun to me, and the adrenaline and downhill is awesome, but a huge part of it is being outside and seeing beautiful places and sharing that with good friends."

And the Dirt Diaries returns with six athletes assembling a team of riders and videographers to make a short video between four and six minutes that showcases mountain biking in all its glory.

Filming began on June 1, with team captains KC Deane, Zander Geddes, Steve Storey, Micayla Gatto, Ian Morrison and 2016 winner Dylan Forbes focussing on the Whistler Valley and Whistler Mountain Bike Park.

The screening of the six videos takes place at Whistler Olympic Plaza on Tuesday, Aug. 15 at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $8 for the licenced area, free on the grass area around the stage.

There is also the premiere of Motive, a film that follows the Coast Crew (Curtis Robinson and Dylan Dunkerton) as they ride across North America. Finn Iles, Garret Mechem, Matt Miles and Matt Hunter also feature.

The screening takes place at Whistler Olympic Plaza on Friday, Aug. 18, at 8 p.m.

Finally, a first for Crankworx this year is Women in Action — Action Sports Forum on Saturday, Aug. 19 at 8:30 p.m. at Whistler Olympic Plaza.

Big-wave surfer Maya Gabeira, freestyle ski star Kaya Turski, and top mountain biker Casey Brown talk about their careers, moderated by snowboarder-broadcaster Tina Dixon.

Both Motive and Women in Action are free.

Tickets can be purchased on www.whistlerblackcomb.com. For more information, visit www.crankworx.com.