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Hey Neighbour – Seb Kemp

Words Cam McRae
Video Matt Dennison
Date Mar 8, 2015

Who The Hell is Seb Kemp?

Even Seb has trouble answering that question, as you’ll see in his this episode of Hey Neighbour. We tried to sort this out by pointing the camera at him for a change. If you know his name you’ve probably read his words or seen him on video, (Shit Mountain Bikers Say anyone?) but Seb’s roots in mountain biking reach below the media veneer.

Even as his notoriety has grown, Seb has continued to express himself by building trails. In his words: “Writing and filmmaking might be the most explicit ways of doing it, but trail building results in a tangible object which displays a builder’s energy, their will, imagination and philosophy. Every tire that follows a trail is taking the journey or reading the story a trail builder has written.”

Building and riding are simply extensions of the same activity in Seb’s mind: “Trail building also feels more important than riding to me. I think I spent more time building last year than I did riding and I don’t feel like I lost anything, rather I feel like I gained more. Biking doesn’t have to be about the bike, or even biking. It’s about anything that a bike stirs you to be passionate about and sometimes that can appear, to anyone not looking carefully, as something totally unrelated.”

Seb is an inspired teacher and coaching is another outlet for his obsession. Mr. Kemp is one of those rare individuals who always gives you full attention. Turning off the noise in the background and connecting deeply with people seems increasingly rare – but for Seb it’s his default – and it’s part of what makes him a great instructor.

These are the things Seb does; writing, building, teaching, filmmaking. But they are not who Seb is. Most of us are pushed and molded by society into following a certain path. Seb Kemp is one of the few people I know who lives a truly authentic life. Status and trappings are of no interest unless they lead to real experiences. He seems to rage against any predetermined impulse and to depart radically if he finds himself on a route he didn’t choose.

And he’s better than you at everything (except grammar).

Who the hell is Seb Kemp? Whoever the hell he wants to be.

Hey Neighbour is brought to you by Santa Cruz.


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Comments

rodrigo-magalhaes
0
Rodrigo Magalhães  - Jan. 31, 2016, 1:23 a.m.

Good video Seb. I agree with all that. Now the kids thinks it's just about the bike. Oh plastic or big wheels. And I have the same reaction, what are you talking about?Just ride your bike and have fun…

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hoz
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Hoz  - March 12, 2015, 2:18 a.m.

Nice one Seb. THIS is what it's all about. Context and perspective. Keepin' the fun maxed bro'!! Lovin' the approach. Keep up the great commentary as it's very refreshing. Cheers for the effort and passion!

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michael
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Michael  - March 10, 2015, 8:43 p.m.

Seb needs a hint of plaid to accent awesome beardness 😉 HI neighbour hope to ride with you some day!

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roknfnrol
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roknfnrol  - March 10, 2015, 5:27 p.m.

Good shit mang.

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benjamin-rennert
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Benjamin Rennert  - March 9, 2015, 8:19 p.m.

Great video, nice work guys. Love the passion Seb!

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simplicityofjoy
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Simplicityofjoy  - March 9, 2015, 12:03 p.m.

I enjoyed this so much, thanks for that.

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jamie-hamilton
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Jamie Hamilton  - March 9, 2015, 11:48 a.m.

I know it doesn't need saying but I'll put my hand up and say it anyway. Seb is probably the best dude around & has his head & his heart in the right places. And he does mean as scandies!

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0
t.odd  - March 9, 2015, 11:24 a.m.

definitely not very smart, but that's why you're one of my best friends! looking forward to building lots more radness with you, buddy!

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Lacy Kemp  - March 9, 2015, 10:35 a.m.

Couldn't agree more on the lifestyle bit. It's not all about tech, being the fastest, winning the stupid climbs or riding the gnarliest shit downhill. Take a moment to look around on your rides. Breathe in the air. Enjoy the silence, your friends, the beer you lugged all the way to the top of the climb. We are in the youth of the history of this sport and have the chance to define the culture. Racing to the next best thing will only make us forget about why we're doing it in the first place.

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truthspeaker
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truthspeaker  - March 9, 2015, 10:59 a.m.

Isn't that what slow people say?

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Lacy Kemp  - March 9, 2015, 12:02 p.m.

Are you talking to me? I'm sure slow people say that. I'm guessing "fast" people do, too. I wouldn't really know though. I'm too busy being slow, apparently.

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jamie-hamilton
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Jamie Hamilton  - March 9, 2015, 2:25 p.m.

But I bet your personal enjoyment levels are off any perceived scale 🙂

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craw
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Cr4w  - March 9, 2015, 11:33 a.m.

My riding experience includes sometimes caring about winning the climb, sometimes riding the gnarliest downhill and being a bit of a gear nerd. For me the trick is about getting focussed about specific things enough to figure stuff out, work through challenges and make gains but not become so myopic about them that I forget about everything else and don't enjoy the ride. It's about building new tools to enjoy the ride and sometimes you need to be a bit scientific to do that. The 'I don't train I only ride for fun and fun only' person seems to be missing out as much as the Stravasshole.

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anon
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anon  - March 9, 2015, 7:13 p.m.

"youth of the history of this sport?"

Nah that was guys like Herbold. And even he cut the course in his era of strava.

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Faction
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Derp  - March 9, 2015, 10:09 a.m.

My thoughts exactly. Thanks Seb.

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buriedinpine
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BuriedInPine  - March 9, 2015, 10:06 a.m.

Long time lurker… Just wanted to say that this is what mountain biking is all about! I've met and chatted with Seb a couple of times on TAP trail days, but this was a nice view into his world. He is truly living the dream. Good on you Seb!

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nat-brown
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Nat Brown  - March 9, 2015, 9:49 a.m.

Not that smart? Humble, smart and thoughtful, I think. The consumerist aspects of MTB Seb speaks about should be more widely recognised.

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pete@nsmb.com
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Pete Roggeman  - March 9, 2015, 12:07 p.m.

I wish I were as 'not smart' as Seb.

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walleater
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walleater  - March 9, 2015, 8:04 p.m.

Yep, seemed pretty smart to me 🙂

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yoneighbour
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YoNeighbour  - March 9, 2015, 9:23 a.m.

I thought Seb hated Nobby Nics?

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vogankhadafi
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vogankhadafi  - March 9, 2015, 9:37 a.m.

The old ones.

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craw
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Cr4w  - March 9, 2015, 8:12 a.m.

That was awesome. Great attitude.

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GladePlayboy
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Rob Gretchen  - March 9, 2015, 7:56 a.m.

Huge respect for Seb… best writer in the business IMO…

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