Some familiar UK downhill faces went on a sneaky excursion to an unknown island somewhere a bit warmer than it is here… Find out what Aaron Skippings, Dan Shinnie, Olly Goodwin and Oli Slaughter got up to this spring.
Yo guys!! Hear you went to a secret downhill island! Out of 10, how was it?
A: Hell yeah! a solid 10!
OS: Way past 10 and into the realm of numbers beyond which your mind can comprehend
D: Naturally it's a ten, next!
OG: Hey man! 10/10 for sure.
How long were you away for?
A: We were away for a week but anymore and I don’t think my legs could take it ha!
OS: Most of our trips are capped at 7 days as it can become quite physically intense hitting hills from 9 till 7 everyday solidly.
D: 7 days, 6 days skating, one rest day.
OG: One mad week.
What bags did you use to transport all your gear?
A: Me and oli slaughter have decent hardware body bags there awesome bags but the problem is they have no wheels so carrying them is impossible when it’s full of skate gear! Olly Goodwin had a golf bag with wheels which was sick, I think he made the best choice.
OS: I use a Decent Hardware Body Bag which is sweet to fit all your boards, clothes and assortment of condoms in.. But there are different types of sports bags I’ve seen other skaters trawling through airports with like Golf, Cricket and even Kitesurfing, which you can grab for a steal on ebay and should come with life saving wheels. Unless you’re looking for the protein gainz lifting your 20kg bags through airport terminals.
OG: I used a massive golf travel bag, the biggest of all the bags we had!
Desribe your favourite spot from the trip.
A: Oooh wow that’s a tough one there’s so many hills you’re lost for choice. There was one that stood out from the rest though. A 10km run with so many hairpins I lost count. Maybe 50-60?!?! Put it this way… it cored a new set of wheels in 2-3 runs.
OS: This hill definitely goes straight into the top 5 hills I have ever skated. It was thin, about 6km long and had more corners than you could count. Pinging you up to about 40mph for the bravest. As you skate down you have these jaw dropping views of the sea and mountains although you’re focusing on staying on your board as it’s a battle and clean runs were like trophies, I think I only managed 1. I also hit a cactus as it sits on the edge of one of the main crashing corners haha.
OG: Favourite spot… Three words, corners, cores and cactus.
What is the best thing about getting away from the UK?
A: The best thing would be the hills and hot weather! I mean we do have hills and good ones but there usually far away and in places where it rains nearly all the time haha. I believe its important to go and experience others places though, travel a bit, see the world, interact and skate with new people from other countries you never know where it might take you I can bet there’s loads of kids in the UK who wouldn’t be where they are now in skating without hitting a euro freeride or race.
OS: The usual suspects… Hotter weather and sick hills everywhere you look
D: For me, probably the attitude.
OG: The best thing about getting away from the UK is that basically everything is better, the hills, the scenery, the weather, the people (in most cases). It’s a bit of a downer when you return
What do you get up to when you aren’t skating?
A: Ermmm usually working and then skating on the weekend. There’s the odd chance where I might work out a bit for skating. Getting them fast gainz! #everythingsserious2014
D: Oli wanted to snorkel so much you'd think he was hunting for doubloons. We were pretty unlucky with the wind and the currents however so we ended up resting tired legs, stretching, lubing up the sun burn and generally larking about.
OG: When we aren’t skating we normally drink some beer and sleep! On past trips there has been more tourist type stuff going on but not so much this time as there was so much skateboarding!
What food fuels such an intense week of riding?
A: Usually a lot of pasta and chorizo…also energy drinks and sweets
OS: Chorizo, Pasta, Chicken..
OG: In terms of food, breakfast – cereal or grilled cheese, lunch – meat, cheese and bread, dinner – various (sometimes not so nice) food from the local shops or restaurants.
Did anyone get hurt?
A: No one got seriously hurt but I got mad drift to grip action which threw me into the other side of the road. Gave me a mean hip gash which I’m tending to now. Oh and Goodwin and Slaughter both met a cactus
OS: All of us were hurt at some stage, the worst was probably where the local guy we were skating with tried a fast stand up , smashed through a cactus off the side off the road and did a front flip before his knee soon after doubled in size, plenty of ice and rest later though he was all good.
D: Nope! A bum got a little red, a calf a little bruised and a shin a little lumpy but all in all an accident free trip.
OG: There were a couple of bumps and scrapes, Aaron and Oli both had some road rash, and our tour guide for the wheel destroyed a cactus upside-down at ~30mph.
A: Skating a crazy hill at the start of the week with everyone in a tight pack getting super close, things got gnarly but we all survived. Loved it.
OS: Skating for 16km downhill and through a cloud with Mr Skippings whilst giving commentary filming the run.
D: Watching a man barrel roll through a cactus or Olly G decimating
OG: Turning back to see this on the last run of the day was also the worst moment of the trip for me!
A: Filming all day and trying to skate in stupid heat. Try skating when super tired doesn’t go down to well haha.
OS: Leaving and wishing we had hills like that in the UK
D: Watching a man barrel roll through a cactus. Only a skater knows that bum clenching, ball shrivelling, and stomach churning fear that comes after watching a monster of a bail and not being close enough to the casualty to establish damage.
Did you have any close calls?
A: We were skating a hill with some blind corners as you do and things were getting pretty fast. I looked down onto the road and saw it was clear. I came into a toeside and pulled a predrift not realising a car was coming round the corner I drifted just onto the middle white line and got at least a few inches close to the car. He wasn’t impressed and went mental but I survived and got a massive adrenaline rush from it. That’s downhill skateboarding!
OS: Many, I haven’t replaced the grip on my board for over a year and on one of the runs we were doing about 40mph and my back foot suddenly slipped out of my tuck.. Luckily I managed to ride it out… but I think I’ll be changing that grip real soon…
D: Not particularly, we're all pretty experienced and know the rules of the open road skater, while that minimises it doesn't eliminate risk. Very safety conscious this trip, none of that 'safety third' gumpf you see floating around on the internet.
OG: There were a couple close calls, Aaron almost nailing a car on the exit of a right hand hairpin was the most memorable, along with the whole crew being forced to overtake both a car and a motorbike while midway down a fast run.
When you going back?
A: As soon as I can! Hopefully next year though as my plans are now to focus on America and racing over there later this year. And as it happens it’s with you buddy! yeahhhhhhhhh! UKDH!
OS: As soon as the bank balance allows
OG: I would like to go back for sure, but I think there are plenty of places to visit in between now and returning to the magical island!
Sweet chatting! Catch you soon
A: My pleasure! Thanks dude!
OS: Cheers, see you on the hill…
OG: See you at an event soon hopefully!