With lockdown unwinding, albeit slowly, some of the UKDH skate community got into Wales for a much awaited event. For many, making the journey is as much part of the experience as the ride itself! Thanks to Sam for sharing his experience.Continue reading “Col de la Sheepy : NYSB#2 by Samian Trollope”
Tag: thrill magazine
This excellent music video really caught our imagination. You’ve no doubt all seen and heard it, so we thought we’d gather a bit of background story and see what’s in the pipeline for the future.Continue reading “Video : Downhiller by Dilly-Yo! Ft. Full Cask”
The Drift to the Centre crew met up with the legendary skater and Tech Slide pioneer Mark Short at Castle Hill on Friday the 13th this month in Falmouth. Team rider Richard Travers tells us more.Continue reading “Drift to the Hill”
After four years of slumber, the Dragon was awoken. Will Stephenson’s Ride the Dragon Freeride, Race and Taster Day stirred up a weekend of spills and thrills and a fair amount of gnar. Continue reading “The Return of the Dragon”
Proust number 4 with Katya Krasner.
Bad Eisenkappel in Austria is the setting for a 6km long freeride with more hairpins than you can imagine.
Bela, Bela, Bela
It literally starts on the border of Slovenia which is pretty sweet. The freeride was in one of the most beautiful locations I have ever skated in with amazing scenery to see as you skated down the windy road at near 50mph.A small crew of UKDH including the lush/cult boys made the car journey from blighty to get there shred and drink on .
The weather started off pretty cloudy on the first day but the Bigmountainskate crew still got everyone on the bus on time at 10am ready to head up to the hill. This is a pretty rare site on the first day of any skate event, so first-rate job on that Felix! The road started out patchy but after a few runs it soon dried off and we had some epic runs. I remember stomping hard on my first run which is pretty silly but I was just so excited to skate I had no cares but stoke!
It all started to get pretty crazy as there wasn’t a limit on how many riders could head down the hill at once, this was glorious and it made it interesting having to employ people-slalom most of the way down. Accidents did start to happen including many myself that I may or may not have caused haha (Daniel Shinnie now hates me.)
The helicopter was called in twice however and after a while it was decided to keep the runs to a certain limit so no more injuries could happen, this was a good choice. After every day we had a super cold clean river to dip into and relax our muscles which really played a key part in our ability to skating so much for the 4 days, I felt good everyday!
Peak weather hit us from day two onwards and gave us blue skies, mountain views and plenty of sunshine. Just what us Brits need, shred thane not rain. We kept smashing the runs in till our legs felt like jelly and oh they did…stoke is a powerful drug and kept us pushing for more ,searching for more smiles, even if we couldn’t take anymore. No matter where you travel and who you skate with this is always the same, if your totally trashed and out of energy you know you have had a good time. For me Bela delivered on all levels and Bigmountainskate have set the bar for freeride events.
We did around 27 drops at Bela which is a stupendous amount in 4 days, a run is nearly 10 minutes long and it equals 180km of skating.
I’d like to thank felix and everyone at Bigmountainskate for putting in all the hard work to get this done. It was a truly epic event and I shall be back! Not to mention Alex Frischauf for filming some epic footage of everyone.
Almost a year ago to the date since our first visit to the awesome No.10 and after much speculation about bad weather, we ran it a 2nd time. The second ever BDSL affiliated event, it was a rad day in warm sunny conditions.
Photos by Nigel Scarr and Robbie Stevens
After some practice runs, we went for it. Two man heats on points, but after the first heat Liam Hughes took a pretty hard slam followed by a big roll that injured his shoulder and ended his day, thank skaten for best bail award.
So we changed things slightly and went on to 3 man heats. Some good tight racing and of course some gnarly crashes, all part of the fun.
An outlaw wouldn't be complete without a visit from a nice police officer, who after 5 minutes was more than happy with what we were doing, wished us well and went on her merry way, smile and wave everybody!
We then proceeded with some more tasty racing and after the last run we had 3 riders with same points in joint 2nd place, so in true SFOL style we made them race again! This however took some convincing due to countless slams and exhaustion but relentlessly they raced putting the podium as follows..
1st: Jonny Braund – Vandem Mfg
2nd: Alex Clark – Newton's shred, skoa trucks.
3rd: Aaron Godfrey
4th: Jooz Hughes – VanDem Mfg
We all know that podiums mean prizes, this wouldn't have been possible without the continuous support and generosity from shops out there, so a very big thank you to our good friends at VanDem MFG, Lush Longboards and Surf n Turf Boardshop for the goodies and stickers (EVERYBODY LOVES STICKERS!!) Thank to ThrillMag for the coverage. And to AOB for the surprise visit and water relief. (Some of us only took beer.)
This is what you guys had to say:
As with every outlaw, things wouldn't happen without marshalls and great team work, so to Pete Titt, Judy Clifton and Robbie Roadkill Stevens, thank you for all your help!
Thank to all the riders too for coming along and final thanks to LJ a long time pushing power in SFOL once again resisting the urge to drop all and pulling the organisation together.
Until the next one amigos. Skate hard, stay safe!
The No Longer Elusive 360 Slide Shuv.
The 360 Slide Shuv is one of those “tricks” that people either love or hate. It is known to make the blood of haughty skaters boil when people get over-hyped at landing such a trick. They will be disdainful either because they landed it ages ago (realising the tricks exclusivity is vanishing), or they're aware that they themselves could never land it, even if they wanted to. Yet, some argue the hype is well deserved, the trick being an instant crowd favourite with a reputation for being very difficult to master. Conquering the 360 Slide Shuv takes a while – or, more precisely, an agonisingly lengthy period of time during which the trick seems permanently unattainable- but, in spite of this, when landed once it will instantly click and wont leave you in a hurry.
The 360 Slide Shuv peaked during the golden age of soft wheel tech that proliferated during the awe-inspiring reign of Michael Virgin. It became, what can only be described as, the holy-grail of technical longboard “tricks.” It was the foundation of, and hence the key to, all of the young Virgin's fantastically complicated manoeuvres in his Apex 40 edit. However, Virgin's sudden rise was rivalled by his equally sudden plummet to infamy and, accompanying his fall, so crashed down the reputation of the 360 Slide Shuv. Since then, 360 Slide Shuvs have, indeed, fallen from esteem and are regarded with contempt. The longboarding community now has, at its centre, a need for speed and an admiration for steeze. Yet there are a few, still, who remain bastions of technical and creative longboarding by dabbling in the dark arts of every skating discipline. Besides, who can deny that a technical or creative trick only adds a breath of fresh air to a longboarding edit? Furthermore, when the initiation of this manoeuvre becomes more consistent, the 360 Slide Shuv is always a lovely starter or ender to a line.
The ground in the picture is incredibly sticky, hence why the wheel is lifting off in one of the pictures.
– The scissor kick is the hard part and you simply have to keep practising it. When you do eventually get it right, the board will be spinning right in front of you. Practise kicking both feet together and then regulate both feet so that you're not kicking out too much with one foot and too little with the other.
– Not jumping at the same time as scissor kicking causes many issues. To overcome this common problem you just have to commit. Attempt to get the front foot on the board first; the back foot will follow. If you only look at the front foot, and get it to land on the deck, Steezus will take care of the rest.
One-Up your 360 Slide Shuv to a Backside Slide Bigspin :
- During your front foot push your body follows round and it's all in one motion
- Rather than just kicking back with your back foot, you also have to drag the board round with it as you jump.
- As I've become more consistent with this trick I've ended up jumping a lot less. I tend to focus more on spinning round with the board than jumping and this tends to make the initiation simpler and the landing more consistent.
- Unlike the 360 Slide Shuv, you have to push more with your front foot but much less of a kickback with your back foot. Your back foot should drag the board round to start with but, quite conveniently, your rotating body manages to do half of the work in getting the board to spin.
- I lead entirely with my front foot for this trick. If you think about planting your leading foot on the board the other one will follow.
- The biggest problem with this trick is, by far, committing. It's very hard to get the full 360 rotation because you can't concentrate on the “exploding stage” and the board will often consequently halt at 270 degrees. To overcome this, you simply have to push more forcefully with your front foot, and make sure you drag the board round with your back foot.
- If you find you aren't landing on the deck then you're not pushing forward with your front foot enough. Your body spins but it spins following your front foot, the back foot drags the board round and follows your body.
Youtube “Longboarding: Teck Is Love, Teck Is Life” for these tricks in motion.
Don't forget to hit the 'like' button!
UK Company Trampa sent us over one of their new Street Carver boards for us to test and play skateboards with.
Let’s start with a little information about Trampa, it all started somewhere around 2002 in Nottingham (and it is still there now.) Yes, this is a UK company imagined and built from the ground up. Their primary products are Mountainboards, Kiteboards and all the little bits and bobs in-between. They tailor the flex of their Decks specific to the riders weight, height & riding ability and then custom constructs the components by hand. That means totally bespoke boards, made especially for you! They are one of the biggest names in the sport of Mountainboarding and currently the only board Manufacturer to sponsor the ATBA UK Mountainboard Competition series.
If you think of yourself as an engineering nerd I implore you to check out their website and learn about the construction processes. Their boards come at a considerable cost, however, as you are buying something built in the UK that also comes with a LIFETIME GUARANTEE! I know, right ?!
Their latest creation is the Trampa Street Carver, a Longboard based on their standard Mountainboard design. You can buy all the parts separately (the deck, king pins, springs, baseplates, hangers) if you are a tinkering type and like putting things together yourself!
The deck is the same as their ‘Holy Pro’ Mountainboard deck, a 91cm long, 2.5kg flexible deck with 35 degree angled tips at each end. It comes with a bolt kit and fully gripped.
The trucks are spring channel trucks, they provide a lot of turn as you’d expect from a carver, look uber cool but unfortunately don’t allow you to pump. The initial turn is very easy and a lightweight child would have no problem turning the board. This board isn’t for bombing hills but you could give it a try if you wanted! It is much more of a commuter and play-about board.
The axles fit any standard skateboard wheel you might have laying around, but the 83mm, 76a Trampa Stickies have lots of grip and roll speed, which is what you want for pushing/carving.
When taking the street carver out with some of Cheltenham Longboard Club, the general consensus was that it feels strange under your feet, the feel of one of these decks is unique and very different to anything you can find in the longboard market at the moment. They are a lot of fun to carve hard on without the risk of wheel bite. The board does feel heavy, heavier than most other ‘Carver’ Longboards, but Trampa build their products to be unbreakable and their decks have a lifetime guarantee.
The perfect customer for the Street Carver would be anyone who’s tried Mountainboarding before and wants to get into Longboarding, the boards have a very similar feel. Anyone starting Longboarding for the first time would also enjoy learning on this board and getting a feel for LDP & Carving.
For Social Media click below.
Photos, write up and gif from the first IDF TMI LilyHammer!
The UK crew for TMI Lilyhammer consisted of: Will Stephenson, Kolby Parks, Tom Campbell, Big Ben Stainer, Alex Bailey, Ras, Jenny, Aaron Skippings, Cam Deegan, Duncan Kay and myself (Connor Finch).
For a reason that I now cannot remember, we decided that we wanted to drive to Norway, it meant travelling through a lot of amazing places and in a way it was pretty fun. We arrived at the hill in the dead of night, driving up and down a few times trying to find the campsite gave us the opportunity to get overly excited about the road we were itching to go and skate!
30 minutes later we reached our campsite and home for the next few days, we mingled with skaters from all over the world and were greeted by the loudness that is Ras. Max Whipperman concealed in the forest, laden with axe and pure man strength, chopped down trees for the fire.
Everyone gathered some sleep,in-spite of high stoke levels. The morning began with leathering up and set-up tuning for an amazing few days of downhill fun. Nervously we took our first runs, the customary ‘chill’ run. The more runs we took the more confidence we gained and could start perfecting parts of the track.
The hill was one of the most fun I've ever skated, lots of sweepy grippy corners and some tight grip right handers as well as the three left handers that were defiantly drift corners. The pavement was butter smooth and alarmingly slippery, in fact something that came as a surprise to most of us was that scrubbed wheels gripped more than fresh ones… Strange eh?
We got the bus back to the campsite and sat around the fire with marshmallows! We decided to go and explore around the local area and found some really fun hills in the local forest, no cars and freshly paved black Tarmac with fairly steep corners! Most of our evenings were spent playing Kendama, socialising with other riders from around the world and skating the local forrest hills! In the Kendama battles with Aswag, Dillon Stephens and Adam Persson I didn't land a single trick, Even though I had been training my downhill Kendama skills at HogHill.
The next morning we were all given our transponders for the qualifying runs. The first half of the day was spent testing the timing system and so we squeezed in many warm up runs. Qualifying is a chance to test yourself and see how much you can improve your time throughout the day. The whole UK crew killed it and I had some of the best drops of my life, pack runs with Daniel Luna, Jimmy Riha, Dillon Stephens and Adam Persson.
We headed down to the waterfall at the bottom of the road, we all bravely jumped in, even though it froze our nips off, it was actually quite refreshing thinking about it now.
It doesn't get dark in Norway which results in staying up longer than you expected and being super tired in the morning. The UK crew were treated to free entertainment provided by team Venom, alcohol, cameras and puke and thats all I will say about that!
Racing day came and it’s all about having fun with your friends. Interesting fact: Justin Rolo was racing with a broken kneecap which is why he was going for the sandbagging technique, very impressive to win the whole bracket with such an injury! I only managed to get third in the my final heat however and the top two from each heat go though so I was out.
The UK crew then watched the top dogs in their heats and screamed through the finals. The end result was Thiago Gomes Lessa in first, Dillon Stephens in second, Aleix Gallimo third, and Adam Persson fourth.
Finally we started the longest car journey I have ever been on, around 30 hours driving each way… We drove to Amsterdam where we stayed for the night. Well I was asleep most of the journey but anyway we all got up at stupid o clock in the morning and started searching for a McDonalds to refresh us for the final leg home.
Overall I had an amazing time at the TMI Lilyhammer race, along with Kozakov it was probably one of the best experiences of my life and I can't wait to go back next year. I have progressed and a learned a lot this year.
The best thing about euro tour is making tonnes of new friends, travelling, seeing the world and making memory's that will last a lifetime and that is exactly why I love the Downhill Skateboarding community so much.
For more about Norway and LilyHammer watch this nice little video from Madrid.
Tregaron Freeride in Wales went down a bomb, amazing photos from Will Edgecombe, A dissertation of culinary experience by Phil Wood and an amazing video by Andy Thackery!
T R E G A R O N F R E E R I D E
Video by Andy Thackery
Tregaron Freeride went down last weekend and it will almost certainly be the biggest and best closed road event of UKDH 2015 with over 70 riders attending. Hosted in the deepest darkest Wales, home of downhill in the UK, lack of signal and big supermarkets may come as a shock to some. The hill, like any Welsh hill, contained 2 hairpins and had speeds of up to 40mph on the straights. The fresh surfacing made for a smooth and grippy ride with no bad pavement from push to shutdown. The only real issue encountered throughout the weekend was the rate the bottom dried compared to the rest of the hill after wet weather.
The weekends skating was constantly alternating between wet and dry at several hour intervals, making for a diverse but not too miserable skate. With the two uplift vans working flat out both days riders were able to achieve over 15 runs a day! Uplifts became slightly faster after switching the direction of the uplift route late on day 1, keeping van time low and skate time high.
The end of day one's riding was marked by heading down the the pub – Y Talbot – for food and drink, to really shed light on this establishment we asked the well versed food critic Skateboard Phil for his opinion:
Now, whilst consensus will conclude that Tregaron Freeride was a great event (it was a cool track and the villagers were very welcoming to us) I have been tasked with evaluating the various sources of food available during the weekend. This puts me in an interesting position. My expertise (and the high regard to which I am held within the culinary world) lies in reviewing chip shops. There’s nothing I don’t know about chips and I can certainly tell good fish and chips apart from the average. However, Chinese takeaways food and pub grub are confidently outside of my comfort zone and this review is going to prove my greatest challenge yet.
After arriving at the event on Friday evening, myself and UKSketch’s very own super Grom Johnny PB headed for the ‘Dan I Sang’ Chinese takeaway. A little different from the usual grotty shop front tucked into a row of terrace houses, the Dan I Sang was a stand alone stone building 100 yards from the Skateboarders campsite. Venturing inside, and the waiting/reception area was very spacious and pleasantly (if minimally) decorated. There were two large leather settees for us to sit and relax whilst we waited for our food. I ordered the king prawn curry and chips, Johnny PB ordered the chicken chow mein. I set my watch and expected the traditional long wait, however, we were pleasantly surprised when our food arrived in a little over 5 minutes. I have to say portion sizes were very large and made up for the seemingly expensive price we paid for our meals. The king prawns in the curry were comfortably the largest prawns I have ever seen, I’ve had smaller Langoustines. I don’t know where they are getting their prawns from but these m’thafkas were huge. Now, sometimes prawns lose the intensity of their flavour the bigger they get. Not these beauties. The flavour was a taste sensation, perfectly complimented by the delicious (if a little generic) curry sauce and the addition of a plentiful addition of mushrooms, peas and onions. The generic curry sauce was very good, not too salty or swimming in oil. It made a delicious “dip” for my chips. The chips were also lovely. Again, a little generic in flavour for a Chinese takeaway, but good quality. I enjoyed the meal very much and couldn’t finish all of it as my portion as it was a little too large. (ooh err ladies).
Johnny enjoyed his chicken chow mien, stating that the quality was above average and he couldn’t finish his either due to portion size. We were joined by fellow UK Sketch team rider Dan Gibbs who had bought a special meal deal, including rice, sweet and sour sauce, prawn balls and stuff. This was a good start to the weekend.
On Saturday we skated all day in rain and sunshine. We were taken directly from the hill straight to the function room of the Y Talbot hotel for our evening meal. All sweaty and damp from our exertions, we left our soggy pads and skateboards in the corner and made our way to the table. There was with a hot buffet of pasta with a tomato and basil sauce. Only the only choice on offer which was a little disappointing, but completely reasonable considering the whole thing was done on a budget. My chums at the table (amongst others who have asked not to be named for confidentiality reasons) were Speed Ace Tiago Fanha (one of the hot favourites to win the event), Cameraman and freeride wizard Will Edgecombe and Slalom legend Mike Stride. Although the pasta dish was a relatively simple meal, it certainly hit the spot. The tomato and basil sauce was nice. The basil was fresh and the tomato sauce was rich, tangy and had an air of sophistication. At least 3 of us at the table went up for second helpings. The pasta had a reasonable texture, it’s very easy to get pasta wrong when it’s served in this way. It often ends up gloopy and stodgy. This dish wasn’t stodgy at all. It tasted pretty “fresh out of the kitchen” and although rich, the sauce was fresh tasting with a “delicateness” which is sometimes difficult to achieve. The fresh basil was a nice touch, and illustrated the attention to detail. We were then offered chocolate brownies for dessert which again, were very nice. They too had an air of “richness” and quality about them. I was looking forward to my breakfast on Sunday morning.
Breakfast was served again in the function room of the Y Talbot hotel (which was very posh incidentally) and consisted of Bacon cobs and cereal. Now I don’t eat bacon so couldn’t personally comment on it but reports suggest it was nice. I opted for cereal and was staggered by the choice on offer, Coco pops or Frosties!!! I guess maybe the hotel thought we were all aged between 7 and 15, being skateboarders. I chose the slightly more “adult” choice of Frosties and accompanied it with fruit juice and cafetiere coffee. Now, coffee is another of my special interests. I love a nice cup of coffee. Unfortunately this coffee tasted like someone had wrung out Andy Thackray’s vest. It was as bitter as a cyclist. So overall, breakfast for me was disappointing, however if I was an 11 year old carnivore who didn’t drink coffee maybe it would have been great.
The hospitality from the hotel and pub was great though, the staff were very friendly and welcoming, and the venue was lovely.
Now, on our way home, following a further day spent skateboard frolicking, we decided to look for a chippy. Dan did some googling in the back of the car (I had to give him a stern warning as I was sure that this was still illegal in Wales) and he found a likely chippy in Newtown called Genies. They had a customer car park (I love a chippy with a customer car park) and they had a “restaurant” attached for us to sit down and enjoy our meal. I had mini cod, chips and mushy peas, which tends to be my standard choice for review comparison purposes. Dan had a battered sausage (the Saturday night party was hectic), curry sauce and chips. Cuthbert (name changed by request) had a battered sausage (too much googling) mini fish and chips. I also had a Latte whilst the boys had fizzy drinks. Now this was much more like it. The food was very reasonably priced, mine with the coffee was £5.50, the portions weren’t the biggest there has ever been, but the food was lovely. Not up to “Riverside” standards, but certainly very good. Nice bit of fish and great chips. Nice to have a proper coffee in a chippy as well. The staff were very friendly and the restaurant was spacious and clean with nice tables. This was a lovely way to round off the weekend. I would give Genies chippy a green rating. Next time I’m in Wales I’m gonna aim for it on the way home.
BACK TO THE EVENT
Timmy Peters then put on a late night impromptu dance/flatland jam in the car park, with the Greenwich Groms skating hard and claiming the top prizes of Sugar and Pocket Money. Everyone hung around, skating the public toilet in a loop in packs (which got awfully fast and competitive towards the end). Beer, fireworks and balance boards kept everyone entertained until bed sounded better than a dark and cold mid Wales car park.
Day two's riding was much much faster, with mostly dry weather and everyone looking far more comfortable on the hill. This meant better lines and bigger crashes, the medic left his post three times that day; once for Dale Goodwin, once for Alan Bajalan and most importantly for Mo Mohamed. Mo took a simple but painful crash on the luge and bust his leg. Heal fast buddy !!
Racing was fierce, with lots of keen racers on the hill it led to some great heats and ambitious skating. Racing was of a seeded format, with three heats generating a 64 man knockout competition. A few unexpected results saw some great racers knocked out early on and a few fairly new faces getting 1st/2nd throughout. Being the first race of the BDSL league people were keen to rack up some points.
S t a n d u p
1st Cam Deegan
2nd Ras Sarunas
3rd Alex Clark
4th Ruben Loosmore
L u g e
1st Ben Bewley
2nd Jamie "Winnie" Winn
3rd Ian Martland
4th Martin hull
One of the people most stoked to get into the final was Ruben Loosmore so we had a little chat to him;
4th Place ? Happy or horrified ?
Happy as hell to be honest! It was so tight and I ended up crashing out from second to last but I am still happy to have made it so far and race with the top UK guys!
What previous racing had you done ?
Just hog and return of fumble
What's next ? A podium at Kozakov 2016 ?
I wish! But yeah I might be hitting up Euro tour next year and try and do as well as I can, but I doubt I'll get that far, it is a whole different level of riding!
Overall, everyone seemed to have a rad time. Lots of runs, a smooth operation and happy faces all round. With happy locals too, I'm very keen to see this event happen again. Good work Brianne Collective for all the hard work and organising that goes into running an event of this scale.
Special thank you to the marshals, Especially thoses who couldn't skate!
Special thank you to the medic, for standing about and helping on his weekend!
Remember when driving in Wales to keep your car on the road, otherwise you mind find yourself in a ditch, on a 2 mile skate and hitchhike to the nearest town!
Thank you Ryan, Phil, Will and Ruben for contributing to this article.
Congratulation to Cam Deegan taking 1st place!
And thank you to all you skate legends who travelled great distances to be with your community!
These photo will be on our facebook soon for tagging!
We spoke to Cam & Henry to find out more about their drone/skate adventure across Europe. Five weeks, eight countries, three skate events and twenty hours of footage crammed into under ten minutes.
– Cam Deegan –
This was my third ‘Eurotour’. Good friend and Videographer Henry Hayhurst joined me for the whole trip. We began the month-long skate pilgrimage in the UK. Then made our way into Germany to pick up Deen Mondt. Our car crew complete for the entirety of the trip.
Our first real stop was in the Czech Republic, at the infamous Kozakov Challenge, then we travelled deeper south to Slovenia for the week long KNK freeride. The last scheduled stop on the list was the Italian race Verdicchio. Apart from these three events we had no plans, only to go with the flow and see what happened. This was the best decision we made. In past years I’ve found that over-planning makes a structured and difficult trip. The best things to happen on the road are often the unexpected.
Once we stepped foot back in the motherland we had 20 hours of footage to trawl through and edit. Two solids day and shabam, here she is: Europa. Watch in 1080p for maximum enjoyment levels.
– Henry Hayhurst –
I got a message from Cam Deegan asking if I wanted to film him in Europe . With no hesitation I bought a drone and booked a month of work. A week later I found my self driving to Frankfurt. It was a real eye opener, it was my first time in Europe and seeing downhill long-boarding racing.
It was the first time for many things and flying the drone was one, making my 15 second edits (which you can find on my Instagram) to the eight minute feature below. I could see my progression in the editing and the smoothness of the drone operation. It was also my first time making a skate edit. For me “Europa" is the beginning of my film career.
Kozakov Challenge IDF World Cup July 2015 – The UKDH Takeover in the Czech Republic
This year saw the highest number of UK riders and media crew ever to attend the Kozakov Challenge. 13 riders and a couple of media guys arrived by plane, car, hitchhike and any other means necessary to hit the gnarliest race and wildest party in Europe. This year there was an extra day of freeride at the start of the event which was an optional paid extra for a limited number of riders. Some cheeky banditos who arrived early and took a couple of stealth runs on this freeride day despite their lack of bonus freeride wristbands.
Practice day 2 commenced for the rest of the UK crew after only a couple of hours sleep from travelling or partying the day before. Gnar was served for breakfast as the 13 stoke tourists stared down the track which has a reputation for being super fast, super technical and outright intimidating. When you kick off, you hit 50mph pretty quickly and have to choose a method of slowing down for the deceptive first right hander that spits you into a sharp, banked lefty. If you survive the first test you get to tuck into the forest and tackle a left kink into a tricky right hairpin. The track slows down a lot at this point and you get to enjoy the woodland spookiness before you accelerate into a corner sequence that pretty much mirrors the previous bends. You really need your pre-drifts dialled for this part. Once you survive the forest you pray for good exit speed and seem to accelerate forever down the straightaway to the finish line, before you get there though, you have to tackle a rapid right hand sweeper half way down. Pack runs dominated the practice day and the non-stop skating and frequent uplift busses meant that you could skate until your legs ceased up.
(UKDH slumber party tent)
Qualifications were timed using the IDF transponder system, recording riders’ times accurate to one-thousandth of a second, it sounds excessive but it really isn’t, even when you are sending over 200 riders from all over the world down the most difficult tracks on the IDF circuit. The UK crew had qualified representatives in the luge category, juniors, womens and A, B and C bracket for the open class, which makes at least one UK rider in every single category! We had a hell of a turn out for our relatively small downhill skateboarding and luge community here in the UK.
B and C bracket raced on the Friday, there were lots of UK riders battling it out, some got lucky and others crashed out, James Woodford was the only person to sustain an injury as his skateboard turned evil and smashed nose-first into his groin. An injury so nasty I won’t expand on… At least he didn’t need stitches like a guy from Sweden who had a fight with his trouser zipper at the party that night!
Saturday was the Luge, Juniors, Womens and Open heats, sadly we had no UK riders on the podiums but everybody learned a lot about racing and everyone was desperate to come back for another year of partying and downhill action at Kozakov 2016!
(Joe Baldwin, Connor Finch and Rachel Bagels working it pre-party)
Riding Kozakov is one thing, but hitting fast qualification times and racing it is a whole different ballgame. The track has so much reputation that it is a mental battle just to convince yourself that you can do it. Here are a few quotes from some of the UK riders at this year’s Kozakov Challenge to give you an insight in what it is actually like to ride this famous race track.
”Kozakov gets bigger and better every year. Crazy parties and crazy riders. The skill level for me was one of the toughest I have seen. Just shows how well others are progressing and how it’s never going to be an easy fight if you want to do well and win. It’s a proper gnarly road which really pushes you as a rider. It certainly earns its right to be called Kozakov ‘challenge”’
”Kozakov challenge was a total dream! it is one of those tracks you see when you first start out in the downhill world. This is what made it so amazing to actually be flying down the track! For me it was easily the best event I have ever been to in terms of the track and the organisation, The track was super technical which is definitely my kind of style with lots of fast drifts. The organisation was amazing, especially with around 15 runs on the first day! oh and you cant forget the party every night!”
“Kozakov Challenge for me was an absolute life changer. Since I started skating I have always watched videos of Kozakov and been given goosebumps by them. So this year when I got the opportunity to go, you can imagine I was ecstatic. Having skated there I honestly cannot fault anything about the event in any way. The best track I have ever skated, good weather, cheap beer, delicious food. Now I am back at home I can think of nothing but either skating there again or moving abroad to somewhere with hills of similar magnitude.”
‘’After joining downhill skateboarding army couple years obviously I came across videos from Kozakov. In those videos all top dogs were talking how difficult, challenging, technical the track is and that to ride it you have to have balls, skills and much more since then it was my aim to attend Kozakov race, at that time I couldn’t even imagine doing the track but you have to have a dream to be able to grow as a rider. Recent couple of years I thought I am not ready for it that’s why I never been there before, I thought I will train more, so I did. I stood on my board a lot, been to quite a few events recent 2 years and thought now I can ride Kozakov! Hooooow wrong I was haha! Now I know that I need to learn how to ride again Most amazing thing about Kozakov is that it exposes every weak spot of yours and I loved it !!! It a real challenge and I like to be challenged that’s how you grow! Looking forward to my come back, stronger, better, faster! See you next year!”
“Little over a year ago I had just learnt how to heelside pendy. I went to a couple of European freerides summer of 2014 and, damn – those girls were rippin! And I wanted to rip with them! So September last year I set myself a very simple goal: be able to shred some sick hills with some of these amazing shredders. Ras took me under his wings and showed me what was possible. The BTR crew and extended shred family went on many a skate trips. We skated a lot, practised a lot, crashed a lot, laughed, cried and ate a lot – and by the end of it, we became like a little skate family. And the standard across the team upped! with improvements in mind, by late spring I still wasn’t sure my level would be good enough for Kozakov, but I decided I would give it a go anyway and Lillehammer proved to be a really good warm-up! When we got to Kozakov and I walked down to the first and second corner – I genuinely thought I was going to be sick. It looked so fast and incredibly technical. And indeed it was. I crashed a lot..pretty much every run. This track exposes all your weaknesses and insecurities, there is nowhere to hide! But you know what – I got to skate with amazing people and some of the top female shredders in the world. The experience was invaluable. I couldn’t ask for more. I can’t wait to race Kozakov next year!”
(Tough time walking up and down the track with strict spectator rules and even stricter marshals!)
(Cam Deegan after he slammed his ankle on forest right )
(Evening slide jam session with Bodhi, James, Oscar, Eddie and Joe’s nipples)
Team rider Lyndsay McLaren got together with Ben Holmes to create this beautiful edit, the video really shows off Lyndsay's character and the variety of skating available in Nottingham.
The Swanage crew round up their summer of skating with a really smooth and chilled edit. We really enjoyed watching this one!