The State of Being Curved: With Jerry & Raph

Intro and words by Mike V, photos taken and contributed by Raph, Harrison and Jerry

Presenting... an in-depth feature showcasing the fruits of labour from the latest Tempered Goods project, a Jerry Vandervalk and Raph Jeroma-Williams masterpiece - titled 'Curvature'.

A 2 year + project based around riding curvature only, that found in the wild of course. Naturally occurring, as is the modus operandi of these two, the video started from Jerry and his love of tranny spots and the infinite passion of Raph for creating videos. After initially being a Jerry based video, through Raph being chronically productive and a tranny lord himself, the sheer weight of footage transitioned this project into a split part. And we're all the better for it!

Having been released just last week via DIG BMX, the effort of the boys is finally on offer and each at the age of 37, it can't be overlooked as to how special it is that a project of this calibre is possible. While the age barrier might be slowly shifting north, it's still an incredible achievement to have the motivation, dexterity and the flexibility in schedules to commence and complete a full length video - of over 10 minutes in run time. 

Having caught up with the boys only once during the filming, I had zero to limited insight into the project - which makes this even more exciting in seeing the photos and video for the first time. As is tradition, instead of throwing the video up and then letting it slide off into obscurity, I wanted to shirk gravity for a minute and give this piece some visibility. 

The following is a conversation between both Raph, Jerry and myself around the making of the video, touching on missions, friendship, specific spot experiences and of course, curvature. 

Off we go. 

Raph, awesome looking bank tranny table
Just beggin' to be ridden
The day begins, what a good feeling

For most in BMX, the concept of a tranny is deeply fulfilling and highly pleasing. It must be something about the way a curve looks and is shaped, it's a beautiful thing. I wondered if the boys shared this view and were consistent in their thinking around a curve being a profound phenomenon or rather, much more simple than that. You'll note in the adjacent photos that a curve can be its own feature, it doesn't need a biker to make it look good. 

Raph responds:

"I think transition is what every BMX rider sees for the first time as something that can be ridden or rideable. A dirt jump, BMX track, skatepark or even the perfect curb cut down the road. 

For me the perfect transition at a skatepark doesn’t get me excited at all, couldn’t care less. But if I find transition in the 'wild', my mind starts racing like crazy. It doesn’t matter how shitty it is, I’ll get so excited. Why did they build this? Can it be ridden? Can you air it or grind the top? So many questions.

I guess the early days of watching Props Euro or any video or magazine and seeing all these transition spots just blew my mind and was always a big dream to one day find something like that. I guess it’s like surfing, the street transitions are not all the same, they have bumps and lumps and are tight - you name it, it just pushes you to think a little more out of the box. And the search is always the best part in my eyes. When you finally find that spot it makes it all worthwhile. 

Also seeing a curved bit of architecture just really stands out as something elegant compared to a straight up and down or horizontal structure."

Jerry adds the following:

"I would say that. To an extent. I wouldn't go as LGBTQ about it as you just did. There's a certain ability to pump in an out of shit that seems to have faded into the background over the years. People don't really do it anymore. I wish I knew how to explain it better, you just know it when you see it and it's awesome when you do!

It's sick to see how far people can take their niche but trends have told people you either have to be a street guy who doesn't really know how to use a tranny, or a transition guy who lives in the clouds and doesn't really hop or land flat. I think some sort of middle ground linking the two is the sweet spot. Obviously not a new concept, I just think there's a way to use transition that you can't get anywhere else so it can make things far more interesting.


I learnt to ride on a 4ft concrete mini with one side that was steeper than the other. It was like a second home for years, session's before and after school, meeting there to go ride other shit all weekend. There wasn't anything profound about the ramp itself but I can clearly remember the feeling of learning disaster's, rock n' roll's, tying my foot to the pedal to learn double peg stalls, icepick's, abubaca's and grinds. I guess all those hours speak to the fulfillment aspect. Street curvature is where the beauty comes in though. There's something inspiring about a transition or a curved wall that was never intended to be ridden. Street riding in general has the same appeal but the scarcity of the curve makes it that much more satisfying.

We've been fortunate enough to ride some unreal one's over the years and it's the one thing that never gets old.

The photos provided by the dudes contained feet on on pedals and arms attached to handlebars, not a single limb extended, merely a single barspin. Basically just riding forward, wheels on ground. Cynically, was this a result of declining skills, weary bodies, lack of creativity, poor motivation to excel. Do these guys just suck at bikes?

Raph explains:

"Haha yeah pretty much the only limb I took off was my hand for a toboggan. Jerry stepped up with the most limbs being taken off. We are just old and washed up trying to milk this BMX shit haha."

Jerry also rebuts:

"Suck is a strong word! I just like to use my tricks wisely and not whore them out."

The Central Station brick tranny as discussed below
Playground treats

Before we go too deep, I wanted to explore the concept behind the video. While it's somewhat obvious, I like that it acts as a guide to approaching the making of this project, as in you have to put in extra thought and effort to make it happen - after all, SEQ is not known for its street tranny. I spoke with the guys about what the experience was like to create this video in somewhat of a narrow sense and whether the element of a 'challenge' was part of the motivation behind the project. 

Jerry kicks off:

"I take no credit for the concept. At the time I just hadn't had a chance to film anything I'd seen around my area and Raph was keen, it just so happened there was some interesting curvature involved. 

It definitely became a challenge after those first few spots but at that point we were committed, so yeah we ended up slipping a few bank spots under the same umbrella. Nothing wrong with a bit of a challenge though. Found some awesome new stuff too."

Raph continues:

"It was a bit of motivation to revisit some of these spots and to create something a little different to a 'normal BMX video'. At the start, Jerry kept talking about transition spots to go back to and check out and it seemed like there would be enough to make a video out of it. But then the deeper we got into it we realised it was getting harder and harder to come up with spots. We started bending out own rule and bank spots were gonna have to be good enough as well haha. 

We got really unlucky with the weather as well. We had heaps more ditch spots that we wanted to ride but they just never seemed to dry up to a point that they were rideable. Same with pools, at one stage we were finding a lot but most of the time people still lived there and they were not too keen on the idea of us draining and riding their pool. But it was fun, we really had to start thinking and keeping an eye out for anything that was rideable and had some curvature to it."

Northside dam overflow
Raph, portrait guy

The photos the boys provided included a whole folder devoted to a single pool session. Pools are somewhat of an obvious curve, one quite familiar to these two who have drained their fair share over the years. Generally there is a story behind each pool, even if there isn't any drama with another person/s, most of the time it takes some investigation to locate, then effort to scope out in practice and then further, the work to empty, clean and ride. 

Raph describes:

"Pools are the rawest and purest form of riding in my eyes. When we started this project, the goal was definitely to find some new pools. As most people know. Australian pools are terrible 97% of the time, as in little to zero transition. But a pools a pool and it’s more of the adventure and all the other shit you have to go through to ride it that makes it worthwhile. 

We only managed to find 3 pools that were rideable or should I say, that we got to ride at all. One was the West End pool, then there was the South Bank pool and thirdly, a new one down the Gold Coast. So I was down there with the goldie crew getting some clips for my LUX part with Troy. Spencer and I were driving to that wooden rail at Southport. As we were driving we notice this huge house and it looked abandoned and pretty run down. I ask Spencer (who was the passenger) to check Google maps and see if it had a pool which it did and thankfully, it looked like it had some curves! So I chucked a Uie as fast as I could (got a red light camera ticket as well haha) pulled up right next to it and we jumped the fence. 

The place was crazy looking, half way through a renovation by the looks of it and just shit lying around everywhere, the body shell of car, building equipment and tools. Most importantly, the pool and looked ok from what we could tell through the murky water. The shallow end looked the most promising and when we stick tested it seemed to have a little bit of tranny. Fast forward a month or so, Jerry and I did the mission down with two pumps and all the tools you need to drain a pool. Harrison (Tempered team mate) came along with this girlfriend to help out and ride. We got lucky as there was still power on at the switchboard so we hooked up an extension lead and let the pumps do the work. I was a little worried at first because it is right on this main road/highway and the water was just pouring out on to the road, which I thought could raise suspicion but no unwanted visitors thank god. It took us about 4 hours or so to get it empty and then we got in there with buckets and started shovelling out all the gunk and fallen palm leaves. 

The excitement started building as we got it all cleaned out and it was drying up. But the curvature of this one was pretty average, although it had some lines. It definitely worked better Jerry’s way than mine, but we all managed to get some laps before night fall.

We went back a few weeks later and I was gonna show Spencer and Newman but looks like the owner replaced the lock that we snapped off on his fence, oh well another one hit wonder."

Jerry closes out:

"As Raph mentioned, this one really only worked well in one direction. Tight tranny but big enough to get a decent carve going. 

Draining it was fairly straightforward considering we had power on site. Raph kind of glossed over the severity of the sludge we had to pull out of there though. It was only like a 3rd full, but we're talkin' DANK sediments and dead toads, the kind of shit you avoid getting on your hands for as long as you can.

Harrison put on the bucket boots and passed up all the palm fronds and shit, then we all got in with shovels (some of which were conveniently provided by the owner). A little sweep and a late lunch break then we were on for an arvo sesh! Pretty stoked on the little pocket stair transfer from this one, caught it way higher than I was expecting and it was actually the end of the line we filmed."

This is what riding a pool looks like for the most part
Jerry, tight as hell tranny pocket
Raph, pegs
Harrison - bucket boots. Scared, not scared 

"Raph kind of glossed over the severity of the sludge we had to pull out of there though. It was only like a 3rd full, but we're talkin' DANK sediments and dead toads, the kind of shit you avoid getting on your hands for as long as you can."

The video features a couple clips from some super iconic Brisbane spots, notable for their distinct lack of privacy and isolation as well as the difficulty to run two wheels over them, particularly the Central Station brick tranny and QPAC berm. I was keen to hear the perspective of these two after having been Brisbane locals for decades, as well as any significant missions embarked upon to reach the point of tyre on ground. 

Jerry depicts:

"That thing is an absolute cunt to ride! Security watch it like hawks, it's rough as, especially coming back down and it's usually pretty busy. We'd been there about three times to scope it out, either getting the boot straight away or deciding against it. Strange, because I remembered years ago Raph and I hit it with no issues and I even went back around the same time to film an over ice on it with Big Salad for 2020.

We had to bamboozle them this time though. We set it up, went and hid, watched for security to come out, had an attempt, went back and hid, hit it again. We really pulled the wool over their eyes! Haha. A deadly sandwich to celebrate was in order."

Raph adds:

"Yeah that spot is just a Brisbane classic. I first saw it in the Drain Kids video as a wee bin rat and always thought it looked so sick and seeing them pegs the top was mind blowing for me. Even more so when I got to see the spot in person and how tight the tranny is. I guess the owners of the building didn’t like people riding it so they put some big arse planter boxes in front of them. But you can still ride one of them at a big angle. I already went there with Tim (Storey) one day when we were riding the city and he filmed me do a table and a 180, but then when I went back with Jerry it took me a bit to figure out what else I could do and then even longer to pull the opposite 180 on it.

Missions, we had heaps of missions. I'd nearly say every spot was a mission in a way. The most notable one that got us pretty stoked was when we were able to both check off a spot that’s been on the list pretty much since we started the project. I caught wind through Manu’s instagram story that the Southbank Pool was drained for maintenance. I'm pretty sure we tried sussing it the day before or something but it was too red hot so the next day Jerry was leaving my place fairly early and said he would pop in for a look and see how busy it was. So he gives me the call saying it's pretty quiet. So I race in meet up with Jerry and we go scope it. Bit hard getting motivated at 9am in the morning to start sending it on the sub box but there wasn’t gonna be many chance of hitting this again. I did a few double pegs on it and was starting to feel out the ice but we had security sprinting towards us across the fake beach. Would have loved to get some else in there, but I’ll take what ever I could.

So after that we went to check out that QPAC big curved quarter thing. It’s also a spot we have been to a few times and got the boot. This time we had to be a bit more sneaky. I started setting up the camera whilst Jerry started moving chairs and tables around so he could get the right run up. We then hid for a bit to make sure no security was onto us. Then Jerry went down there and started hitting it but after each attempt we would hide. I think it only took a few attempts to get what he wanted but on one occasion, a security guy came out and was looking around scratching his head, like he saw some one riding around but couldn’t see us. He then went back inside and Jerry laced the wheels across the top.

We were soo pumped, got two spots ticked of the list so we had lunch at Jerry’s favourite sandwich joint Pepper Jacks, win win!"

Jerry, portrait guy
The abovementioned QPAC spot

"To quote the wise words of Pahou 'being hurt sucks'"

The below mentioned goalie post spot

I've already given my thoughts on the goalie post spot, having seen them a while ago, but not as part of this project. I look at those photos and am still jealous of not having found it myself, a 'normal' spot but never presenting like this with such a perfect tranny and potentially some great bounce to help get off the ground. As you might expect, photos can be deceiving and tell only a portion of the overall story. 

Jerry opines:

"The pinnacle of spot obscurity! It caught my eye one day when i parked near it to go for a big MTB ride. It looked perfect to ride from afar so I went and checked it out and carved it a few times with the big wheels which felt pretty good! My head instantly went to over ice, like some kind of Dave Mirra Basketball hoop backboard walltap scenario. 

Going back with Raph on the BMX changed that idea a bit. You had to ride it pretty straight since it's a bit slippery with smoother tyres and the middle would flex in so far it put your wheel behind the 'coping'. But we started getting the hang of it after some trial and error and made a few things happen. Ended up going back to it again and put the pegs on it too for good measure."

Raph adds:

"Jerry was the one that found it as it's not too far from his place. He was talking about it one day on the way to check it out and I just had no idea what he was talking about. We get there and I was like 'how the fuck did you even think that riding this could be an option?' Jerry sees things differently. 

It took some getting used to. I found the faster you went at it the better it felt. Also going pretty close to the side of the goal post had the most tension on it which made it feel a bit easier to ride. But it was pretty scary just cranking down this grassy hill to hit this chainlink fence and not knowing how it was gonna pop you."

Lurking, Jerry left and Fabie right
Raph, Perth lookback
Raph, wild wall tap

There was a photo (at least one) that I recognised from a trip to Perth a few years back. Having not heard too much from the dudes about this trip (outside of the video), I wanted to get some insights into what it was like over in WA. 

Further, there were a few photos with Fabian Bader (Fabie), including from a day trip to the Sunshine Coast. Again, I wanted to hear from the boys about their adventures with the German native. 

Raph explains:

"Luke Snelly was having a jam and Chris (Triple 6/Tempered) hit Jerry and myself up to see if we were down to head out there. No brainer, I've always wanted to go to the west and hang with all the dudes. It was a quick trip would love to go for longer, but we had a blast. Stayed at Jake Corless' place and rode some of the local spots around that area, it was a treat. As luck would have it they took us to a rock that is shaped like a quarter pipe, bingo! So we saved one clip for our video from that spot. So that would have to be the furthest spot we filmed at.

Fabie is a really good mate of ours from South Germany. He used to ride for Tempered back in the day, I guess Jerry had heard of him before we met him, but as luck had it, where we picked up our camper van in Germany whilst on our Europe trip was pretty much in the same town as where Fabie is from. And then we ended up traveling together for over 6 months throughout Europe together and we became really close mates. I moved back to Australia and he followed not long after to come on a holiday to see the land down under. Always a blast with Fabie he’s a good cunt."

Jerry adds to the Fabie discussion:

"Fabie is a legend and meeting him was like clockwork. I heard that he'd be our German Tempered connect a bit before our trip in 2014. Like Raph said, turned out he lived a few towns over from where our other German mate 'Thilo' lives who had hooked us up with our campervan. Then we learn he had almost the exact same van and that he was also planning a big trip (with Killian Roth) that year. The parallels were uncanny! After a few beers we found out we all got along real well so eventually we met up in Barcelona and made some memories on the road for the next six months with the Dethleffs side by side. We've been good mates ever since."

Jerry, spray-crete air
Raph, pedal slide on a Sunny Coast DIY, Fabie on film

Most of the shots provided by the boys are tranny spots and/or riding tranny spots, with a few showing the guys relaxing. Beyond the riding, a project like this is a great way to enjoy one anothers company and spend some time together working towards a shared goal. With Raph and Jerry having been friends for a long time now, and having worked on a number of videos in the past - I was interested to explore whether this project felt any different and what the friendship dynamic is like these days. Jokes aside, age does weary and it is certainly not as easy to make a quality video part happen, warm the body and cop a slapping. 

Raph explains:

"That’s what I enjoy most of all with projects is the connection and memory you get with the other person and with Jerry like you said, we’ve been mates for a long time now, traveled throughout Europe together and lived together. It didn’t feel too different for me other than the fact that we live pretty far apart these days. So if we didn’t really have a plan before lunch time there was nearly no point heading out, because by the time we got there and set up or what ever there would only be a few hours of sun left. Also, with certain tricks or getting into a sending mode, I'm a bit more hesitant these days."

Jerry continues:

"It was a little different, in that we had direction. Every other video we've made has been organic because we'd just film while we were traveling or whatever we were riding at the time. The main thing that was different about this one was racking our brains to come up with spots. 

And yes, the body doesn't like playing the game like it used to. I did let a few things slide out of fear or lack of confidence. To quote the wise words of Pahou 'being hurt sucks'."

Jezza, leg doos spot
Hurricane on a famous Brisbane spot, ol' faithful. Not often you see a brake guy on the streets. As Jerry notes, "been really enjoying the brakes for the last few years. When I was riding brakeless I missed doing fufanus and shit so I built up another bike out of parts I had laying around and that gradually became the bike I'd prefer to take out, so after a while I just hung the main bike up in the shed and it's been there ever since! Well, apart from making an appearance in the video actually, for that narrow fakie awning tyre bonk thing."

And that'll do it! Enjoy the words offered by Jerry and Raph, think of yourself as privileged to have an insight of this detail, into a project that the boys suffused so much energy. 

For best quality viewing, allocate some time to sit down for 15 minutes and avoid distraction, to properly take this in. Your phone will work against this, all you have to do is be better.