A Dry Wales, The Miracle. For those of you who missed this one, a couple pictures by Lightphonics and a recounting by Ben Stainer.
Wales and good weather are a combination that very rarely happens. Maybe, a skate session that doesn’t end looking as if you’ve been dragged backwards through Norfolk.
With this in mind, I met up with Jack at Paddington , one of the Greenwich rippers back from being karate chopped by a board 4 months ago. Embarking onto the train, the realization suddenly arose that maybe, with the exception of Tregaron, there might be an event in wales not requiring enough rain equipment to look like a fisherman in the Irish sea. With this jubilation, Jack and I leapt onto the train to Cardiff. After a relaxing 2 hours or so, an uneventful wait to Abercynon station, where, using screenshots and an element of luck, we reached the hill.
It is an incredible hill. A sweeping right into a sharpish left, a moderate straight with a long right hairpin, followed up by two 90 degree lefts. After witnessing Aidan from the Bristol crew arriving looking as if he’d jumped straight out of a Palace clothing advert, it was onto the skating.
The hill brought out an entire range of styles, from the straight forward get down fastest to the cautious and the stand-up slide steeze. Notable was the sheer amount of stand up sliders at the event, breaking out a whole range of awesome moves and technical wizardry. The variety made trying to predict what was going to happen as futile as trying to put out a forest fire with a watering can.
The fast guys were out in force, Pete Connolly, Aaron, Irish visitor Pearce, Tom and a whole host of the Brave and wonderful. Race master Dan Shinnie of Boardlogic beamed out the registration of races, to which a flurry arrived to eagerly check themselves in. While all of this was happening, spotters dotted the hill, keeping a wary eye out for Cars, motorcycles and the occasional dog walker. Since the road had a golf course halfway up the road, everyone was keeping an eye out. Radios were given out when the racing commenced, meaning that the age of old method of shout and throw your hands in the air like you just don’t care could be laid to rest for the event.
Racing commenced around 2pm with a flurry of fast pushing, surprise heats, various tumbles and super rad overtakes. One notable one was of Ras, who overshoot the first right hander ever so slightly, turning into a human projectile with his board coming in by his side. Another just before was James, who decided to do the UKDH breakdance halfway through the same corner, rolling over about seven times before stopping and leaping to the side like a gazelle. More came in the shape of Tumbles during pushing, notably Mark flying through the air and Jonny Braund going the same way. One notable overtake was that of Aaron catching Richie on the approach to the right hander and swooshing past while Richie was doing a slowdown pendy. Nonetheless, Richie chased Aaron like a festival fan after Glastonbury tickets.
The Semi-finals the appropriate finals and race for 3rd came with its fair share of surprises. Pearce D’Arcy and Alex Clark, swooshing in like express trains racing through the countryside, had the thrill of being swished together going into the right hand hairpin. Both collided, with Alex somehow coming out and Pearce smashing the nose of his board so hard that a delam the size of the Irish Sea came into being. Surprising to see in the Semis was Bodhi, who in his trademark swim shorts and Awesome Kook Half shell had made it! The final of Alex and Skippings went down an awesome treat, with no crash and some great racing. The third place racing of Bodhi and Pearce bought up a great surprise, with Bodhi coming from behind to overtake Pearce after Pearce had unfortunately slid out onto the grass bank just before the right hairpin. An awesome race nonetheless, with great sportsmanship all round.
After the racing, it was all hammering it down the hill, weather it was no paws or full on hands down. Ruben came steaming in with toe-slides that seemed effortless and Jack, who had been out for a few months owing to an injured ankle, was stoking and killing it with a smooth style not at all changed by 4 months of hiatus. Jorge and Bodhi were steaming in with squat slides for days and John showed off his effortless relaxed style. Tom and the AOB team continued on killing it, with Ry being amazingly close to those he was filming, so close that he could give Alex Ameen a run for his money.
1st : Pearse D’arcy
2nd : Ras
3rd : Aaron Skippings
One of the most incredible events, with the added luxury of dry weather. Massive thank you to Dan (Boardlogic) for being an amazing race captain, to The Brianne Collective for organizing the event, to all the marshals for their spotting, to all the sponsors for donating prizes and money to the Brianne Collective :
Sector 9, Idle Slide Gloves, Hurtle Skateboards, Aera One Boards, BTR Leathers and Boardlogic
and to everyone for turning up and making it as awesome as it was, keep shredding and stoking.