Hey man, how’s it going?
Where are you from ?
I’m originally from Kent, but I’ve been in Southampton for 5 years now (I think!).
Is that where you skate ?
Mostly yeah. Southampton is a pretty flat place, but we do have some hills around and about, especially out in the sticks [surrounding countryside]. I do try to attend as many UK events as possible though, money/distance/time permitting.
What’s your crew called ?
The crew is called XSS Southampton (xss = extreme street sports, but the university know us as “street sports” for insurance reasons!) and it’s one of a few University approved clubs in the UK. We started off with three of us in 2006 and now every year we teach more people to ride than we have boards to lend to people! The sport has grown so much in the last couple of years.
What’s the last event you went to ?
Ha! That was probably Hogtoberfest. Does that count? The DH event before that was Ride the dragon, but we did the ‘’Isle of Wight Charity Skate’’ a couple of weeks after Dragon. The trip was 60+ miles across 2 days – we skated the circumference of the island as best we could and we had fantastic sunshine for all of it. We raised about £1500 in total for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance as well as having an awesome adventure. Not enough people do distance stuff, it’s such good fun. We also found some really really rad hills – one of the best being a descent from a headland which included a tight right round a roundabout and a total run of 2 miles without stopping. It was such a reward for the previous 2 mile walk uphill.
But many people don’t like pushing ! What’s the furthest you’ve skated ?
People should! It’s at the core of all skating, why not embrace it? And the furthest I’ve skated? Erm, in a day? Probably the first full day of this year’s Isle of Wight. It totalled 40 miles, but that includes downhills. Along mostly flat, probably Bath to Bristol to Bath, approx. 30 miles total.
How was ride the dragon?,
Ride the Dragon was mad – such a steep hill, and near impossible to race in the wet. We tried anyway, and it was all a bit of a laugh. Kudos to the guys (Jason at turn360 and Joe Baldwin) for discovering and getting another hill into the UK scene, even if it was a bit of a washout with the weather.
Hogtoberfest, how was that ? you guys have the best event names!
It’s all about the puns! Rule one of running events is don’t participate if you’re organising – I concussed myself on the Sunday afternoon. Apart from it earning the nickname “crashfest”, I think it went very well all in – the response and turnout were awesome. I know the racing part isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s a good measure of attendance and keen-ness: we had 17 heats of five-man races for 3 rounds. That’s a LOT of people doing a lot of racing. We had over 20 under 16 riders, and we ran out of waivers, meaning we had over 150 people attend. It was fantastic (if a bit blurry from the concussion) to see that many people having that much fun.
Where was it held ?
It was held at Redbridge cycle centre on the North East outskirts of London. The Slalom guys (UK Slalom Skateboarding Association) discovered it a few years back, but this was the first downhill-centric event where the DH crew called the shots. It’s a great venue, not big hills, but it’s wide, smooth, there are a number of isolated hills so lots of people can skate how they want. The main race hill is around 35mph going into the chicane, but it feels slower because it’s about 10m wide the whole way down. The groms especially love it – I saw a lot of progress from the younger riders as It’s one of the few closed road events we have in the UK. More experienced riders don’t get as much out of it though. Also, the centre staff are awesome as well – really cool about patching us up when we bleed everywhere, and they make great sandwiches :)
Any young riders in particular we should keep an eye out for on the DH circuit ?
Well, all of them! They all chucked themselves at the big hill with no fear, and rode it out fine. I’m a bit annoyed there’s not five of me to hang out with all the young riders to get to know the upcoming skaters, but I got to spend some time with the “Beats Working” crew, doing some practice at jostling and racing lines. I’m hoping to see them at next year’s events, they had a great attitude towards it all, super stoked.
Hopefully yeah. there’s been plenty of chatter on Facebook about next year and getting some freerides on the map, but it’s not trivial to run closed-road events. Hog Hill is easy because you simply hire it out. The biggest challenge is finding hills, but I’ll be writing an article on that soon, then I’m looking at getting involved in making sure they happen.On a smaller scale I’m looking to run some more local stuff: an official closed-hill slide and dancing/flatland jam in Southampton in March, and maybe some push races and other smaller outlaw-esque stuff if I find time. It’s all about stoking the UK scene right now.
Drinking! YEAH! I mean… um.. but seriously, I’m working as a hydropower research technician at the University of Southampton. That’s my standard 9 to 5, and that’s where I currently get my money to subsidise the initial stages of events, but my contract ends in March. I don’t know where I’ll go or what I’ll do after then.
Any advice for people planning their own events
Yeah. Attend organised events, take notes, volunteer and get involved. When you feel you’re ready to run your own you’ve got to find your venue, and choose it wisely. Build a small team, start early, plan ahead and try to consider every aspect of the event. I could write essays on this, but that’s the basic basics. Good luck to anyone who tries!
Difficult! Erm I guess healing factors (like wolverine), or the ability to afford not working so I could skate more. Uninventive, but yeah!
Favourite place to skate ?
In the dry! I haven’t got one favourite, but I do have a soft spot for Greenwich park (hardwheel sliding). It was always good fun, but it’s out of bounds until after the olympics. Sadface.
It’s been a pleasure talking to you bro,
Cheers man, it’s been good! Hopefully we’ll get to skate again soon, and good luck with everything I know you’re working on at the moment ;)