The Life and Death of Panamoka Trails

Love and Hate in New York State through the lens of Keith Terra

11 Feb 2015

Panamoka trails bmx burning tire KT

Words and photos by Keith Terra

To a trail rider and builder, the day that no one ever wants to come, became a reality on the 20th of December, 2014. That day that I speak of is the day when you find out that your home has been ripped away from you with no warning at all. The emotions one can feel towards something as simple as a couple piles of dirt is mind blowing. Well, in our case it was hundreds of piles of dirt but it’s more about what those piles of dirt actually represent. They represent your hard work, your artistic skill, your free time, your enjoyment, and your therapy. They represent a breath of fresh air from the harsh realities of life. Now, all those reasons no longer exist back in those woods, and it’s sad to think that a random person walking through those woods would have no idea of what once was.

And to add to the tragedy of this story, they just didn’t level the place in one shot. Through out the coming weeks they are slowly levelling the place in sections. It’s like getting stabbed in the stomach and getting left there to bleed out and slowly die. I’d much rather take two quick shots to the head. And from what we gathered by information told to us by one of the workers doing the destruction, the reasoning behind this attack is one that came as a shock. We are unsure if this is a fact, but it turns out that someone high up in the Town’s department found out about the trails and thought that this is the reason why the local BMX track called Shoreham BMX (which is a few miles away) was loosing attraction and that we were drawing people away from it. If this is true, that person never contacted the local BMX track to see if that ’s the reason for its somewhat decline. We are still trying to find out the real reason behind this.

"We may be down, but we are not fucking out!"

In the meantime we are in the process of finding a new spot to get all those feelings back. There are a few potential areas out there, but the search may continue. We’ve had great support from all the other local trail crews and they would welcome us with open arms and we greatly appreciate it.

I just want to thank all the other Panamoka locals, who i now call friends, for all the great times that filled those days. Because of these piles of dirt, i have people that will be apart of my life for the days to come. And i said this before, and i will say it again..

We may be down, but we are not fucking out!   

2008

Panamoka trails bmx nick-fiorte xup 2008 KT

This was my first year being a full time local down at Panamoka and this was actually my first time ever shooting there. This hip was torn out latter that year, but Nick Fiorte still talks about how good that hip was.

Panamoka trails bmx justin-zober whip pxrocess 2008 KT

This photo of Justin Zober ran in an issue of Dig early in 2009 for his Low Profile, but was actually shot it in 2008.  Justin was one of the originals down at Panamoka and stayed there right up until the end.

2009

Panamoka trails bmx dave yezierski table 2009 KT

Talk about boosting a set… Jesus. Dave Yezierski is no stranger to hitting the boost button. One footed table on one of the wildest hips I ever rode. The valley hip in 'Mains' was no joke.

Panamoka trails bmx nick-fiorte darkside 2009 KT

This is one of my more favorite film shots that i’ve taken down in those woods. Nick Fiorte flowing through ‘Barracuda’ before it got a revamp.

2010

Panamoka trails bmx trails snow 2010 KT

After the trails season ended in 2009 the trails were covered by a blanket of snow as per usual. I headed down early 2010 to check it out.

Panamoka trails bmx Matty table 2010 KT

During the Summer of 2010 we held the starting point for the FBM gypsy tour and it was one hell of a jam. The Credence crew stayed a few days after and killed it. Matty Aquizap on ‘Whitesnake’.

Panamoka trails bmx nick over hoey 2010 KT

We didn't have many over and unders at the trails, but ‘Whitesnake’ over ‘Middles’ was a good one for sure. Nick over the newly appointed police officer Ryan Hoey.

2011

Panamoka trails bmx hoey steezy 2011 KT

Mid -season steez on ‘Barracuda’ from the officer of the trails, Ryan Hoey, another original local. As we get older we get more responsibilities and couldn’t make it down as much as we would like. This is always something that would make him seethe.

Panamoka trails bmx Rich-DAlsace tbog 2011 KT

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, Rich D’Alsace does some of the best tbogs in the game. It wasn't an uncommon thing to have some of the neighbors come and watch us ride - here’s Rich showing off his downtube grab on ‘4G’ for the little kids.

Panamoka trails bmx Rich-Dalsace superman tbog 2011 KT

I told you Rich was good a tbogs… and he’s kind of a perfectionist when it comes to his riding too. He didn’t like the first photo cause he was “unhappy with how his toes were pointed”. Once again, don’t mind the cracked landing on ‘4G’.

Panamoka trails bmx Justin-Zober xup 2011 KT

I have nothing really special to say about this photo except this is a damn good x-up. Don’t mind the cracked back lip, it was a dry Summer. Justin Zober, 2011.

Panamoka trails bmx hoey cancan 2011 kt

I shot this photo of Hoey during a session that took place mid-December, as late into the season as I can remember. There was ice in all the water barrels, and if you strayed from the groove you were in serious trouble.

Panamoka trails bmx justin starting hill 2011 kt

Zober getting ready to drop in for a run. This wasn't the final stage of the starting hill, but it’s still pretty good right?  Much safer than the old one.. that’s for sure

Panamoka trails bmx charlie wolfe 3darkside 2011 KT

At this point in time Charlie Wolfe had been a local for a couple of years but strangely he also rode flatland a lot - such a weird combo! Oh well, he can still rip some jumps.  Three darkside on ‘4G’.

Panamoka trails bmx nick table dirt-quarter 2011 KT

We had a couple dirt quarters down at the trails and this was the smallest of them. Shortly after Nick hit this newly built piece we realized that the whole thing should just be the height of the extension.

2012

Panamoka trails bmx trails aftermath-2012 KT

Hurricane Sandy was one of the worst storms to ever hit the East Coast.  There was much destruction throughout the Island and although we got lucky and not many trees fell, this big guy just missed us.

Panamoka trails bmx dave-yezierski tuck 2012 KT

This is Dave Yezierski’s favorite line at the trails, ‘WhiteSnake’, and his favorite jump in that line, known as ‘Field Goal’. Who could blame him, just look at this thing. Eight foot tall, about two and a half feet wide. What’s not to like?

Panamoka trails bmx rich d seat-grab table 2012 KT

The way Rich D would do these reminded me so much of the way Groundchuck used to do them… and he rides a Standard too.  Both were a treat to watch. This is just one of the many hips in ‘Whitesnake’.

2013

Panamoka trails bmx dave-yezierski whip barracuda 2013 kt

Dave Yezierski  always jokes with me every time i ask him to shoot a whip photo. He always says, “how you goin’ to shoot it?  Fish, down lowish, and it’ll look like every other whip photo we shoot”. This photo of Dave ran in the last Trails issue of Dig in the Long Island article.    

Panamoka trails bmx raw-b turndown 2013 KT

‘Raw’ Rob Blacharski wasn’t a local down at Panamoka, but he was a frequent visitor and was always welcomed… not forgetting he was captain of the fire pit when Autumn came around too. Turndown on ‘4G’.

2014

Panamoka trails bmx 2014 death kT 1

A space that use to be a sea of jumps…

"The emotions one can feel towards something as simple as a couple piles of dirt is mind blowing"

Panamoka trails bmx Brian foster nfcc 2014 KT

Brian Foster only came out a few times, and this particular time was on his 42nd birthday. He proceeded to do what BF does. 

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