Exclusive Video: Marshall Mullen Digs His Field of Dreams

Malibu Dirt Jumper Rides the Result of His Five Year Plan

Video by Rupert Walker
Photos and Captions by Anthony Smith
Story by Brice Minnigh

It took Malibu, California native Marshall Mullen five years to perfect his private backyard oasis of dirt jumps. All this work has given him firsthand insight into what it takes to execute a line that can be ridden seamlessly. Our exclusive video and photo gallery show his appreciation for the art of creating your own trails.

Every day of riding starts and ends in Mullen's workshop.

Every day of riding starts and ends in Mullen’s workshop.

A hydraulic bike lift keeps the bike clutter high overhead.

A hydraulic bike lift keeps the bike clutter high overhead.

Just in case there is any confusion about who the boss is....

Just in case there is any confusion about who the boss is….

So busy...so much to do....

So busy…so much to do….

Garage. Workshop. Clubhouse. It's all of the above for Mr. Mullen.

Garage. Workshop. Clubhouse. It’s all of the above for Mr. Mullen.

The latest garage-sale find: a one-off mini bike from Japan. After years of neglect from the previous owner, all the old gas in the engine caused it to shoot flames out of the exhaust when Mullen fired it up for the first time.

The latest garage-sale find: a one-off mini bike from Japan. After years of neglect from the previous owner, all the old gas in the engine caused it to shoot flames out of the exhaust when Mullen fired it up for the first time.

A young Mullen shows photos of an even younger Mullen digging the first jump he ever built in his backyard.

A young Mullen shows photos of an even younger Mullen digging the first jump he ever built in his backyard.

Few people are lucky enough to have their favorite riding spot just steps from their garage.

Few people are lucky enough to have their favorite riding spot just steps from their garage.

Nestled in the shadows of Malibu mansions, some of the world's most expensive real estate.

Nestled in the shadows of Malibu mansions, some of the world’s most expensive real estate.

Guess where Mullen's main line runs?

Guess where Mullen’s main line runs?

You need to clean The Gully before you can clean The Gully, got it?

You need to clean The Gully before you can clean The Gully, got it?

The hot Malibu sun makes the dirt thirsty.

The hot Malibu sun makes the dirt thirsty.

Endless hours of working in the dirt brings dreams to reality—like getting flat out of a head-high berm into a perfectly manicured landing.

Endless hours of working in the dirt brings dreams to reality—like getting flat out of a head-high berm into a perfectly manicured landing.

The best tuck no-hander in Malibu.

The best tuck no-hander in Malibu.

Tow and go.

Tow and go.

You've gotta step down to step up.

You’ve gotta step down to step up.

Pop the cork on the step-up and call it a day.

Pop the cork on the step-up and call it a day.

Story from the March 2014 Issue of Bike magazine

Marshall Mullen first started digging jumps in his family’s sprawling backyard in Malibu, California, when he was just 13 years old. By the time he was 16, what started out as a childhood diversion had become more of an obsession. So he set out to build a cohesive line through the main gully of a field that had served as a sheep farm until his grandparents bought the land and built a house on it some 50 years ago.

“Up to that point, I had jumps scattered all around the field, but I started looking at it as more of a whole,” says Mullen, now 20. “I wanted to use the field more efficiently, so I weaved one line that went through the whole thing.”

Four years and thousands of labor-hours later, Mullen’s ambitious project has become one of Southern California’s most meticulously manicured jump lines. And as word of their size and flow has spread, they also have become heavily sought-after, with local kids and big-name pros alike asking to ride them.

“I’ve had to learn to say ‘no,’” Mullen says, explaining how much work it takes to maintain the jumps. “If it wasn’t in my backyard, and if me and my close friends weren’t the only ones working on them, it’d be different. Everyone says they’re willing to help work, but not all of them actually do it in the end.”

Notable exceptions are Mullen’s friend Tyler McCaul—who has spent many long days digging with him—and the likes of Logan Peat and Brandon Semenuk, who recently visited with a view toward filming a “Life Behind Bars” segment and ended up spending several hours behind a shovel after sessioning the jumps.

“Brandon and Logan dug so much more than anyone,” Mullen says. “At one point I told them we were all good and they just kept digging. It really showed me how much those guys get it.”

They also knew how to ride the jumps.

“Most people who ride my jumps have to stop during their runs and scope them out, but Brandon was absolutely flawless his first time through,” says Mullen. “And on his second run, he did things I’ve never seen anyone do on them. It was unreal.

“It’s my favorite thing to watch when people make it all the way through, from top to bottom, on their first run. It’s just the best feeling ever. It really makes me feel like I did it right.” —Brice Minnigh

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