“I left Friday, midday.
I always like to go the day before to the Hog Hill events as it saves me a long, stressful drive up early Saturday morning. One advantage of me living in a van is that I can take my home with me.
I didn’t make it. Spent hours waiting for the correct recovery vehicle. Got back to where I started 12 hours after I set off.
Photo : Robbie Stevens
I’m wondering if every Hog event I’ve been to has had some kind of incident or injury as some of my friends seem to think I have a kind of curse of Hog Hill, if you will. No, I’m sure it’s just pure chance.
Come Saturday, I try again, this time in my trusty VW Mark 4 Golf and my much admired Smartent (basically a fold-out bed with a tent on it which takes me about 30 seconds to set up). Easy. Cool. Just what I need after my very stressful day before.
The event started at 12-1pm (you know Skater Time) and I got there incident-free at around 3pm so that suited me … things were looking good.
Summer Swine Stomp is the second in the Hog Hill trilogy of annual events and, what with summer holidays and Euro tour events going on, it is a more mellow atmosphere with fewer people in attendance. This gives the weekend a kind of ‘hanging out with my crew’ type feel about it. A nice change from the full on partying of Hogtoberfest, for instance.
About a dozen stand-up skaters were enjoying the freedom of an empty race hill and I caught up with a few friends I’d met at other events; red-faced and sweating after walking back up the hill. They’d been on it for two hours and were about to take a short break.
Perfect! I’ll eat something in the cafe, top up on caffeine, and water maybe, then hit the hill, I thought to myself. A thought I would soon be regretting. After a hot Jacket Potato from Sylvie (not Sheila as I previously reported!) and three coffees, I was on the start line talking to my friends about a friendly race. Can’t help it when you haven’t seen friends in a while, hey? My earlier thought of ‘hitting the track’ was about to come vividly and painfully true.
The main challenge of the ‘HogBurg’ is the chicane. As I entered it, my Lush Kisawa (a very long Longboard!) started to wobble and it threw me off as I exited the chicane on my pucks and knee pads. I’d forgotten in my haste to ‘get on it’ to check my trucks which were very loose from using that particular board to carve and cruise along the beach front of Weymouth – which is, of course, flat.
I was also wearing some G-Form pads which, while great at impact resistance, are not built for friction resistance. They are better under jeans than with the shorts I was wearing – we’re experiencing great weather here in the UK for summer 2019!
So, after getting my road-rash patched up by the St John Ambulance staff (attending as always), I was soon back at the top of the hill where I grabbed the other set-up I’d brought with me, my Lush Machine.
Always appreciate the presence of the St John Ambulance crew
I see Mark Huntley – we have a little Old Guys Race every time we meet at Hog – so before I know it, I’m approaching the chicane, slightly behind Mark and again the speed wobbles start! I realise I had also loosened the trucks on this set-up when I used it on my local Pump Track a few weeks before.
“I’m going to bail, aren’t I”, I think to myself but, as I knew it’s coming, it wasn’t too bad and I managed to come to a resting position on the grass.
Always check your equipment before use! “Yes, I will from now on”, I think to myself and, after having the rip taken out of me by my so-called friends, I decide it was time to Luge the hill – the first thing I did was? Yes! Check my equipment!
A few runs done and it was already time to head to the campsite where a handful of us spent a very pleasant night with a fire I didn’t have any contact with and a few beers which I had just the right amount of contact with. I’m pretty sure I was in bed early enough as I was up early the next day to head back to Redbridge Cycling Centre.
Photos : John Nicholas, UKSSA
Sunday saw more people in attendance and the UKSSA Slalom Crew had migrated from their usual part of the track to the race hill, which was a roaring success allowing more people to see what Slalom actually is and a few of us to do a little rogue slalom, taking new lines into the chicane.
Video : Sam Gordon, UKSSA
Photos : Sam Gordon, UKSSA
Some families had randomly turned up, as they often do at these events, to ride their bicycles, BMXs, etc so I persuaded the parents of five kids to let them have a go so we got five Street Sledges on the hill! After a couple hours practise, all five kids were up for a race! These things are all about fun and many other ‘advanced in age’ kids were soon seen taking to the hill on the colourful little wheeled shell-like craft.
My work here is done I think to myself, and it was.
Photos : Sabina Edwards, Thrill Magazine & Sam Gordon, UKSSA
Well, not quiet as the main reason for attending the event was the UK Luge Championships as I’d missed out on racing, and therefore points, at the earlier The Crackling event due do a minor being-on-fire incident. So I was eager to get some low down luge action.
Four of us luge types were there; Josh, Ty, Sabina and me, and so we all made it to the podium! We kind of knew who’d be where after several runs down to practice but it was a battle for 3rd between myself and Sabina – who’d injured her shoulder after another speed-wobble induced bail – so I was quietly confident of my points at the end of the day!
British Luge Championship (round 2) Podium : 1st Josh Fieldwick, 2nd Ty Jessepy, 3rd Robbie Stevens, 4th/last but not least, Sabina Edwards
Photo : Ethan Robins Kear-Davies, Thrill Magazine
Among the shenanigans going on on the super-chilled skate day was the King of the Norf Side episode of Inflatable Downhill. Riders lined up, ran to grab their board, ran on to grab an inflatable and then hit the hill.
Four riders took part in the 2 heats with a final 3rd heat settling the podium.
KotNS Inflatable Downhill podium – 1st Dakota Kellner, 2nd Sam Gregory, 3rd Max Brown
There was a fine turnout from the E-skaters and they organised their own little bit of fun:
And so that was it, around ten hours of Gravity Sports over two days was just the right amount of excitement for this middle-aged shredder. Next time I’ll check all my gear before I leave home and make sure my first aid kit is topped up, you know, just in case ‘The Curse of Hog Hill‘ strikes again!
As always, many thanks to everyone who enable these events to occur: Skate Hog Hill, UKSSA, Redbridge Cycling Centre and St John Ambulance – and the weather! Thanks for all being amazing!
Words: Robbie (Roadkill) Stevens, Sabina Edwards
Photos: Thrill Magazine unless otherwise stated