Since founder Sheree moved to surf the waves at Fistral and me having stepped away to concentrate on the magazine, our good friend Carley Barton, team rider at Smile Longboards, is now at the helm of Brighton Longboard Ladies and, together with the other team riders and myself sponsoring as Thrill Magazine, this year’s Battle of the Boards is well underway. With only a week to go now before the event, I thought I’d share its history.
It was in 2016, just before our 3rd anniversary, that Brighton Longboard Ladies – although already arranging regular monthly meets, decided to organise our first major event. It started off with the idea of a humble competition involving different styles of longboards and skateboards but soon became the biggest flatland longboard event in the UK.
Priceless insight and advice on hosting an event in Brighton were gleaned from support crew member and sponsor, James Baker of Kamikaze Boarding. Looking back to that first meeting, we turned up with a scrap of paper and pen, whilst James had a whole notebook! Little did we know what was involved.
In order to put our own mark on the event and differentiate it from previous similar events, it was name Brighton’s Battle of the Boards and we decided that official permission would be acquired from the City Council. This led to the need for insurance and a risk assessment but thanks to our involvement in the wider skate community we had the support of Brighton & Hove Skatepark Association who kindly added our event to their own insurance and supplied a suitable risk assessment. Brighton & Hove City Council had no issues giving permission and allowing BLL to take over the promenade in the Hove Lawns area.
Battle of the Boards 2016
With Smile Longboards as the main sponsor; Kamikaze providing the sounds; a playlist provided by contestants and compiled by crew member Suz, together with the paperwork all it place, all that was left was the ‘small’ step of promoting the event.
Brighton has always had a great relationship with London Longboards which meant that BLL were able to call up the likes of Luca and Jorge to help out. Word spread and as well as gaining a lot of interest via Facebook for participants, BLL began to secure further sponsorship for the event from the wider skate community. The prizes started to come in hard and fast and we realised we were now working towards a pretty serious event.
Support from the wider skate community saw Pig City Skate bring in the skateboard element, Tony Gale and friends bringing in the freestyle and Newton’s Shred providing a number of Carver boards which, with cones supplied by Ben Williams (Worthing Longboards), a Carver Challenge slalom event was included. I managed to snaffle a well-constructed Hippy Jump set-up from friend Zac.
Smile Longboard’s Antonio, over from Spain for the summer, took the mic as MC and Boi organised the participants for the various competitions and acted as head judge together with David Wheatland (Pig City Skate), Romy (London Longboards), Danny Parker (Nomadeck) – bringing differing views on style, steeze, tricks.
The original date set had to be cancelled pretty much late in the day when the crew were advised of a massive food and drink festival happening at the same time, same place. Postponing it a week had the silver lining of bringing with it one of the hottest days of the year. Blue sky, no wind – thankfully my van had copious amounts of sun cream and the crew provided water for all as well as a little shade from those that were somewhat affected … (Jorge).
We worked out the programme, starting with an unofficial push race from the station, registration, then kicking off the competitions with the longest manual, followed by G-turn, best trick, hippy jump (that really brought the crowds in!) and the dance competition. As the 2016 event was quite experimental, we allowed all skateboarders to take part in the ‘dance’ comp which made for great viewing but difficult judging!
Battle of the Boards 2017
In 2017, having learned many lessons, we were able to move swiftly with the organising and Sheree, now living in Newquay, worked remotely to gather the sponsors whilst those of us still in the Brighton area pulled the various other elements together.
We were, once again, overwhelmed with the support from the community as riders travelled quite some distance to take part, whether that was to compete or to spectate. Riders came across from France and Holland to support us. We were amazed!
Each year, the Fortune of War has been host to our ‘after party’ providing live music and a DJ. Settling down to a pint and freshly made pizza, then chilling on the beach till the sun went down, wrapped the day up beautifully.
Now we are in 2018 and, together with co-hosts Smile Longboards and Thrill Magazine – as well as a few members of that amazing crew, London Longboards, we are at it again.
Roll up, roll up, you don’t want to miss this!
Follow these links to view photos and see sponsors of previous events: