saturday 30th april
In a departure from the norm, we have big news in this article - CJ & I have sold our beloved bungalow in Bournemouth to move onto pastures new!
11 Monkton Crescent will be as indelible a piece of history in our lives as Wanaka, being the first house we ever owned, and of course where our gorgeous munchkin Violet was born!
It was not a decision we took lightly, as we have loved this place and our enightbours are fabulous - but the house was not child-friendly, and we needed more space to enable Violet to grow and flourish and enjoy other opportunities not available here...
The sale has been an ongoing nightmare for the last 9 months (which I have spared you readers the tedious horror of!), but we finally went to exchange mid-March and moved out on 31st March...
Our last day was a very sad affair, closing the book on a chapter which has provided us with much happiness over the last 6 years. The house looked so bare with all our possessions packed away, much like the day we moved in, but with our stamp still visible in the form of the updated layout and lounge floor and uplighters.
We will miss this place, and the companions that made it what it was - our neighbours, the cats and wildlife in the garden... But onwards and upwards, it's time for another family to move in and make it their own - good luck to them I say, we'll remember it with love and laughter..!
So where are we now..?!
A place that I have always wanted to live - it's rural location and views, combined with brilliant access to Bournemouth and Christchurch make it the perfect location in my opinion...
...Welcome to Sopley!
Sopley is a great place to live and grow up in; on the very edge of the New Forest with one of the most recognisable pubs in the area, it's an area of walks, bike rides, playing in streams and exploring - the kind of thing a childhood should be made of...
By the cemetery overlooking the river Avon, this bungalow is in a beautiful location on the edge of the forest, with a gravel front drive big enough for parking and a long garden at the back. Complete with large patio and eucalyptus tree, it's perfect for long summer evenings and BBQs! It's even got donkeys at the end of the garden!:D
The garden is great for Violet - a paradise for exploring and playing, and will provide loads of space for different activities as she grows...
The house will be a fantastic base for the whole family going forward, a keeper that we can develop into the perfect family pad, with space to develop as we need and slowly mould the lifestyle we want from.
And lastly for me, a proper HQ; to use as the perfect skate hut to lodge buddies in and launch more roadtrips from - and also space to keep and maintain the cars... Every need fulfilled!
And so the story begins afresh from our new crib...
saturday 26 march
Happy New Year to you, people!
Straight into the year skating, meeting up at Prevail with the newly-returned Josh Newman and Lewis Langford on the 2nd Jan - start as you mean to go on and all that :D
It wasn't a particularly memorable skate, but great to see so much enthusiasm so early in the year!
Instead of our usual January snowboarding trip, the WHOLE extended family went out to Obergurgl in switzerland - an idea my father Tony had been planning for a while.
CJ, Violet and I were in an apartment that backed onto the learners slopes, sharing with my brother Jules, his wife Jo and little Camille; Tony, Jane and my sister Pip & friend Cam were in another, and mum was in a hotel room. Large, luxurious apartments right in the centre of town; our apartment even had a sauna in!
The apartment backed onto the learner slopes; CJ and I took turns looking after little Violet, so the other could ride. Although this meant that CJ and I couldn't ride together, it was great riding with Jules again - it's been too long...
Obergurgl is a very picturesque typical switzerland mountain village about an hour from Innsbruck, the next village up the valley from Solden.
The slopes are divided into 2 different areas, Obergurgl and Hochgurgl, both easy terrain more suited to beginners than us. There hadn't been much recent snow, but we managed to find a few hits, including a sweet little mountain hut at the side of the piste near the bottom of the run down to the town.
We hit it quite a lot, but the landing was too icy to get creative, in case a misjudged take-off sent you tumbing onto the ice sheet beyond...
In Hockgurgl there was a great cat track dropping criss-crossing down across the powder fields below. We hit this over a few days until the powder was all tracked out - I got some great 360's off the side over those few days until it ended in a spectacular faceplant, and Jules was practising his on another hit further down. Happy days ;)
We bought Violet a set of white plastic infant's skis, and took her to the nursery slope. It was hard work running down the slope with her, trying to hold her up while ensuring her skis didn"t cross, but it was so good for her to be on the snow - even though shes a bit too small to understand what it's all about!
We all took her and Camille out on sledges one afternoon, rickety wooden things with health and safety nightmare written all over them, and sent them sliding down the slopes for an hour, which they loved! Me and Jules less so, being the lift service back up :D
Violet was starting to do the right thing by the end of the week - I think next year we will be able to understand more about what she is trying to do, and will have a more interactive experience.
We finished the holiday with a fabulous meal out in the top hotel in Obergurgl; a lavish, sumptuous affair with waiters serving courses in silver dishes with remvable lids, true butler style... A once-in-a-lifetime experience seeing how the other half live! Fantastic!
Unfortunately all good things come to an end, and it was time to head back to the UK. It's never great to finish a holiday, but swapping snowboarding for streetboarding softens the blow somewhat...
I had a heartbreaking, but not entirely unexpected, experience when I broke my Disaster streetboard bar...
To put this in context - I bought this bar at the 2005 World Championships in Lyon, just before CJ and I moved to Morzin for the season. Constructed using snowboard technology, using entirely different method to the usual plywood bars, this bar had become my trusty backup when all others failed me.
Unfortunately, a loud crack in Prevail signalled that the end had come for this bar, and it"s time was up; the final wood stringer had cracked and it's integrity was finally, truely compromised... Gutted.
But on the upside, with Joshy back we have had a big group of riders regularly congregating at Prevail - it has been suggested (by others) that we have the largest streetboarding group now in the UK.
With up to 7 riders available at any one time, things bode well for the summer..!
We usually get 3 or 4 people able to skate at any one time, and this raises the curiousity of many of the local youngsters - who always ask to have a go.
David at new startup Ascent Boards was kind enough to supply a demo "Ice Cream" model board for learners, so we put it to good use teaching interested youngsters how to ride!
Big thanks to David - thats exactly the kind of support we need to help this sport grow!
sunday 27 december
This month's article is less about skating - more about developments concerning a certain longtime skater friend... ;)
Ex-Flipside owner Adam Walder is getting married to his longtime girlfriend Sophie - and Flipside riders Josh Newman, Paul Nash and I were invited to his surprise stag do down in The Old Mill near Fowey, Cornwall.
Adam's best man Krys Bascombe (owner of the Good Old Boys brand) organised a top-secret stag party in this fantastic location, selecting friends from Adams past, including friends we had previously met like Char Holmes, and many we hadn't - such as Adam's dad Adrian.
We spent 3 days in this fabulous location - a famous retreat with integrated music studio, having been used by all manner of famous guests and recording artists before us.
The mill had no road access and required us to use the river as our primary mode of transport, equipped with 2 speedboats to help us explore the remote location and venture into Fowey itself.
While not so beer-soaked as to ensure amnesia for all, Adam received the obligatory stag challenges and duties, and we all had a thoroughly good time - and no one fell overboard, and no search parties required! :D
A great time - made many new friends, and learnt that pidgeon breast tastes just like steak! Thanks for the culinary experience, Box! ;)
Turning to home matters - little Violet is growing up fast! Now a bundle on interactive energy, and it is fantastic to be a part of her life as she experiences new things and learns more day-by-day.
CJ and I are taking her for more active adventures now (relatively speaking!), so longer walks, beach trips and more missions out are the order of the day!
She is always so happy she takes it all in her stride and relishes being outdoors. Good girl! ;)
We wanted to make a big deal of her 1st birthday, so we hired a bouncy castle, soft play equipment and ball pit - and invited loads of her friends and family to come and help her celebrate!
The weather held out, and we *just* managed to fit the bouncy castle into the garden, and all the toys and play equipment onto the patio - loads of her friends and relatives came around and she had a lovely day wreaking havoc in her element, so a massive thanks to all who made her 1st birthday so special! :)
One of her birthday presents was a photshoot to document her at the end of her first year - we used the same photographer we had used for the previous shoot, but now Violet is so much more mobile, it opened a world of possibilities not available to us before.
It was a lovely shoot, perfectly documenting her character and development at this milestone in her life... :)
Nearly at Christmas time - and just before Santa forced his way down peoples chimneys, there was one more event on the skate calendar - Adam Walder's marriage to his fiance Sophie!
Adam had chosen Rhinefield House in the New Forest as the venue, a fabulous location set in acres of beautiful New Forest countryside. It is the jewel in the crown of the New Forest, and all the usual suspects from the stag party were there to celebrate it with them - and many more besides!
The stunning Tudor and Gothic architecture gave a fairytale atmosphere backdrop for the ceremony - a perfect winter wedding!
Krys and Char as best men were hosting the proceedings with plenty of stories and laughs - its was a great evening with friends, celebrating Ad and Sophies marriage in such fine style!
Congratulations to you both!
And on to Christmas - I hope you all had a fabulous xmas, and are planning a debauched New Year!
Roll on 2016! :)
saturday 12 september - CJ's Birthday! ;)
Back with a skate-heavy article - the South Coast Streetboarders collective has grown!
Been skating with Lewis quite a lot recently, and celebrating the return of ex-Flipside rider Josh Newman, who has returned to live in Southampton!
Mainly evening skates, and often in Prevail, we have been pushing each other to ramp up the tricks on the rails - the small "shotgun" rail at Prevail is a great place to learn new tricks - it's small enough to allow falls without worry of getting tangled in the rail, but long enough to know you locked and held the trick...
Everyone has different tricks nailed, so its great cross-training as we are pushing each other to improve our weaker areas! The training continues...
We have skated Crossways on the way to Dorchester a few times recently.
Close to Pat and nearer for Rob, it's a funny little park with only a few features - it's a place to session stuff rather than expect long flowing lines, but it forces you to vary your tricks and up your tech game...
I went there with James and Tim's friend Rob, and came away with some good media - Rob blasting some big backside 180s out the bowled quarter, and forging some strong combo's on the manual pad - including a cab smith revert 360 landed and ridden away so smoothly as to be the very essence of the trick definition...
The transitions are very tight, and you have to vary your riding style to accommodate the small size of some of the curves there - its a park you either love or hate, but it's a useful little addition to the collection of spots we have here to ride...
I drove to Reading to hook up with Day One owner Colin Horan for a day's riding at Sol Joel skatepark, and though the weather was super misty, we both managed to get some decent lines down and get some pretty rad slomo footage!
A great day - despite the conditions - and thanks to CoHo on the Trigger for the edit!
In news nearer home - the council has funded a park just around the back of me in the Bourne Valley nature reserve. Built by Maverick it contains a street section, transition section and bowl.
Andy Garett came down to join me for my first visit there - we stuck to the steet section and quarterpipe extension in the bowl.
The street section with flat bar rail, C-ledge and hubbas, next to a transition section with spined mini and launch box, and a triangular bowl at one end Dorchester-style.
Unfortunately the launch box has the classic Maverick issues of inadequate run-in and being too whippy, and the triangular nature of the bowl means it is more difficult to get good lines there - and people randomly enter from the street section which can be hazardous if you are riding it already!
Its a slightly curious park which at first seems to not flow properly, but makes more sense when you hear that they received more money halfway through and tacked an extra bowl on one end - meaning that its current format was never designed as a single unified whole and this shows in the disjointed flow...
Overcrowded by kids from the local estates, I have had a collision with a mountain biker on another occasion - resulting in a leg injury that meant 3 weeks off skating - and this, combined with the average nature of the riding experience, means that although it is only about 500m from my house - I probably won't be using it that often which is a shame.
And last but not least - Happy Birthday CJ! 21 again today! :D xxx
saturday 29 august
I hosted my customary Birthday Bash in New Milton skatepark this year, joined by fellow streetboarders Colin Horan, Paul Nash, Andy Garett, Tim James and James Kelly.
New Milton skatepark had only just opened a couple of months before - the most notable feature of this Maverick-built park being the "concrete wave" stepped rollover, located in the corner.
There's a kidney-shaped bowl at one end and the rest is split into 2 sections, including a step up lunchbox, street section and wide quarterpipe at the far end. The street section involves a rather nice down rail, hubba, plaza steps and euro gap.
Colin, Paul, Tim and James started the day in the bowl - Paul was trying long noseslides round the coping, Colin and Tim were throwing various airs off the hip of the kidney bowl, with James doing his trademark 180-noseblunts.
Andy worked his way around the park from launchbox to vert wall and grass gap to concrete wave, going huge with his signature bir air style before getting inverted in the wave...
I spent much of the day in the street section on the rail and the nearby quarter before I was joined by Colin and Andy, riding the concrete wave and throwing combo's down some of the long grindboxes beneath.
We all agreed that Andy comprehensively won the day's best trick with either of 2 massive tricks - initially blasting a huge air over the grass gap, before throwing a huge rodeo flip in the concrete wave...
Legendary stuff...! ;)
It was a great day spending many hours riding hard with friends and getting some footage down, cut all too short by the necessity to be home for the next part of my birthday - the BBQ! :D
The lads stayed the night, but everyone was too knackered and sore to skate next day, so people had a big breakfast and eventually went their different directions...
On a completely different subject, I feel I should talk a bit more about little baby Violet...
Violet has been growing up quick as children do, learning new skills and developing day by day - a far cry from the tiny infant of the first couple of months! She is very happy and inquisitive, and loves her bouncer and getting out-and-about, visiting parks, baby classes, swimming - all the things a child should!
CJ & I both feel very lucky to have such a gorgeous, happy, healthy little bundle of energy, and are loving parenting - the good times and the bad ;)
We all went for a long weekend with Rich and Lou down to north coast of Devon, sleeping in slightly-oval wooden huts with no elecricity, in a field on the exposed clifftops inbetween Delable and Port Isaac.
We had a good day exploring Port Isaac and walking the coastline there but the onset of a prolonged bad spell prompted an early return home - but it was good to get the vans doing camper duty again...
A week later, I called Flipside Boards founder Adam Walder and rider Paul Nash with the idea of checking out the newly-opened skatepark over in Andover, and we headed there for afternoon skate.
Essentially rectangular, it features a step-up launchbox, bowl spined to mini, hubba, flatbar handrail, battleship rail over driveway, gap with large ball feature and c-block.
The sun beat down relentlessly as we rode the park, making for a roasting skate with all the reflection off the fresh 'crete..!
I started on the hubba and rail while Adam and Paul rode the mini and the bowl, everyone pulling bangers out the bag before moving on around the park...
It always amazes me how Adam can just jump on a board after months off, and bang out smooth tricks like he's been practising all week. Astonishing! ;)
There were far fewer people at the park this time and the average age was older than the kidfest we had expeienced previously at this park, and it was good to be able to ride without having to constantly be on the lookout for errant kids...
The c-rail was a regular feature, gentle enough not to throw you off balance and allow balance for combo's. Adam was using the quarter at the end for frontside airs, Paul manual-ing the driveway and I tried Miller Flips over the rollover.
Was great to see the guys, especially Adam as it had been a while, and get riding like the old days on such a fabulous day! Classic.
And finally, I have noticed that this blog is now 10 years old! 10 years dedicated to bringing you quality content from our part of the streetboarding and snowboarding worlds :)
You lucky people! ;)