So.. The UK goes Dutch

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So.. You Can Longboard Dance 2019, the World Championship for longboard freestyle dance, saw one of the largest UK crew attendances, representing for Britain as well as their own countries.

We asked a few of the crew to share their experiences:

Photo : SYCLD

Louise Taylor, representing London Longboads and home country of UK, shares her epic experience.

“I don’t think I’ll have a better bank holiday weekend than this for a while. It was my first time at the event, and my first competition ever, and I can safely say I’ll be coming back for as long as it continues.

Louise Taylor – Photo : Guy Balaam

The only longboarding competition I had been to before SYCLD was Skate Hog Hill, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I was super keen to attend because I’d seen so much footage from people I follow on social media from when previous SYCLD events were on, and this was the first time I was able to go.

It’s exactly like how it looks in footage, the vibe is energetic and friendly, everyone is keen to impress but the atmosphere is not competitive, it’s encouraging. The venue itself had about 4 halls to skate in, with a mini skatepark and pump track set up in one of them, and the main arena in another. There were food stalls, a bar and skate gear stalls set up in the venue so there was just enough space to practise and no real need to ever leave.

Photos : Guy Balaam

It was somewhat surreal to meet so many skaters who have inspired me over the years in the flesh for the first time. There was a strong sense of community and it was impossible not to make lots of new friends. Longboarding is unique in that it has a relatively small community compared to many other sports, and SYCLD provides that opportunity to reunite with old friends in the longboarding scene. I bumped into many familiar faces that I hadn’t seen in so long, from friends I met on my first long distance push (see our ‘Tubesday’ featured video Megometer) like Dineke Kelly (of Skate Aunt), to friends that I had met online like Maria Arndt of S*pin Skate.

I could only describe my first experience competing as like being on drugs.

Louise Taylor

I’m a somewhat nervous type of person and I had to pace a lot to calm myself down. I had practised for so long, I was so tired, but adrenaline was keeping me on my toes. I hadn’t intended to compete, it wasn’t until a month before the competition that I registered as a result of a campaign by S*pin Skate to encourage interest in the women’s non-sponsored category.

Once I’d registered it was all about planning what I was going to do when I performed, to make sure that when I was under pressure, my mind wouldn’t go completely blank – although, this effort was futile – as your run rarely goes perfectly and you have to think on the spot of ways to bring it back. During the pre-selection runs, I ran against Sol Castro (who came 2nd overall in the women non-sponsored category), she is a brilliant dancer, and I was already following her on social media when I found out I would be running against her!

I had fun during my run and I was elated to have made it to the finals. In my final run I just wanted to have fun, it was my victory run because I was so pleased to have made it this far in my first competition. I got stuck on a trick I really wanted to land, so I just kept doing it until I landed it, there was no need to do a perfect line because I didn’t care about winning. The crowd was cheering me on to land this damn trick, and when I finally did it at the last second, I shouted “It counts!”, everyone cheered and my friends ran on the stage to congratulate me. It was an amazing feeling!

Mikielus Jones & Luca Barton – Photo: Guy Balaam

I would totally do it all again, I’m so glad I finally entered a competition and I’m so glad I finally went to So You Can Longboard Dance. It pushes you to improve your skills and you meet lots of new people with new advice. I’ll have to give it another shot at my first Battle of the Boards in Brighton this year.”

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Indy Frederic, representing London Longboards and home country of France, put it beautifully.

“I always knew that the solidarity, no matter what, is a big part of a ride’s beauty and always loved that aspect of riding so much but SYCLD made me realise that I wasn’t even close to knowing how huge that solidarity is : we are FAMILY, and I experienced that for the first time, after so many years having a foot in this universe, at SYCLD – the best event you can go to and experience!

It is an AMAZING annual ‘friend’s meeting’ where, basically, you all get to play a worldwide game of skate and honestly, I wish everyone would experience this pure joy and love once in their life.

Indy Frederic – Photo : SYCLD

That’s also why I didn’t think twice about registering, even with my beginner’s level ability. I noticed the new official non-sponsored women’s category was lacking participants and I knew how it would be even if I never went.

First event and first competition ever in front of people from everywhere in the world!? Although I messed up my run, I would re-do it without a second thought if I have to, and I am now seriously considering trying other contests.

I.LOVED.IT

Indy Frederic

First of all, it is such a perfect opportunity to challenge yourself on so many levels; self-confidence, consistency in practice to improve for comps, and more. You have nothing to loose and nothing to be ashamed of, everyone is a beginner some days!

So.. why give it a try at SYCLD in front of people with out-of-this-world skills? Because they’ll be there for you, smiling, applauding and encouraging you before and after! You’ll always cross paths with someone nice who has the right words for you if you’re feeling nervous.

I’m French but only met other French girl longboarders before a few hours before our runs and during my run I hear them cheering me on, yelling my name!! Believe me, this is such a thrilling feeling, one you will never forget! It gives you all the courage you’ll need to overcome the fear and have fun – loads of fun!

Photo : SYCLD

You’ll realise the greatness of this thing you are part of and you’ll be hooked! SO…See you next year for one of the best weekend of your life?”

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Linden Nieto, has a few competitions up his sleeve, what were his thoughts?

“Going back to SYCLD this year was amazing. The last time was back in 2016 and I hadn’t realised ithad been 3 years since then! I saw many familiar faces and met many friends that I’d not seen in years. Not only that but every time you go to an event like SYCLD you make a whole load of new friends whilst being there.

Linden Nieton’s SYCLD video comp submission

It was an exhausting yet super-rewarding trip. I think everyone is just as tired as each other by the end of the long weekend. Because the whole event is just too good and everyone is so stoked, no one gives themselves the time to rest! You don’t want to miss a single minute of it all!

Linden Nieto – Photos : Guy Balaam

Even though I spent most of the event behind the camera filming, I still took part in the non-sponsored open competition because I feel it’s super important to just take part. My run may not have been the greatest, but I am happy that I took part nevertheless. In the end, it’s all about having fun whilst you’re out there, in the spotlight for your one minute.”

Coming back to London was like coming back out of a bubble of friendship, skating and pure good vibes. Now I’m more motivated than ever to get back on my board and to keep on improving my skills!

Linden Nieto

Linden is a modest guy, he took part in the Hippy Jump comp and, with a height of 1.25m, took 3rd place behind Lotfi ‘Woodwalker’ Lamaali‘s 1.40m win.

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Enjoy these images …

Photos : SYCLD

Photos : Guy Balaam

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Words by Louise Taylor, Indy Frederic and Linden Nieto

Video by Linden Nieto

Images by Guy Balaam and SYCLD

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