Tag: Longboarding

The Peakender

Peakenders, the story of a bunch of random people not in a pub … or London…

The divide between North and South of England has been debated by people for many years, don’t really know why!

Anywhere ‘North of the Watford Gap – blah, blah, blah – is the North!’ I think the joke goes. Don’t look at me, I’m a child of the 70’s, Political Correctness did not exist. However, this gap was bridged on this weekend as a bunch of like-minded people from other parts of the UK ventured to the famous hills of The Peak District.

Andy Speight, of Sp8Boards and Leeds Longboarding, greeted myself and fellow Southern Fairies Outlaw Jonathan Braund after our six hour drive up from the South Coast at a bunkhouse he’d found on a working farm a short drive from the hills we’d be enjoying the following two days.

So cows with calves, sheep constantly bleating (and eating it seemed) and several working farm dogs were our neighbours, as were a bunch of disgruntled climbers who arrived the following night, but that’s not really relevant to our story, honest. (If they’d asked us to be quiet we would have obliged! Apologies to afore-mentioned climbers as we were a bit, er, enthusiastic with our evenings conversations. Anyways, moving swiftly on…)

Several other people arrived later that night and, after a few beers in the local pub, we all headed to our bunks eager to see the hills the next day.

The Peak District is famous around the world for its wild landscapes, steep hills, lakes and gritstone rocky cliffs making it a magnet for outdoor activity types from walkers and climbers to mountain bikers and the Lycra-clad road-bike crews.

It’s thanks to the latter that we longboard and street luge leather-clad types have smooth roads to enjoy instead of the usual pothole dodging and stone chip sealed roads we’re all too used to down South! The Tour de France visited a few years back and lots of roads were resurfaced and improved so it’s well known in the UK Downhill scene as a must place to visit for smooth tarmac.

Now, normally this time of year (the end of February btw) would not be an ideal time to visit this area also famed for, yes, you got it, rain. Or snow … as it was this time last year! However, due to, er … ‘unusual’ weather patterns
(AHEM! #GlobalWarming), we in the UK were experiencing what felt like an early Spring. This bode well for the weekends action!

The following day, I found out that I really do snore and my girlfriends of the past (and present!) weren’t ‘just making it up, probably dreaming!’ as I wanted to believe. My three bunkroom buddies soon informed me I sounded like one of the farm animals outside and maybe I should join them in the barn the following night. Charming, I thought… nah, I don’t snore that loud surely??

We found a Cafe a few miles down the road for breakfast then headed to the first hill of the day. We met some people already there and the crew began to grow.

This was a dead straight road that looked like it went on forever, but luckily it didn’t as we had to walk back up! No uplifts for us, this is hardcore UKDH Outlaw action! After a couple of hours it was deemed time to move on to the main hill of the day, Bolsterstone.

Now this hill I’d heard tell of many a time and I was a bit apprehensive my skill level wouldn’t be up to it so I started with putting down Coleman Slides, stop-starting all the way down this roller coaster of an incline.

Speaking purely for myself, I found I had to concentrate fully to navigate the sequence of corners and drops and the two chicanes this hill offers. It’s like somebody deliberately put the corners on the steepest parts of the hill! A long run into a tight left then a steep drop to a tight right, a slight rise to a blind crest and immediate left-drop-right being the first chicane, then a short increasingly fast run through to the next chicane which spat you out with a turbo boost of speed and actually turned out to be the fastest part of the hill.

Several times in the first sequence of corners I came close to the outer edge of the road where there was a ten foot drop into a ditch full of bushes and trees and, by the looks of it, pain and possible hospital visit. So after a few runs on my longboard I chose to ride my luge, which turned out to be bloody brilliant on this hill!

Dreek Peters, Andy Speight, Robbie Stevens, Harry Bentley

My now 24 companions were all busy ripping the hill apart, some gripping the corners, others sliding, some heading down with a buddy, others going for the inevitable Pack Run. It’s so good to watch the skills of others and different riding techniques and styles. Some were gripping the corners and making it look easy while others were enjoying sliding and spinning their way down the hill.

One notable moment, a skater took the first left and over cooked it and stopped right on the apex followed quickly by another who managed to slide to a stop without hitting the first, before anyone had time to react Jonny ‘No Brakes’ Braund came around the corner, saw the two guys standing there and quickly threw out a Heel-side Standie slipping straight through the narrow gap and throwing down a little Toe-side as he cleared them just for extra style points! To my friends amazement and comments like ‘He’s so good, I hate him!’ (#SFOL!)

I didn’t actually watch the others too much as I was loving the hill and only really stopped to get hydrated and fuel up with whatever random food stuffs I had brought the day before, but what I did see made me realise what talent we have here in the UK, especially the younger generation. The future looks great indeed.

We sessioned the hill for about five or six hours and, after walking back up it probably around twenty times, it was time to head back to the bunkhouse and do what generally happens at these kind of events, go to the pub, eat and drink beer.

(I refer you to the start of this story for the evenings er.. activitities.. Apologies again! You could have just told us to shut up?)

On awakening early, my now five bunkmates were all telling me I snore really loudly and a couple had had hardly any sleep! Next time we meet I must definitely sleep in the hallway or something! I narrowly missed a pillow to the head, apparently! (Hmm.. maybe I do snore after all? Nah.. They were all dreaming!)

We all got our stuff together, headed back to the cafe down the road and then, after a bit of debate,straight back to Bolsterstone. On arrival, we found the road to be a bit damp so most opted to wait a while before bombing down the entire hill. Instead, people used the opportunity to have a Slidejam on the upper steep section. It wasn’t long, though, before someone headed all the way down and, as the hill dried up, everybody was back on it with the sound of urethane on tarmac and the odd bail and crash filling the air.

As many of us had long journeys home we aimed to just skate a couple of hours but that turned into ‘Just one more hour?’ as this hill is just too much fun!

A bunch of the younger crew turned up conspicuously later as they’d hit the nearby city of Sheffield for a night out, making me feel really old as there’s no way I’d be skating this hill after a night on the town! Ah, what it is to be young! Not sure how long the others stayed but we had to leave as it was around 2pm now, I’m sure some stayed until it got dark.

Well, these are my impressions of this epic weekend with some of the UK Longboarding Family coming together from all points of the compass to forget boundaries and, instead, push some.

I’ll definitely be returning to this beautifully rugged part of the UK and want to explore more of the country of my birth. Sometimes you don’t have to leave home to have an adventure.

Thanks to Harry Bentley and Andy Speight for organising and to all the riders from South Down Shredders, Sheffield Long Sox, London Longboard, Southern Fairies Outlaw League and Leeds Longboarding. Check out our UK Crew listing for links to each group and read Andy’s write up on the Sp8Boards blog post here and more pix n vids on South Down Shredders event page.

Words: Robbie Stevens - Images : Robbie Stevens, Sp8Boards
Featured image: Timmy Peters - Video : LJ Leme

Bleek Race 2018

After a successful Tregaron Freeride race Brianne Collective brought us the fastest event of the BDSL calendar. A fast straight-away with a technical chicane means tight racing is guaranteed.  Continue reading “Bleek Race 2018”

Bo Peep and a bit o’ Beachy – Weekend of Skate in the South Downs

Early August saw this year’s Bo Peep event; a National race on the BDSL calendar. All and sundry turned out for what became an awesome weekend of downhill malarkies, a dip in the sea and more downhil marlarkies. Here it all is in pix n vids. Continue reading “Bo Peep and a bit o’ Beachy – Weekend of Skate in the South Downs”

Event Report : Velefique International Freeride 2018

“Man that hurt! Suppose it’s a good opportunity to sit down and write up about the event whilst I keep my swollen knees elevated.” Well, we appreciate that, Michael, and hope you heal fast. Velefique International Downhill 2018 report by Michael DB Levy.

Crew Review : South Down Shredders

Our new series ‘Crew Review‘ kicks of with the South Down Shredders. Our ‘Crew Directory‘ already lists many of the crews, teams and groups in the UK and we hope to expand this resource with regular updates from each crews. Let us know if you’d like your group featured! Continue reading

Video : ‘Southdown Shredders’ by Tim Woods

South Down Shredders, downhill skatecrew based in the South Downs area of England. Read more in our Crew Review page.

South Down Shredders

As that 6am alarm goes berserk, South Down Shredder riders roll ourselves out of bed and down to our backyard, Beachy Head. Boards and skate gear packed, coffee in hand, we all gather together in the car park before the corner for a morning of hanging out with friends and skating. This is what makes us a team, formed only 3 years ago with a handful of longboarding enthusiasts. We slowly grew to what we are now – a team of 8 skaters doing either luge or stand up.

Beachy Head is the ideal place in the morning to learn to skate or just send it. We often do full long pack/follow runs with up lifts, or just practice sliding just before the corner. Traffic can be spotted from a long distance so for new riders coming to join us they feel at ease on the hill. This is our home and our training ground and many riders from all over come and join us.

The South Downs gives us opportunities for other hills too, like Firle and Bo Peep. We also head out in search of new hills like the recently discovered Pembury Power Bomb! And, with riders heading off to events in the UK and abroad, we are well equipped; not only with knowledge but the urge to go further and faster! We host a whole range of different people with varying ages, we all love just getting together to shred!

 

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BDSL – 2018 Awards Ceremony + AGM

Another year, another amazing show of dedication from racers, skaters and skateboard makers!

BDSL invites you to come join us for our end of year party, awards ceremony and Annual General Meeting (AGM). Please come and enjoy some great local free beer, free food and your friends company.

This year we’ve been amazingly lucky to hook up with one of Bristol’s most iconic hard working brands. Extract Coffee roasters have invited us to celebrate in their roastery, run by a team of absolute grafters, you’ll find more than one skater in their roster and it goes without saying, amazing baristas and coffee on site.

We’re working on a miniramp, but if that fails indoor slalom and other events are possible. Extract is located next to Bristol’s best bouldering wall if you fancy a morning of climbing before an evening of partying, close to the centre and accessible via public cycle ways right from major train stations and bus stations in the city. Also incredibly easy to get to via car. On site free parking is provided.

We hope to see you to celebrate, say thank you to & rabble rouse one last time before the winter hibernation!
See you soon
Dan and the BDSL team

Bela Joyride 2018 by Kev Hurdle

A UK crew ventured out to Bela Joyride this year, set in the Austrian forested foothills of the Alps right on the border with Slovenia. Bela is well known for being a chilled, social, well-attended event in the downhill freeride calendar. Kev Hurdle tells us about his experience there this year.

Continue reading “Bela Joyride 2018 by Kev Hurdle”