Rolling Dead UK Streetboard Uprising '07 review
Wow! The tour has been full on!
We have spent a hectic week travelling between skateparks, streetboarding everything in sight and drinking a lot of beer ;o)
Seven riders - seven skateparks - seven days...
The Streetboard UK tour 07, or "Rolling Dead UK Streetboard Uprising 07" to give its full name, consisted of UK team members Neil Thomson, Max Anderson, Alex Wheeler, Simon Johns, Jon White and wildcard riders Colin Horan (Day One Streetboarding) and myself.
Encompassing the north Midlands to the south coast and all the major skateparks outside of London in-between, we collectively rode, aired, ground, flipped and slide our way across everything we saw.
Having decided that meeting up on the Friday night was just too impractical, Colin and I drove up to meet Jay Nowman in Dulwich to grab a lift north to Corby, accompanied by some great weather, on the Saturday morning.
Corby - starting point of the streetboard tour, location of the Rolling Dead competition and overall new experience for me.
Corby is a good park comprising of a great kidney-shaped bowl with the best transition I have been in, a "rollers" section with 3 consecutive launch boxes, a semi-hard resin launch box for trying tricks and dedicated foam pit - plus a multi-level driveway and the usual assortment of manual blocks etc.
Spending too much time ripping up the bowl and trying new tricks on the resin ramp and foam pit, we finally managed to start the competition - the boys all throwing down their best moves.
We had a great first day; impressed the local riders with the sport, running another successful streetboard comp and chilling out in the evening with beers and a BBQ - sweet ;o)
The next day saw us driving to Stoke, to ride the legendary Stoke Plaza - with great light for taking footage and documenting some of the riding.
Stoke is a vast development of blocks rails and steps, designed to replicate a "street" environment. It have very little in the way of transition, and really represents a shift from the conventional skatepark design.
We spent a blazing day sliding, grinding and throwing combos along the huge blocks and rails - taking advantage of the massive variety of different terrain available here.
Onto Epic - which has changed out of all recognition since I last saw it, and halved in size, apparently.
With a huge amount of different terrain within the park, from flatbanks and rails, bowl and mini, to blocks and a launch box - Epic ranks as one of the best indoor parks in the country, a potential site for a UK Worlds?
The team spent a packed day working everything in the park, killing the mini before moving on to a flatbank rail and block session, with Max finally throwing some HUGE flips across the box.
After some consideration, the decision was made to drive to Simon Johns house in Bristol, in order to use as a base for the next 2 parks - Swindon and Motion (old Skate&Ride)
We hit up the GBH park in Swindon, the usual affair of metal ramps on tarmac, with the usual array of obstacles and a semi-workable spine. We spent a couple of hours riding - Alex and Max making use of the spine and Colin blasting off the driveway with some air-late-backside180-outs - enjoying the fantastic weather before moving onto Motion (Bristols famous indoor skatepark).
Motion is one of the better parks in the south - being the nearest decent launch box to Flipside HQ - and one that I have documented before. We spent a good few hours using the foam pit and the launch box - the highlight being Max solidly nailing his frontflips down the lauchbox transition to the floor!
We were supposed to be meeting a BBC film crews, who were going to use us streetboarding at Motion as the backdrop to the weather forecast! Unfortunately they let us down at the last minute, so the opportunity for some great promotion was lost...
Wednesday saw us leaving Bristol for Bournemouth - home turf!
A blisteringly hot day left us gasping for air and somewhat exhausted, but with a reporter from the Bournemouth Echo and another BBC team turning up, we rode the park as best we could.
Hitting up the quarterpipes, blocks and the big bowl, we all demonstrated our skills to both locals and reporters, and gave some interviews to try and give them some material on streetboarding as a sport.
Click here for BBC streetboard tour report.
On our final day of the tour we had a late start, before driving to Brighton for a late session in Hove skatepark.
With the afternoon wearing on we discovered the delights of this outdoor park, including a curved block which Alex owned with super-stylish tailslide-270-outs, and Max throwing down some rail combos on a flat rail.
In summary - what a superb week; fantastic weather, some mindblowing streetboarding and a vanload of talent!
We had a successful tour, visiting the best parks the UK has to offer, demonstrating our skills to the most skeptical audience; skaters and BMXers. A number of shops are now stocking boards, and some have been sold due to the tour - so Neil's happy!
So heres looking forwards to more streetboarding, more tours and more success... This is the way forward, and raising the profile of our sport through activities like the Streetboard UK Tour '07 is the path to making our sport mainstream.
So now it's back to work and it's raining again...