'Brits Abroad': REB freeride event report.
Words and Photos by Josh Monk
This was a new event for most of us, only Chris Vanstone had skated the hill before, the previous year. There was a big UK contingent attending, about 15 riders at a guess, everyone made their relevant travel plans from different corners of blighty for the usual ferry orientated skateboard invasion. We decided to take the Newhaven to Dieppe crossing option as it was minimal driving in France, the event is only about 10 mins out of Dieppe into the countryside.
We really didnt have great expectations of the Port town, being use to Calais landings, but oh were we wrong! Dieppe is picturesque, Lots of old features and architecture, a Brightonesque seafront, with a long clean stone beach, fun skatepark, pool, crazy golf, volley ball etc, overlooked by a choc box castle….i’m rambiling, basically it’s a nice place to arrive after a decent drive and ferry ride. We hit the bowl, cruised the seafront, had a paddle and lurked a bit (didn’t perv on the locals)…then called time to head for the supermarket booze and grub stock up…. Continental Lidl Lovin!
We set the sat nav, and took a very short drive into the Normandy countryside, pleasant! Arrived at the campsite/holiday playground in a quaint French village, with a stream running through it (took advantage of that even though showers were provided, it’s just better washing in the wild!) which is perfectly set up for a freeride event, flat football pitch to camp on, proper toilet, and big party barn, very short walk/skate from the hill. Everyone was really friendly including the organisers. Tent situation sorted, bevees flowing, my 4 hr truck change ensued, to everyone’s amusement as I couldn’t find long enough bolts and kept getting distracted. Nothing too wild happened, super chilled vibe, then we all bedded down for the night…
Morning came and the local ladies put Tea/coffees and cake on for us! Everything was organized well, and the uplifts start rolling, the hill was great fun, and little waiting around with efficient turn around. The hill isn’t intimidating, good for most levels….there were plenty of fun corners and a hectic chicane or ‘Piff Paff ‘ which some of us found can get interesting in full speed/no brakes mode. On the exit there is a level crossing, which they closed and ramped over with wood (very well, hardly notice it), would British Rail let us do that!?? If you really have it in you it is Ollieable! (props to Jooz Hughes) At the end of day 1 there were BIG smiles all round. The evening entertainment started with an Aperitif (appetizing drink before dinner), which was on the house from the local Council!! Then a 4 course dinner laid out in the barn (not to mention the rose petals on the tables) I mean this is like no other skate event I’ve ever been to in terms of hospitality and local peoples interaction and support. Although anyone can be pushed to the limit if you take 20 mins deciding which cake to have, Leo May hahah brilliant. After dinner they put on 2 bands, they weren’t the best it has to be said, Vandem Freeride music is hard to beat, but I guess not the vibe for this place.
Next day was great again loads of runs, big packs, mixing it up, many crashes, no serious injuries, Even bigger smiles all round again. They put lunch on for us half way up the hill (same thing the first day) BIG baguette with sausage and chips, and Tuna for the ‘Vegetarians’. They had a big raffle, loads of goodies (props to Lush, Sabre, Cult Wheels). The local villagers were all around to join us with their families, and the MAYOR gave us a speech! In French of course but Basic gist was they love the event and want us back every year, with even talk of road re-surfacing especially for us! (There are few rough patches but nothing crazy). Again it was all above and beyond to make skaters welcome. Inevitably it all came to an end and we ferried it back to England (highlight of return journey was a barman that looked exactly like Duane Peters) knackered, but unbelievably stoked, wishing we could do it every weekend.