Boarding and Wellbeing

As a bit of a change to the norm, I thought I’d talk about how both Mountainboarding and Longboarding have changed my life, for the better.

I’m not very good at explaining this, but bear with me. I started Mountainboarding nearly 3 years ago now, when I was 18. Before that I had no real passion for anything, but was ok at running long distance, but picked up a knee injury I still carry with me today, called ‘Anterior Knee Pain’ when I was out attempting to run 5 miles in under 34 minutes (1 minute faster than I’d ever done before). Totally my fault, but some people aren’t built to run fast for long periods of time.

A LOT of people also tell me I’m a quiet person, this is partly down to not having, what I consider, a good friend, for my last 2-3 years of education. But also because I was never forced to be especially social, didn’t go to University and my IT Support job is quiet, independant work, most of the time. But I like to think I’ve become more social since becoming a part of both the UK Mountainboard and Longboard scene.

When I finished Sixth Form College at age 18 and was looking for my IT Apprenticeship, that was when I really fell in love with Mountainboarding solo, up my local Cleeve Hill, as I had a lot of spare time to kill and next to no disposable income. Each ride I’d try and find something new to ride but also try and learn something new as I went along, such as slides. With no one to ride with, progress was slow but I enjoyed it none the less! After about a year of this, I got to know the Mountainboard community through ATBA UK comps and social media, which has led to me making some awesome friends and improving my riding in the 2 years or so since.

For me, Longboarding was the next natural progression of sport, lots of Mountainboarders also Longboard, as they have some similarities and you can ride a Longboard every fucking day if you want to, whether it’s commuting, sliding or proper downhill. In my mind at first was if I learn to go fast on a Longboard, the speeds of Mountainboarding will seem much less daunting. This has definitely worked but it’s not why I Longboard anymore.

I love Longboarding because it’s an extremely technical sport that you can constantly improve at, no matter what discipline. My favourite discipline is obviously Downhill as I love the rush of going fast and sliding round corners. Trying to constantly improve at something is a healthy way to live in my opinion. It’s always part of the reason I want to get on a board of sorts everyday, without fail. I encourage people to do the same, rain or shine as you will find yourself getting a little better almost everyday and just generally more happy.

In the recent 15 minute short film release of Longboard Girls Crew Israel OPEN, one of the riders sums up the feeling of Downhill perfectly “When it’s just you, your board and the hill, nothing else matters”. Give it a watch, it’s stunning and I can’t wait to see the full film release!

OPEN – lgc skates Israel – short video from Longboard Girls Crew on Vimeo.

Apologies if this post is a bit all over the place, but I fancied a change and to express my passion for both my sports in a bit more detail.

Cheers!

Race Season Prep

Over the last week or two, the dates for UK & World Mountainboard and Longboard events have been pouring in.

The first ‘race’ event is a Longboard Outlaw at the legendary UKDH spot ‘Sheepy’ in Wales, next Saturday (31st Jan)! Very much looking forward to some adverse weather condition racing! With all the practice at steep downhill spots near Coleford recently, I’m feeling a lot more confident going fast in the wet. I’ve also ordered some Ojoom Slide Pucks and a TSG Pass full face for it and the rest of the years racing. This is a run of Ry following me down last saturday:

As for the rest of the year, it’s looking like this:

16th – 17th May – Hereford Board Park ATBA UK Mountainboard R1 (BX)

23rd – 24th May – Crackling Hog Hill Longboarding

13th – 14th June – Perth, Scotland ATBA UK Mountainboard R2 (BX & DH)

20th June – Go Skateboard day (Probably Nottingham Longboarding)

4th July – Fruit Farm, Winchcombe ATBA UK Mountainboard R3 (DH)

18th – 19th July – Summer Swine Stomp Hog Hill Longboarding

15th – 16th August – Hales Superbole ATBA UK Mountainboarding R6 (BX & DH)

2nd – 6th September – Florence, Italy – Possible Longboarding!

9th – 13th September – World Mountainboard Boardercross Championships in Grosserlach, Germany! Purpose built Longboard Track next to it too!

10th – 11th October – Hogtober Longboard Festival Hog Hill

 

As for the rest of this year, I’m hoping to get in another Holiday to either Slovenia or Serbia, probably before May! It’s gonna be expensive but the saving has begun for it and Italy & Germany in the space of 2 weeks in September!

As for the freeride side of things, it’s been manic recently, last weekend was Mountainboard Friday, Longboard Saturday, Mountainboard Sunday. Definitely in need of a rest day or 3. I wouldn’t change it though, my bad knees have been getting stronger and Team DAD have captured some awesome Nightride raw runs, on my new GoPro HD Hero 4 Black Edition!

Last ride was a bit of a disaster on my end though, with my front binding backplate losing its main bolt before the first run, then air in my NoSno brake causing massive unreliability, from no braking to full with next to no pressure. Luckily the Launchpad is quite forgiving and doesn’t require much braking.

Last night I bled my brake to fix the air in the system and give it an earlier bite. Bleeding definitely gets easier the more times you do it, so that’s the only benefit.. my hands are still fucking greasy from the Dot 5.1 brake fluid!

wpid-fb_img_1421695636267.jpgNow I look to the next Friday nightride, we’ve decided to hit a Malvern spot, along with new local friend of ours, Lexa, who’s been Mountainboarding 5-6 years! Should be a good one.

Peace!

 

 

2014 Summary & New Year Skate Bash

With 2014 now all over, I’ve been thinking about all that I actually did and learnt and there’s lots of it! 2015 is gonna have to be incredible to top it.

Starting with Mountainboarding, in 2014, the biggest change was obviously working with and riding for Kite Mechanics since about April. I’ve been through this change in detail in a previous post, but in short, I couldn’t be happier and truely believe I’m riding the best Mountainboard Deck in the world right now and can’t wait for the ATBA UK 2015 series and the next World Boardercross Champs, now that I’m much more in tune with my setup.

Aside from that, although my riding wasn’t the best in comps, I stuck at it and got 5th in the Seniors Downhill overall. Being really honest, starting to ride my Kite Mechanics deck, a few days before the first comp of the season at Hales Superbole wasn’t the best idea. It took me until July at Whinlatter Freeride to even start getting dialled to it. Mark of Team DAD recently finished the edit for this!

I can’t say I learnt a lot from 2014 comp season, but instead learning a lot more by doing weekly nightride freeriding with Team DAD on loads of different spots and making the change to 10’s and Full Bindings with Snowboard boots, in Winter 2014, has made me feel more confident as a rider and the change from 2013 is big.

wpid-img_68451406180780.jpegI have a theory that when you’re under pressure you don’t learn as much.. but when I’m riding with Team DAD, we all ride differently, have fun but also push ourselves and learn from each other. I think if it wasn’t for them I would’ve gone off Mountainboarding by now!

wpid-img_67496656166216.jpegThe discovery of the Launchpad trail in Forest of Dean has got us all excited recently too, it’s fast, man made, all weather and so many corners you struggle to remember it during the 2 minute run! Love it and soon I’ll have a video of it, due to my recent purchase of the new GoPro HD Hero 4 Black which does 4k and is incredible in low light!

On the Longboarding side of things, again, I learnt lots, which definitely makes Downhill Longboarding more fun! 2013 I could hardly Coleman slide, but now I can Coleman, Toeside Predrift, heelside standup 180 and check slide and just generally more confident going fast, in tuck or not.

These improvements are mainly down to the amount of practice and finding two setups that I feel in tune with. I mostly ride a Rayne Vandal, a solid 36″ topmount with big concave, Sabre 45 Baseplates/Paris Hangers, wedged 5 degrees at the back for 45/40, giving me grip and stability but also still lots of turn on a 24″ wheelbase.

wpid-img_65770465406532.jpegMy other main setup is my Five Mile Widowmaker, a crazy deck by a company that’s now closed up shop, but my deck of choice for bombing runs/racing, with it’s triple drop it’s so comfortable in a speed tuck. I run it with Cast Ronin Precision Trucks with a 7 degree wedge at the back for 42/35 combo, for loads of grip and stability but still a decent amount of turn, even on a massive 30″ wheelbase. This deck won me my first ever races, so I’m never getting rid!

wpid-20141214_155446.jpgAgain, I can’t wait to see where Longboarding takes me in 2015, I’ve already started saving so I can go to a few European Freerides and Serbia again.

Moving back to 2015, last weekend was the New Years Skate Bash event, put on by Will Stephenson of Dangerous Decks! Always a wet event and 2015 was no exception, on Saturday we had a turnout of around 20 riders.

wpid-img_103933171355368.jpegWe hit up some hills in Worcester & Malvern, most noteably, ‘Impossible’, a crazy downhill path that requires a lot of precision slides in quick succession, to avoid getting thrown into mud or falling off the sheer drop edges!

wpid-img_65778860069035.jpegImprovements to everyone’s riding was shown here, last year I couldn’t get down but this year I made it down 5 times! 80a Kegels and wet Toesides ftw.

On the Sunday, we were still aching but went to some longer Downhill runs near Monmouth & Coleford in Wales. We shredded some steep 15-25% gradient corners and didn’t want to leave by the end! Sadly I haven’t uploaded the videos to anywhere other than Facebook yet. Everyone was killing it and exploring the limits of grip on a slightly rough and very wet road!

A fun weekend, but now it’s a long wait until the next big events in both sports.

Until then, cheers!