Recent laptop death has delayed this streetboard report, but I'm glad to say that the summer has been a productive one :)
One of the best summers in recent memory meant that we have been able to get get out regularly in the evenings and streetboard - we have taken advantage of the opportunities to get the hours in..!
The skating has mainly focussed on minipipe and manual blocks - although we did visit Bransgore early summer for some light launch box relief...
Prevail Skatehouse, West Moors skatepark and Upton all have relatively low mini's, great for learning smaller, tech tricks - so we've spent all summer building our repetoir with tricks from simple nosestalls to 180-noseblunts, to switch-270 backside nosegrinds!
Earlier in the summer, CJ and I took a long weekend break in Bude, just to get away from Bournemouth for a weekend.
Bude was a victorian holiday resort, and they built a seawater pool that refils every high tide, releasing the water over the next few hours.
A shchool of jellyfish had been blown in from sea by a storm, and they were washed up in the pool - plate-sized rubbery things, very bizarre.
Bude is a lovely place to visit and relax, with loads to see including the castle (with folly), the "Bude light" column, canal, beach, surfing, and lots more.
The early summer provided some great riding opportunities with Jon and Duncan, including one memorable ride with Paul.
It was a late night ride at Canford Heath, with the boys hitting some jumps before night fell and we resorted to another 2 hours navigating by headlamp.
During our skate expeditions, we revisited local West Moors skatepark - a second-generation tarmac skatepark with metal ramps. The tarmac has remained usable, and it's not a bad design, with a street section comprising of a driveway with shotgun rail, spine, and launch between two quarters - one with integral flatbank-to-step.
And a mini. And what a lovely little mini it is too - metal with an extension on one third of one side. It's a touch higher than Prevail's, but its a sweeet little halfpipe - we spent a good few sessions riding there - and theres the bonus of very few people using it :)
I heard from my friend Damian Tweddle (from Wanaka 2005 & 2006 seasons) over the summer - Damo has a girlfriend who lives in Oxford, so spends his time between the UK and Australia...
Damo had been doing some festivals, so I arranged to hook up with him after festival season had finished - we met up in Oxford and spent a few hours skating the Oxford Wheels Project skatepark...
I spent a awesome day with Damo, riding the park for about 3 hours, followed by an expedition into Oxford itself for a pint and a bite to eat - with 7 years-worth of living to catch up on..!
It was brilliant to see Damo, his infectious enthusiasm perking up what had started as a relatively slow weekend :)
So the weather has now taken a big change for the worse - the rain pelting down as I sit here writing this!
Tim and I are looking to start filming shortly, and get some lines down on film for an edit - just waiting on Jay Nowman to send the camera now...
tuesday 30th july
Computer issues have delayed the release of this article - but it's finally here.
Fellow UK streetboarder Alex Wheeler sadly passed away last week, after battling cancer for two years - extremely sad for a young man in his early 20's. Alex was an awesome streetboarder, a core part of the UK scene - he will be missed by everyone who met him...
Since early June, skater/photographer James Kelly & I have been trying out different camera set-ups to produce different compositions, long distance, reduced depth of field, etc.
I wanted to get some photoshoots done in specific locations - the rail at Hengistbury Head isn't big (find me another ;), but the backdrop of the Needles makes it a great photo opportunity. After waiting for the right conditions we managed to get some shots down early on a Sunday morning in June...
Ironically, the weather has been so awesome it's actually been too hot to skate much of the time - so the beach has been the order of the day, with lots of weekend sunbathing, frisbee, picnics and beach BBQs :)
Bournemouth skater Tim James & I spent a day out and about locally, scouting for new skate locations - and managed to come up with 3 new ones, which isn't bad for a days work..!
Verwood skatepark extension, Crossways near Dorchester and the local Upton mini - while none of them are massive, each has something interesting which we can hit up...
My brother Jules celebrated his birthday with a big BBQ at his house, so Gorgeous George Moy & I drove up to represent the Bournemouth contingent.
We spent the day relaxing in the sun, eating a huge amount of meat that Jules had smoked to perfection on his bbq...
On the way up I saw the most unusual sight - a life-size silver elephant strapped to the back of a lorry motoring up the A3...
Not something you see every day..!
CJ & I have been making the most of this fabulous weather, exploring the locale.
To my surprise, we came across a wonderful lake just over the road from us in the Bourne Valley Nature Reserve - how I have never noticed it before is beyond me..!
It was abundant with wildlife, and a huge dragonfly landed right by us to bask in the sun - allowing a few moments of inspection before it flew off.
The weather now seems to have broken for the time being - it's a little cooler, and loads better for skating, ie. you don't have a migraine within 10 minutes.
James Kelly has his new board - so we should be getting more photos and footage down shortly, visiting the new parks we have found plus a couple of handrails I have been looking at...
So enjoy the weather, kick back, relax and we'll be back with more skate news soon...
tuesday 28th may - the 100th article!
It's been a while since the last article, and a lot has happened!
We are now easing into familiarity with Prevail - figuring out the best lines and spots we like to spend our time at.
The wave lip in the street section pops you into the air, good for lofty airs and spins - Max Anderson has even backflipped it..!
I have excitedly bought myself a new set of bindings, my first since 2008..! The 2013 Union "Contact" in bright green/rasberry, clashes perfectly with my board ;)
CJ and I set off to Chamonix for another couple of weeks at the end of the season...
Our friend Cecile Ingenbrand drove over from Chatel near Morzine to spend the day at Grandes Montets - unfortunately it was a whiteout day, but we still enjoyed blasting down the pistes at breakneck speed - brilliant :)
Back in the UK I have been eyeing up the Pavilion stairs for a wallride.
The run-in proved lethal, and about 4 or 5 times I wound up taking a huge spill just before the ramp, but got some shots down as the light faded.
With improvements to the run-in, I will be looking to get higher later this summer ;)
I took CJ just down the coast to Hurst Castle, and we spent a lovely afternoon walking along the spit and exploring the castle...
Henry VIII built it in 1541 as part of a chain of defences against the French on the South Coast, and it has been built upon over the years until the it was decommissioned after WW2 - and now remains open to the public.
A great day out, exploring the original castle with keep, and the later modifications including the 38-tonne guns in their concrete casemates.
I have updated the wheels on the TVR, now it runs 17's on the front and 18's on the rears.
I have taken the opportunity to put wider rubber on tthan previously, it's now shod with 235's on the rear for extra traction :)
So thats about it for now - James wants to get into taking photos, so hopefully we'll get some decent weather to take some good shots.
28th february 2013
Just returned from an awesome skiing trip - massive powder riding in France and Switzerland in two totally different flavours...
I journeyed out to Chamonix and hooked up with my dad Tony, acclimatising for a couple of day in Chamonix before we started an epic powder tour in a big loop across Switzerland from Leysin...
It was an unbelieveable experience riding unknown terrain with Tony & the guys, and we were so lucky with the weather - but all things come to an end, and I was soon heading back to Geneva Airport to meet up with CJ, to return to Chamonix.
CJ & I had a great few days in Chamonix - although the weather was a mixed bag, it brought deep powder that gave us 2 awesome days riding at the nearby mountains.
We met Andrew Szabo on the bus - an aussie in town for a few days, he joined us next day at Brevent.
Restricted runs meant we had to explore - we found powder stashes leading to a bowl with boulders strewn around, providing the scope to carve, drop and jump until we could barely move. Time to go back for a Baileys coffee..!
On our third and final day, the sun came out to reveal a blanket of thick snow, and we raced out to get first lines - straight into our first big lift queue of the holiday! :(
We got out the Flegere cable car into bright sunshine, met up with Andrew and got on with the business of riding big powder faces ;)
As the day wore I I started pulling out all the stops, going into the gulleys to find big drops. Found a couple of 25ft drops including a cornice and a huge boulder, so spent the day bombing powder runs with the wild abandon that only deep powder brings..!
CJ & I had another fabulous meal in La Nationale - our favourite restaraunt in Chamonix, on the main street through town. Tony had told me that when we first started coming to Chamonix in the late 70's, La Nationale was the best restaurant in all of Chamonix - I can quite believe it...
We had a final drink in Terrace, the wonderful wrought-iron building that overhangs the river just up from the apartment, we bid farewell to Andrew then went back to pack and go home.
Another awesome holiday out in Chamonix ;)
20th january 2013
Happy New Year to you all! Hope you are enjoying this rare but seasonal snowfall..!
So the big news this year is that Prevail skatepark in Poole has opened, just out the back of my house... Awesome ;)
They couldn't have done a better job to be honest - every transition is perfect, every line gives the maximum opportunity for variation, and there are none of the "dead sports" so often present in skateparks where the last little bits didn't match up...
It even has a foam pit and a rainbow rail - what could the practising snowboarder ask for..?! So I have spent a load of time in the foam pit (visible in the panorama below, far left), the perfect practise for the upcoming snowboarding holiday in Chamonix...
In the panorama above, you can see the foam pit far left, the street section mid-left, the blocks and rail mid-right, and the launch boxes far right...
Prevail is already proving very popular with the Day One streetboarding crew, who have already been down more than I have - so watch this space for lots of indoor skate action throughout this year!
On a slightly lighter note, I saw this guy busking in Bournemouth just prior to Christmas - and had to share it with you...
His technique mixes hammer-on, pull-off guitar fretwork, with striking the strings and the soundbox - to create tunes with a hybrid sound unlike anything I hvae heard before... Enjoy!
So I'm off to Chamonix soon to join my dad and his friends for a 7-day tour of the mountains around Leysin, spending a day in each resort before ski-touring to the next - before returning to Chamonix to meet up with CJ for a few days... The weather should be epic, and it's a once-in-a-lifetime trip, not to be missed!
Enjoy the snow, and I'll be back shortly with a holiday report from Chamonix :)