Making the dream a reality // Q&A with Baxter Maiwald on Notion

The idea of doing a “build & ride” video has been a dream of Baxter’s for many years. We caught up with him to get some insights into the making of Notion to go alongside the sweet BTS edit Fox just dropped…

OK, so you’ve upped the anté on what’s been done in Aus in a huge way. What was the inspiration to get this project underway?
First up, thanks for the praise! I’m stoked on this project and what we were able to do. Rowan Saunders is a lot to blame for facilitating the progression in our local community. Micco has a property south of Canberra that got me fired up to build my own big stuff too! There’s guys out there doing it behind the scenes, and realistically it’s been getting done for ever. I also have massive FOMO of everyone in Europe riding Fest Series and alike, and I wanted to test how big I could go.
If you don’t have it, build it!
Aside from that inspiration, my introduction to mountain biking / freeride was watching Coastal Crew videos on youtube in 2012 or so. So looking back on that, my career so far has always been influenced by the Building, riding and media production side of the sport. Even when I was racing full time I was always looking for avenues to create content on the side. I even filmed and produced a ‘full length film’ from my last European trip following the world cups. you can find it on PinkBike ‘Vandango Diaries; The Movie”

From concept to ride, how long did the build take?

The concept took years, whilst simultaneously taking no time at all. I’d thought about a project like this forever, it’s not a new concept, but one I was really keen to do with my own flavor.  From my first proposal that I put to Canyon and Fox Australia, to actually starting the build was about 6 months. shovels hit the dirt, the entire thing was built, ridden and filmed within a 5 week period (slotted in around bad weather and sickness) and there was a few months of editing before we dropped the final piece.

Were you onsite, living in the bus the whole time?

I didn’t actually have the bus yet when we were working on this. Luckily, the property was only 20 minutes from where I was living at the time, so it was super convenient

I gather you’ve got a good connection to the landowner to let you carve up that pristine green hillside?

Definitely! Rowan has been a part of the riding community in Hobart for a long time, and was a mutual friend through multiple connections. I can’t wait to get back down there and simply hang out and ride jumps with that bloke this summer! He got that property, and machines almost specifically to build jumps, so there was no problem with carving up his paddock. Rowan And crew had already built a jump line through that zone, so this was just an addition to that.

I gotta ask, that hip… You had the vision, once it was built, did you think you’d bitten off more than you could chew? And moreso, what was first send like?

Growing up as a moto kid before mtb came into my life, I’ve been influenced by old moto movies too! I always thought it would be so sick to build some jumps into the hill like the moto freeride dudes have done. Basically, move as little dirt as you can, to build the biggest jump possible. That hip, and the step up were my opportunity for this, working with the hill as best I could. First sends of the hip were gnarly, but first sends of the step-up in the trees were next level scary. Given the hip was the first jump of the line, I was able to have my mates do run ins with me and we collectively calculated if the speed felt right or not. When I tested the step-up. still no one had jumped the hip so I was fully alone, aside form some crew on foot giving their judgement. Lucky Flin, Josh and Rowan are all super experienced and I trust their judgement, that thing worked exactly as I’d hoped – like a monster BMX jump, it send you straight up, you stall out in the air and fall back to earth.

Beyond simply digging and shredding the biggest hits Aus has seen, you went full send and made the graphic vibe of the edit happen! Is there a whole new art side of Baxter underway that we don’t know about??

I’ve always been into art, I’ve since started putting some of it on some t-shirts and hoodies (shameless plug, find the full range at

I wanted to illustrate the titles myself, and then through Jarryd and I tossing ideas around for the video, we landed on the extra illustrations. I just drew them in procreate and jared somehow made them work on the video. I’m definitely putting more focus on my creative side off of the bike, and proactively trying to figure out ways to incorporate that into what I do on the bike. Maybe that will give me some point of difference, if you can’t ride the biggest stuff, or be the best hike rider on earth, you’ve got to set yourself apart somehow, right, haha!

From racer to free rider or just plain free dude, you’ve carved a niche into the Aus MTB landscape, proving the point that it’s not just race results that allow a rider to live the riding dream. What’s your take on the current status quo of clips versus race results?

I’m a bike rider! Haha. I’ve worked pretty hard to get myself out of the pigeon hole of being a ‘racer’ or being a ‘freeracer’ or whatever you want to call it. On a weekly basis I’ll spend as much time drawing, riding my bmx or in the gym as what i would on my mtb. Its all about balance and all aspects benefit each other. I think that with the current landscape, it almost seems easier to provide value to sponsors but simply going racing. I used to think the opposite, but man the world of social media is GNARLY these days. there’s a massive over saturation of people / kids out there providing value for brands completely for free, and you have to do something that really stands out for it to be worthwhile – or, do a ridiculous amount of mediocre stuff to hopefully win the algorithm and actually reach and audience.

That said, I feel like i’m slowly figuring it out, and working out how to keep up with the trends in an authentic way. not sure if that exactly answers the question, but thats my take on the social media vs racing landscape!”

Notion is wild. A set-up bigger and badder than anything we’ve seen on these shores by a long shot. So whats next for you and Gnarla?

thanks again for the kind words! id like to go back and ride the jumps more this summer! in terms of what’s next, Ive decided to part ways with Gnarla for a few months (she’s in her happy place with my parents and their border-collie) and ill be chasing my dream of becoming a professional bike rider head on for the next bit. I’ll be headed to the gold coast to earn some money working at Boomerang Farm, then jumping up to Cairns and over the NZ for Crankworx. I might stay in NZ and go to Queenstown too. I haven’t organised any new video projects just yet, but I’ve got some ideas for sure!