A day in the life: Vancouver Island living with Vaea Verbeeck

A day in the life: Vancouver Island living with Vaea Verbeeck

Over the years, Vaea Verbeeck's career has evolved through her decade-long partnership with Rocky Mountain. From downhill World Cup racing to multiple Queen of Crankworx titles, she was introduced to the freeride world at Red Bull Formation in 2019 and has since shifted her focus.

For Vaea, North Cowichan, BC, on Vancouver Island, is the perfect home base. Surrounded by a strong and supportive riding community, numerous trail networks, airbag facilities, and local dirt jumps, she has everything she needs to keep progressing and pushing herself.

Tag along as Vaea shows us why she loves to call the island home, highlighting her day-to-day life, the tight-knit community, and the local spots that inspire her.

Featuring: Vaea Verbeeck
Director/Cinematographer/Editor: Scott Secco
Sound design: Keith White Audio
Producer: Sebastien Berthiaume

Q: What’s your favorite part about living on Vancouver Island?
A: It's a pretty relaxed environment and lifestyle while also having unlimited access to really sick outdoor experiences one could ask for.

Q: What convinced you to move there?
A: At first glance I wanted year-round mild weather, premium riding spots and optional access to winter activities. But the lifestyle and the people here suit me best. I felt at home.

Q: Describe a perfect day at home.
A: The best days are the ones where I go explore forests and beaches on the island; camping, surfing, biking, snowboarding, or trying something new. But a perfect average day at home starts with flicking the coffee machine on, 2 flat whites while soaking some rays on the deck, computer work until lunch time, maybe some work or organization around the house and an evening ride whether on the trails or jump park. A sense of simple routine feels so nice to reset when I get to be home.

Q: What fuels your progression when you are spending time at home?
A: Honestly, the environment and the people around here bring an organic stoke for anyone to want to push themselves. Riders of all ages and varied experience, each one just stoked to be there riding and hyped on other people's success. It's so fun to watch and I'm always keen to take on a fun challenge. There are just as many bikers eager to become the best in the world, just like there's people just happy to chill and socialize. So, the pressure is never there, but the opportunity to push yourself and the stoke that comes with that is always there. We're lucky to have the infrastructures to learn and try new things, but keeping those places alive and always growing is what has built this strong community.

Q: When did you know you wanted to make the transition to freeriding full time?
A: I've always been stoked to challenge myself and try new things. Racing was the path forward since my beginnings but side opportunities in freeride would come up and I was curious and wanting to try. Turns out I had way more fun riding features and learning new skills in that environment. It felt bold to step away from something I was successful at, but I knew that following what fuelled me with full time stoke was the right thing to do. At the start of 2022, I told myself I would swap the priority within those two worlds; prioritize freeride events while still attending racing events. And after losing my Crankworx overall winning streak in 2022, it felt I no longer had the pressure to show up to defend that title. Since then, I've dedicated more time to grow as a freerider.

Q: You’ve had a busy schedule and strong start to your year, what events do you have lined up for the rest of the season?
A: Yeah, the start of the year was non-stop, it was nice to take a break and recover at home in the spring when we filmed this piece. I've just returned from another trip abroad and now wanting to stick BC side a little while and work on my riding. There's an FMB slope competition this weekend at Stevie's that I'll go get involved with, whether that’s competing or fuelling the stoke for the homies. There's definitely more big jump riding sprinkled in the summer calendar, Whistler Crankworx will be a fun one to revisit, and fall will be an interesting one to plan for. Currently juggling how much to be home versus away to keep my progression going.

Q: Is one of your main goals to make your way back to Utah after Red Bull Rampage announced they will be including women in this year’s event?
A: Yeah, if I am to get an invite, I guess my main goal is to be ready for that challenge with the few months that we have left to gear up for that beast. While I won't trade off all the fun summer jump events, I will have to make room for more skill focused downhill riding. Utah riding is always fun though, I would be stoked to get back there.

Q: 10 years at Rocky Mountain, what kept you loving the ride all these years?
A: So many flavours! I love to try it all and I've been super fortunate to be given the support and the bike platforms to stir my career in different directions, more than once. It has paid off each time, I've grown as a rider, and been loving the ride more and more. Just going to keep following that mindset!
Learn more about Vaea