So … You Can Lose Yourself by Joe Williams

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Greetings groovy rollers and riders, I have just returned from a gathering of the world’s finest flatland, freestyle dancers on this great marble. So… You Can Longboard Dance in Eindhoven, Holland, after its 6th cycle, has earned the title as the World Cup of flatland longboarding.

A chance to lose yourself, and for those with the metal, a chance to prove yourself. Held over two days in April, there are oodles of excitement for participants and spectators alike.

Though the competitions are the focal point of the weekend, the peripherals are really where the delights of the event are hidden. Firstly, the City of Eindhoven is the setting of this momentous meeting.  A marvel of modern architecture with a large student populous, there are plenty of opportunities to get some immersion into Dutch culture. The event is held just out of town in a warehouse called the Klokgebouw (horrible name to remember, whose team is passionate about the sport). The venue is a flatland dream, two rooms made of pure square footage of smooth slabs that make me smile.

Day one photographs:

Copyright (and great thanks to) Magali Merzougui !!!

Posted by So You Can Longboard Dance? on Saturday, 21 April 2018

The main arena is bathed in neon lights and music that keep you going for miles. So much so that every year more and more dreamers fulfil their desire to stand with the greats and flow free under the neon spots on the floor. It’s growing nearly out of control. This year there were over 200 entrants in the sponsored event alone. The vibes are that of a festival, always positive and encouraging, even though the standard is so high. Once the strain of sweat and skate becomes too great and one can no longer run, pop out the front and there was always a rabble of those seeking respite in the Sun.

Wrapped in all the good times anyone longboard mount bound could want are the competitions. Best trick, hippy jump, G-Turn and of course, the battle for the best in the world for women, groms, sponsored and non-sponsored. SYCLD (as called by the cool kids) is a mind-bending show of such a broad spectrum of style and skill, truly one of the greatest shows on earth. What is beautiful about the competitions, for its namesake, is that the judges really favour fluidity and finesse over fat flips and sick tricks, which sustains the variety in style and helps prevent the inevitable extreme incline towards aggressive skating and creates a diverse and healthy environment of encouragement and respect for each other’s abilities.

Day Two Photographs:

Copyright Magali Merzougui

Posted by So You Can Longboard Dance? on Sunday, 22 April 2018

As a global gathering, there are skaters from all over the world, this year the UK was represented by a small batch of hopefuls, myself included, but our presence as a nation is somewhat quiet against the leagues of other nations’ longboarders. So, heed my call, book ahead for next year, we need there to be a UK invasion. Come along to slam or spectate, the event is free to attend, and entry to compete is almost free.

As the zip clicks closed on my board in its case and my weekend in Eindhoven draws to an end, I look back on the days past and revel in the sun-drenched adventure that lay behind me.  New buddies bonded by board, fists bumped, battered bodies and tales to tell my grandkids. Before setting off and away from the patinando paridise, I am already eager to try again to take the podium next year.



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