On a recent trip to UK, Kurtis Dawe heard about the Tregaron Freeride, organised by Brianne Collective, and took advantage. Read the account of his first race here in the UK along with Team GB Streetluge and some Turtles…
My first interaction with the London longboard scene was with Duncan Kay about 7 years ago in Canada where we met at weekly skate sessions. When I arrived in London he hit me up right away to welcome me and told me there was a race coming up in wales.
We travelled up to Wales with his friend Alex Ireton who is a rad dude. We got in early in the morning and started doing runs. It was patchy and sketchy at first but started to dry. The road reminded me of some of the runs we have in Vancouver so I felt fairly at home. started noticing some of the really fast dudes like Aaron Skippings, Joe Baldwin, Oliver Slaughter, Olly Goodwin and Duncan Kay and tried to ride with them as much as possible. Joe and Aaron were taking an awesome grip line through the left corner that I was able to copy only a couple times. I felt it would be a better idea for me to throw a very tiny drift in that corner to avoid screwing it up.
I felt pretty good about the course so I tried some street turtles with Duncan. We had a riot! Those things were so twitchy and always made for very close right races.
We partied hard that night and I was properly introduced to many of the other boarders and lugers in the community. The community in the UK is awesome! Everyone is very nice and welcoming. It actually reminded me a lot of vancouver.
Race day came and it was raining which I was very stoked about. I’m from Vancouver, Canada where we skate in the rain all the time. I was taking a very different (one slide) line than through the right corner and it was letting me pull away in practice.
In quarter- and semi-finals it was very patchy and awkward. Through semi-finals I was in first coming into the righty with Olly behind me and Aaron right behind him. Aaron threw a crazy squat foot break underneath Olly’s arms and got him going into the corner with lots of speed. I threw my drift early anticipating it to be wet and therefore drifting a lot but it was super grippy. I wrangled my slide back and prepared to battle through the corner. Aaron sped up on me a bit too quick and I had inside line. His board hit the back of mine and he jumped off to avoid hitting me.
The finals was next and I was stoked to see it was pouring rain at the top. Time to throw on my Orangatang Kegels rain wheels. Some of the guys in the heat didn’t put rain wheels on because we weren’t sure of how wet the rest of the course was. My experience in the rain is that if there is a certain amount of rain on the road, then having rain wheels actually makes you go faster in the straights because the grooves in the rain wheels slice through the water rather than plow through.
I pushed off in first and had a pretty good lead into the righty, the others threw their slides and had drifted a bit wide because of all the ran. With my rain wheels I had lots of grip so I was able to take inside with a good amount of speed. This got me a pretty good lead so it was just a matter of not blowing it in the left. All worked out and I took first.
I had so much fun at the Tregaron race. The organisers did such an amazing job and the race ran very smoothly with lots of runs. It was super fun and a fantastic introduction into the DH scene in the UK and London areas. I’m really excited to travel around and meet up with the locals more often and hit some more spots.
Team GB Streetluge were also present and, not to be defeated, Azzy went on to take 1st place in the streetluge race. He posted afterwards, “Super fun weekend with the Lugers as always! Even better to come away with a win! It’s seriously important to keep it going in our country. Attendance at races is slowly going up and I always encourage more to race even if they just have their skateboard.”
Their races were captured brilliantly in this video:
Images: Thrill Magazine, Will Edgecombe Photography