monday 5th december
I have left Wanaka!
Back on the road, with a tinge of regret it has to be said...
Left Wanaka on 20th November, after frantic packing and arranging, to take a tour in Jose's pimp-wagon, north to Christchurch.
We drove out past Tarras and Cluden, through the mountains until we reached the Lindis Pass - a long road winding through the striking valley networks.
The road led onward, through Burkes Pass - a thin,high valley leading out of the Southern Alps towards Mackensie country, then onto the Cantabury Plains
An hour or more from Burke Pass brought us to Omarama, where we came across this stunning river floodplain, a wondrous sight with Lupins filling the field, reaching as far as the eye could see...
A few more miles brought us to a working salmon farm - visitors could feed the fish in the pens, and the salmon there was as fresh as it gets.
We reached Lake Pukaki shortly after, a vast body of water with some pretty good waves, we noticed. It was a beautiful day, nice high temperatures and lots of sun - figured this was a great place for watersports. Chilled out for a few minutes, but time was pressing and we had to go...
Carried on past Mt.Hutt and Methven. Methven is a small village, but has a reputation for being a bit of a shred-town. Not on this day, so we moved swiftly on up towards Christchurch.
Stayed for a night in Christchurch before leaving next day. It brought back memories of skating here with Andy on the journey down, and, as if to perfect the similarities, it rained.
Good ole Christchurch...
30 hours later, I was touching down in Heathrow. Back in England again...shit. Bad weather, expensive, short days, the list goes on - need I say more?
The last few days have been a whirlwind, seeing friends and desperately trying to organise the impending trip to Lyon for the 2005 Streetboard World Championships, the mother of all competitions. This is going to be a huge event, bringing streetboarders together from all over the world - it would be a crime to miss it...
Next: 2005 Streetboarding World Championships in Lyon...
2005 Streetboard World Championships special!
The 2005 Streetboard World Championships: a gathering of around 100 of the best riders in Lyons Gerland Skatepark, throwing down tricks, matching skills, socialising and proving once again that streetboarding is pushing the limits and demonstrating technical skills far in advance of anything credited by its critics.
Lyon itself is a city with a large university population, and was celebrating the anniversary of the Lumiere brothers, the French pioneers of the moving image.
This was marked by light shows in the centre of town, drawing large crowds of people, in spite the biting cold - perfect material for spectators for the competition.
The competition was divided into 4 seperate disciplines: Minipipe, Vert, Street and Best Trick. Over the course of 3 days, Qualifying and Final rounds determined the running order, and overall winner of each discipline.
In between rounds, the free-skating time allowed many of the non-competing riders to show their skills - it was very interesting to see that not only had the level of riding increased with the pro riders, but also equally with the amateur riders - Josh Mick professing this was one of the best aspects of the competition for him.
Two of the interesting points noticed were that Rodeos now seem to have become a standard trick - but also that switch is now de rigeur; most riders throwing their tricks switch, or at least having a few switch moves to their name.
Notable riders in the Mini were Tancred Leca, flowing runs with loads of spins and tricks like switch FS feeble-fakie; Max Maier with a huge 540 over the volcano and rodeo, and Max Anderson (riding totally hungover!) with back-to-back rodeos.
The Street was the most highly contested discipline with many riders showing skils, but Alex Morton stood out with a nosegring the length of the block and a BS 270-BS boardslide-270 off. Brinton pulled off a huge frontflip off the box (down the transition!), Gabi was dialing big 450 lipslides and 270 noseblunt slides, and Kai Hammen was pulling big lipslide-270 outs.
Sergi really was King of Vert this year - looking like hes in a different league to all the other riders. Good rus from many of the participants, Tancred Leca and Thomas K also representing.
The Best Trick was a mixed bag, from Christian Kamm pulling a huge floaty BS 360 transfer from the box, to Thomas Urs pulling an as-yet-still-unknown flip in the vert,and Gabi landing a huge 450 lipslide. However, award for Biggest Nutter must go to Sergi Nicholas for his drop-in from the vert railing into quarterpipe...
Some of the more memorable parts of the 2005 worlds championships included Kai Hammen continuously tearing up the streetpark, Max Andersons drunken backflips (centered perfectly around his can of beer!), Sergi Nicholas excelling on the vert, and Tancred Leca ripping around the minipipe, laying down a jaw-dropping run.
The last night, an organised party in a bar, was well out-of-order! Starting with a mass of riders of almost riot proportions, a group of nearly 100 streetboarders rallied to Gregs loudhailer, through the streets of Lyon, to a club were the night was noisily partied away.
The night continued in uproar until Rick Lowe and Thomas Kienle started smashing glasses on their head, resulting in Thomas Kienle having to sit it out bleeding, and the management getting shirty and throwing us out - whereupon all participants took the party to the streets, with an impromptu dance session from an enthusiastic local with a large ICE setup in the back of his Clio..!
It was great to catch up with old friends, meet some of the US lads and generally hang out with the other riders that make our scene what it is.
The French meetings alway seem to go well, and this was no exception, with all parties and about 200 spectators enjoying their time at the Worlds.
A big shout out to Greg, Remy and all the Vertical Rider crew for organising a successful event! Also Max Anderson, Rick Lowe, Sam Cooke, Neil Thomson and all who represented for the UK. Respect to the Dimension Team and Team Addicted, the guy who gave me the wheels (cheers bro!) and all the riders and friends who made it what it was. Roll on the Streetboard World Championships 2006!
friday 30th December
After the 2005 World Championships in Lyon, I took time out to organise accommodation in Morzine for the upcoming season - result: CJ & I now have a rather plush studio appartment with en-suite bathroom, within walking distance of the centre of town.
I have been running around, madly trying to organise everything for the coming season, but managed to take time out to meet up with Matt Johnson a.k.a Double-Backflip Matt. He is in fine form, taking time in London to get some engineering experience on the CV and make some more cash.
I hope everyone has had a good christmas; got lots of prezzies, or just managed to take time off and put your feet up - whatever floats your boat these days!
Hooked up with some of the Flipside crew yesterday - spent the day with Adam Walder, Luke Kinneavy and Simon Johns in the foam pit at Newport getting inverted, and laying down as many different flips as we could think of... Nice one lads! Had a great time, really good session to end 2005 on.
So, all you pimps and hustla's out there - set the New Year on fire, and I'll see you all when you're back...