A Life of Love

Lunn had a carefree approach to life, but when it came to riding his bike, he always took it seriously—and viewed it as an expression of who he was as a person. Perhaps nowhere was this more true than in the forest where he spent months building massive jumps and some of the most imaginative stunts in the history of freeride for his Rough AF video trilogy. These, and his extraordinary kindness, will be his legacy.

A Life of Love The Enlightened Ways of Jordie Lunn

As the mountain bike world grieves over the tragic loss of another one of its greatest ambassadors—seminal Canadian freerider Jordie Lunn—friends and fans alike have found solace in cherishing the extraordinary example he set for a life well lived.

Though Lunn left us at the young age of 36, the impact he made with his 20-plus year career radically transcends his years and the often-groundbreaking nature of his riding.

In the days and weeks following his departure on October 9, 2019, the groundswell of emotion and memories pumping through social media feeds has been overwhelming. Lunn’s influence and the kindness he showed to others resonated through all strata of society, from his rough-and-tumble freeriding brethren to the thousands of fans he’d taken the time to chat with over two decades of pushing the sport’s limits. Everyone loved him, from the countless kids he coached and mentored to the parents of those kids, all of whom connected with his gentleness and enthusiasm for life. It seems that almost everyone who met him came away with a once-in-a-lifetime story.

Perhaps my most memorable moment with Lunn was after the 2010 Rampage, when he instigated an impromptu pool party at a hotel in Springdale, Utah. Still covered in the region’s signature reddish-orange dust, a dirty dozen of us crammed into a hot tub, instantly creating the vilest man-soup in human history. Lunn, Graham Agassiz and Kurt Sorge kept launching gainers into the adjacent pool, splashing murky water into our plastic beer cups. Within two days, all of us had developed Pontiac fever, a non-fatal form of Legionnaires’ disease—and at least one freerider had to be hospitalized as a result.

This experience was just another day in the life of Lunn, whose send-it-at-all-times approach to living was the undiluted embodiment of the carpe diem concept. Even in mountain biking’s rowdy freeride realm—where the vast majority of riders share this trait—Lunn was unrivaled in his ability to raise the overall stoke level of any crowd. This elevation of spirits extended everywhere he went. If there was riding and a party involved, he could be counted on for support— even for contests in which he wasn’t competing. From Rampage to Crankworx to Fest Series events, Lunn would be there, ready to ride, pick up a shovel or crack open an adult “sports drink” and really get the festivities rolling.

This article is for our Subscribers and Plus Members.

Gain access by purchasing an online or print subscription.

Basic Free Subscription
$0 / Year

  • Access to the FH Dashboard

  • Bookmark favorite articles for easy access

  • Browse articles by issue

  • Receive our weekly newsletter for the latest content and special discounts

Sign Up

Plus Online Subscription
$19.95 | Year

  • Online access to the latest print issues the day they hit newsstands

  • Download print articles and take them with you on the go for offline reading

  • Access to the FH Dashboard

  • Bookmark favorite articles for easy access

  • Browse articles by issue

  • Receive our weekly newsletter for the latest content and special discounts

 Get Plus 
Free Trial

Premium Print Subscription
$34.95 | Year*

  • 4 Issues/year of our print magazine mailed directly to your front door

  • Online access to the latest print issues the day they hit newsstands

  • Download print articles and take them with you on the go for offline reading

  • Access to the FH Dashboard

  • Bookmark favorite articles for easy access

  • Browse articles by issue

  • Receive our weekly newsletter for the latest content and special discounts

Go Premium

Already a Member?

Login

“That tree ladder was the deadliest thing I’ve ever seen,” photographer Margus Riga says. “It was, by far, the scariest thing I’ve ever shot. [Jordie] was standing at the top, looking down, and then he just freefell at least 40 feet into a 20-foot tranny. It was the roughest thing I’ve ever seen on a bike. We all just exploded and rushed up to him, and he was so happy.”

“Jordie was all about having fun, all the time,” says close friend Rupert Walker, filmmaker and co-founder of Revel Co. “His entire backyard was a giant playground, with a motocross track, downhill trails, all-mountain trails, dirt jumps, a massive air bag for practicing tricks and a driving range to perfect his golf swing. He was constantly having fun. That was his life.”

To be sure, Lunn truly lived in the moment, savoring the present like a burly, heavily tattooed Buddha, completely immersed in the now. This meditative focus propelled him to numerous milestones in his career, from his watershed segments in early freeride films like Ride to the Hills, The Collective and Roam to that landmark day, at the 2007 Bearclaw Invitational, when he became the first human ever to pull a corked 720 on a bicycle.

In the last four years of his life, Lunn staged a comeback that is unparalleled in freeride history, embarking on a furious fitness campaign and reinventing himself with a relentless DIY ethic. He spent months in the forest near his home, often alone or with only his dog to accompany him, building some of the scariest stunts ever made. These massive jumps and imaginative wooden features were immortalized in his Rough AF video trilogy, which sent shockwaves through the internet and revived the raw essence of freeriding’s raucous roots. Those videos—and in particular, Lunn’s death defying performance on the now-iconic tree ladder he built by hand—proved that he was still one of the world’s most creative and fearless riders. And in 2018, he was invited back to Rampage at 35—an age when most freeriders ease gracefully into more forgiving disciplines.

Even in his last days, Lunn was doing what he loved most: riding fast and free with close friends Darren Berrecloth, Greg Watts and Brayden Barrett-Hay, keeping the party laps and laughter alive until his final moments.

“Jord was more than a little loose around the edges, and when he was around there was always something hilarious going on,” says childhood friend Berrecloth, whose bond with Lunn stretched from the early days of riding bikes in their hometown of Parksville, British Columbia, to his last breath in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. “He was more than the life of the party. He was the party.”