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Skateboard trio fight rabid dogs in driest desert

Published: 9:31PM Thursday March 01, 2012 Source: ONE News

Three Auckland mates have survived the driest desert on earth, fought off rabid dogs and gone without food and water to complete an epic skateboard journey.

Troy Bilbrough, Alan Carnaby and Guy Parsons, all in their 20s, skateboarded 1600 kilometres through Chile and Peru in support of sustainable travel.

They told TV ONE's Close Up the trip was not without its difficult moments, like when the trio found themselves in the Atacama Desert, the driest place on earth, with no water.

"We'd go through about 10 litres of water a day," Bilbrough said.

"We were trying to hail down trucks asking them for water as they were going past, getting whatever water we could get off them," added Parsons.

At one stage the group went without food and water for two days and that was when the going got toughest.

"We found out the hard way that most of these towns where we were going to get water and food from didn't exist, they were just a shack on the side of the road with nothing in it," said Bilbrough.

By day three of the five-week trip, Parsons was already prepared to head for home.

"I'm going up hill and there's buses going past everyday that will travel the same distance we travel in a day, in an hour. I was like man I'm gonna get on one of those and I'll see you guys in the next town."

His friends managed to stop him boarding a truck and the trio rolled on happily enough until a pack of dogs sized up Bilbrough for dinner.

"They were just killing machines - they saw me as just a big steak on a platter coming towards them," he said.

"My life flashed before my eyes and I was just like 'I'm gonna die', but, if I'm gonna go down, I'll go down with a good fight.

"I just swung my board around and collected about two of them, standing there, yelling hitting them with my board just trying to get them to go away, and they were biting me there was a bit of blood."

Bilbrough had to have a rabies jab following the attack, but said it wasn't too uncomfortable to be injected in the buttock as they didn't have room to take underpants with them anyway.

The trio endured a constant stream of heavy traffic along the roads and had to roll around in the dirt when they ran out of sunblock but despite the tough times said their trip was worth it.

"We wanted to raise a bit of awareness about sustainable travel, that's something that we all see as pretty important.

"I guess for us, longboarding is quite a sustainable way of travelling."

They had their flights over to South America carbon-zero certified.

"I think everyone in general is becoming a lot more environmentally aware," Parsons said.

"It was a great thing to support while we had a lot of fun skateboarding through a foreign country."

And if you're wondering what their parents thought about the trip, the boys said they had no idea what they were up to.