As I sit here writing this, less than 24hrs after arriving home from our incredible 2 week adventure being a part of Team Super Tramp, I find myself already missing the long filming days, late night meals and antics we shared while we were a part of Devin’s team during their visit to New Zealand. Although there were many sleepless nights, long nighttime drives and very little time to eat, it was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had and one I won’t soon forget. Our lives have been consumed with the planning and preparing for the trip over the last 4 months and with it all over now, it’s hard to believe it has all come and gone so fast!
To get you up to speed on how we went from being just regular fans to partnering with Devin Super Tramp and his team to produce the biggest project they’ve ever undertaken, I’ll share some of the backstory before jumping into the adventure we just had the last 2 weeks.
If you were to ask Jordan who his favorite and most influential You Tuber was, he would always answer – Devin Super Tramp. A YouTube film maker with over 2.9 million subscribers who has partnered with major brands like Ford, Mountain Dew and Citi Bank, it’s no wonder Devin has been hailed one of the Top YouTubers in the World.
We’ve been massive fans of Devin’s for several years and his work has both entertained us and provided a major influence on our own YouTube web series. From gear choices, to filming style, his work and behind the scenes tips have been invaluable in helping create our own YouTube videos. Jordan has always said his favourite ‘Devinism’ is ‘getting the shot that nobody else is willing to get.’ He has applied that logic to making our own videos as he’ll grasp a glidecam in his hands for multi-day treks all while carrying 18 kg (40lbs) of camera gear on his back to the point of almost throwing up from fatigue. Usually at the point where I think he’s about to die, he’ll say something like “this video is going to be awesome because no one else will want to do this!”.
It has always been a dream to be a part of a Devin Super Tramp film shoot, but little did we know our paths would eventually cross and we would not only get to meet him and his team in person, but become an honorary Team Super Tramp family member.
It all started in September 2014 when Jordan was finishing up the final edit of our Hydro Attack video from Queenstown of the robotic shark ride we had experienced during our recent trip. Later that day Devin shared a photo of him riding a robotic dolphin – a clip from his latest video he was about to release that week. Anxiously waiting for the upload notification, Jordan was one of the first to watch and commented:
“Awesome video as always. Coincidentally I just posted a video of the Roboshark, so I guess the big question is: Who wins in a fight, Robodolphin OR Roboshark?”
Something about his comment must have peaked Devin’s interest, as a few minutes later he responded with:
“Just checked your video out my friend, I loved your inside angles you got, looked so rad!”
Ecstatic to have received praise from one of his biggest YouTube idols, Jordan was even more stoked when his comment began generating a wave of subscribers and views to our channel from Devin’s endorsement. That excitement though came to a quick halt when Devin took down the video 10 minutes later when he realized there was a minor export glitch. Before he removed it though we had a noticed a number of comments asking when he and his team would be heading to New Zealand. When his response was “I’m actually planning on coming soon” we decided to send him an email on a whim offering to help out in any way. Devin must have remembered our Robo Shark video because the next day he replied:
“Awesome. That sounds great. Let’s make this happen. I actually checked out your channel and you have a ton of amazing stuff on it.”
EEEEEEEEEEKKKK!!! Was this really happening??
Mammoth Planning Exercise
From there we spent the next 4 months pouring countless hours into planning out a schedule, hosting late night skype calls with Devin and Carter and coordinating with operators to help make sure this Team Super Tramp road trip would be a success. We leveraged our contacts we had acquired from our own adventures in New Zealand and helped line up a sponsorship deal for his team with Tourism New Zealand. We also did a lot of negotiating with the operators to get approval to take the activities to the next level and put a bit of a ‘Super Tramp’ spin on it to make it that much more epic. It was really great when the operators knew who Devin was or really understood the power of social media and YouTube influencers.
With the 4 full-time members of Team Super Tramp (Devin, Parker, Carter and Dakota) planning to attend and an honorary member, Chris from CineChopper – who is a top-notch RC helicopter pilot – it was going to be a big team taking on this massive challenge. With SO MUCH to do in New Zealand it was really difficult to narrow down a list of activities that would be achievable in such a short period of time, but after countless revisions of the schedule we decided it would be best to split the group into two teams. With Devin leading one film crew and Parker the other (and Chris jumping between the two depending on the activity), it was the best way to get as many videos out as possible in our 2 week time frame. A hefty challenge of 13 videos in 14 days, this had quickly become their biggest project ever!
To add to the adventure, another bonus was when we found out vlogger Louis Cole (aka Fun for Louis), who has a massive following on YouTube and Instagram, would also be joining the team. Famous for his daily vlogs about his life travelling the world, he and Devin had become good friends on their recent trip with Turkish Airlines so it was really cool to have another legendary YouTuber along for the ride.
The timing of the trip though made it that much more difficult as there was a long Christmas break just before the guys were scheduled to fly out mid-January. That resulted in a flurry of last-minute emails, urgent requests and the unfortunate situation when Devin realized he forgot his suitcase with all his clothes, GoPros and Indiana Jones hat for the Zorb video. A few hours before Jordan and I were scheduled to fly up to Auckland, we were rushing to find a shop with a GoPro Hero 4 and some key accessories as they were required for the first 2 videos scheduled! It felt like a bit of foreshadowing for the adventure we had ahead of us….
Roadtrippin’ with Team Super Tramp
From the moment the guys stepped into Arrivals in Auckland we felt like a part of the team. They were so welcoming and exactly how they appeared in their behind the scenes videos – down to earth, fun-loving and very passionate about film making. After a quick luggage shuffle, we loaded up our giant 6-berth campervans with all the gear, stocked the fridges with food and set off on our adventure!
The first week in the North Island we knew was going to be a bit hectic. With an aggressive schedule and some of the largest activities involving fans, it was a big challenge – but we may have underestimated the lack of sleep, hours of driving and mishaps that would occur.
Team 1 lead by Devin just happen to pick all the activities that required a significant amount of driving. Leading the charge on Sandboarding, Rere Rockslide, Zorb and Gravity Canyon, these videos involved a lot of fans with many in quite remote locations. Literally spending the night in a different city each day, these guys endured an intense schedule with little rest while still maintaining their passion to ‘get the shot’ and engaging with their fans.
Parker on the other hand led Team 2 and was dealt a slightly more relaxed schedule but with just as exciting locations to film including Drift Trikes/Blokarts, Luge and White Water Rafting. During our first shoot we met Maggie, Taylor and Isaac who all work at Blokart Heaven in Papamoa and were the first to star in one of the videos due to their incredible drift trike skills. Their dedication to late night and early morning filming, and ‘up for anything attitude’ made them a favorite with the team and ended up staring in our Luge and Zorb videos as well later in the week.
It was pretty incredible watching these guys interacting with their fans. People drove from all over the North Island to participate in their videos (some driving up to 10 hrs!) and the entire team made sure the fans felt like a part of Team Super Tramp for the day. Whether it was handing them a camera to shoot some behind the scenes or playing back the shot they just nailed so everyone could get a sneak peek of the video to come, they always reiterated that the success of their videos was hugely reliant on having passionate fans to participate! And no matter how tired they were or how many hours they had just been filming, there was always time to take a photo or sign a GoPro 🙂
Being the one to field all the emails from fans wanting to participate in the videos, I was able to get a glimpse into the passion these guys inspire in people – whether it’s aspiring film makers, adventure seekers or just YouTube fanatics. Even more so was the response received when Louis put it out on social media he was going to be at Rere Rockslide. My inbox lit up with hundreds of emails (mostly people thinking they were actually talking to Devin or Louis directly), sharing their life story and how much it would mean to them to be able to take part. It was pretty special when folks would come up to me after a long day of shooting and share how this was the highlight of their trip to New Zealand, a dream come true or even the best day of their life! WOW! What an impact these guys have on people!
Luckily the last week on the South Island was set at a much slower pace. With a focus on getting epic scenery and working with operators in their busiest time of the year, unfortunately there were no shoots open to fans, but the guys were able to capture some incredible footage. Milford Sound was by far the highlight for everyone. Even after being there 4 times already, it still takes my breath away. And this time being able to experience it by helicopter was seriously one the coolest experiences in New Zealand to date.
Known as the Adventure Capital of the World, Queenstown delivered on its incredible adrenaline junkie activities. We filmed Shotover Canyon Swing, Bungy jumping, Jet Boating and Devin even jumped out of an airplane at 15,000ft! It’s incredible the vibe that rubs off on you when you get to Queenstown – people always seem to do things they told themselves they never would!
Mishaps along the way
Not everything went perfectly smooth though throughout the trip (especially on the North Island). As with many Super Tramp shoots, there was a number of (minor) injuries and incidents. Jordan endured some of the worst with a broken nose from the Rere Rockslide ramp and badly torn up feet from sandboarding. Louis and Devin both managed to injure their shoulders getting crushed by the Zorbs and Parker had a terrible wound on his arm when he tripped and skidded along the concrete while filming his first shot at drift trikes!
We were lucky to get off with just a warning from the Police for drift triking through the streets of Mount Manganui and after being flagged for carrying ‘dangerous goods’ on a flight, a series of events occurred trying to transport Chris’s helicopter batteries. Jordan ended up with an unexpected 5hr solo battery run back to Auckland, resulting in the team getting less than 2hrs sleep before shooting Hobbiton. With half the batteries with Team 2 and on their way to a special courier, Louis heroically volunteered to transport the rest of the batteries to the South Island by hitch-hiking. His adventure took a turn for the worst though when he left his laptop in a strangers car (but was soon reunited with it 24hrs later) and was left stranded in Christchurch. That delay resulted in a last-minute plea to fans on social media to hand deliver the batteries from Christchurch to Queenstown in order to make the Milford Sound shoot the next day. Ashton, a huge fan of Louis and Devin’s came through and saved the day, driving 6hrs with her mom to make it happen!
Jordan managed to wreck 3 campervans by backing into a guard rail, clipping the roof of a building and side swiping a boulder along the canyoning road (resulting in the door being smashed shut and unable to open) – thank goodness for insurance! Overall we lost 1 GoPro while rafting and another while bungy jumping (which was recovered hours later down river luckily), crashed the DJI drone just twice (resulting in broken propellers) and had a near miss with the Red Dragon camera (worth $50,000+) on Chris’s helicopter when one of the propellers stopped while flying over Milford Sound! Not bad at all considering the risks that were taken to ‘get the shot’!
Perfect ending to a trip of a lifetime
After spending a busy 2 weeks touring the North and South Island, it was really nice to have the last morning free of filming. The folks at Skyline Queenstown were nice enough to hook us up with some luge passes up the gondola, so for a last team building exercise, we took to the track for an epic 7 run event!
It was hilarious watching these 7 guys turn into competitive 5 year olds, racing down the track, crashing into one another trying to be the first to cross the finish line. I lost count of how many times someone was flipped out of their cart or off the track, but we all managed to escape without injury (despite Jordan’s attempts!)
As we headed back to the hotel, we all began reflecting on the incredible trip this has been and the lasting memories we will all cherish. Not only did these guys get some of the best footage they’ve ever shot, this was the most they’ve actually got to take part in the activities, as they are usually so focused on filming. I was happy they were able to get a taste of the activities in New Zealand as well as both Jordan and I made a point to encourage they experience as much as possible.
As we checked our bags at the Queenstown airport, we said our goodbyes and parted ways as we headed towards the gate for Wellington. After spending 2 weeks with these guys we became what felt like a family and were really sad to see our adventure come to an end. I have a feeling this won’t be the last time we see these guys, but either way we’ll be following along on their adventures around the world!
Check out the playlist below of the videos from the trip and be sure you watch the Behind the Scenes videos too as we actually helped film a lot of scenes in them and make a few appearances 🙂 You can also get an inside scoop on what we got up to during the trip by watching Louis’ vlogs!