The last month and a bit has definitely been memorable, a mix of highs and lows, but mostly highs. The obvious big event being my holiday to the beautiful South Island of New Zealand. I knew before going the roads/tracks would be stunning, for Longboarding/Mountainboarding, but they were beyond expectation. I highly recommend Queenstown & Dunedin for any Skaters wanting to travel out there. 2 weeks wasn’t long enough.. I had withdrawal symptoms (and massive jet-lag..). A massive thanks to my good friend and host, Lexa, for allowing me to come and taking me to all the spots!
I won’t say too much more about NZ, as I’ve written an article for Thrill Longboard Magazine, which should be out very soon! I can however share with you my personal video edit of the whole experience, which I made on the horrific 30 hour journey home:
Coming back from New Zealand was definitely a low, usually I’m pretty happy living on my own, but after 2 weeks of being surrounded by people who love the same sport as me, making amazing new friends and having the most fun I’ve ever had away from home, going back my average weekly routine was a bit grim to say the least. A lot of people know I’m very introverted, but New Zealand made me realise that I’m a lot happier when I’m surrounded by friends who love nothing more than to skate hard with you and others. It’s easy to get down about, but I know what I want more of in the future and that I can aim for change, swings & roundabouts.
To add to this, recently I’ve had a lot of problems with my Sinusitis/Chronic Tension Headaches (Never 100% believe the NHS). At first I thought it was my desk job causing problems, giving me headaches that never went away and got extremely bad after periods of concentration. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case, they still appeared after a day’s skating or in the middle of the night, where I’m not even near an LCD screen. Normal painkillers fail to help, so the NHS prescribed me some strong anti-depressants, to take before going to sleep every night, they help me sleep, but it’s not a permanent fix and don’t help at all during daytime. I don’t like taking pills for anything, especially if it’s for non physical pain. As an attempted alternative treatment, I turned to a sports massage, for my neck and back, as they were stiff and quite possibly connected to my Headache problem. Despite loosening me up, the treatment didn’t affect my head at all.
I’m starting to think now that’s its a pure mental block, my brain can’t relax after periods of high concentration, drives me bonkers after skating all day. I’m shit at sitting at home ‘relaxing’ not doing anything productive, or skating, so I need to find new alternatives.
This is all starting to sound a bit negative, but honestly I’ve never been happier on the skate side of life and that’s definitely had an overall affect on me. New Zealand improved my Longboarding a lot and gave me confidence I never thought I’d have. This showed on the weekend just gone, at Dig Deep Outlaw in Coleford on Saturday and Bridge Valley Closed Road in Bristol on the Sunday. Dig Deep was a road I’d skated in the wetness of this year’s New Year Skate bash, back in the first week of January this year. Double hairpin, wet, greasy road madness sums it up nicely and it made for a lot of fun freeriding and racing.
I went out 2nd Knockout round after winning my 1st round, due to sliding too much and almost crashing into Ruben infront (the fastest & raddest UK Grom) on the first corner, mainly due to a bad line, but still fun! Ruben went on to come 4th, but would’ve been on the podium if it weren’t for a crash on the last corner in the final. He’ll be winning every UK Outlaw soon, mark my words! A massive congratulations to good friend and UKDH stoke master, Ben Stainer, who won Dig Deep Outlaw (his first ever win), well deserved, fast and consistent all day long.
Sunday came around and myself and Ben headed down to Bristol to skate Bridge Valley Road, a road that’d been shut for the day because of the Bristol to Bath Half Marathon (thank you boring runners!). The event was organised by Bristol Freeborder, Sonia, although the event consisted of about 25 Longboarders, 3 Freeborders and 2 drift trikes. I wasn’t expecting much, but it turned out to be a fun road, 1km long, 35-40mph and 40-50 seconds top to bottom. Finbarr followed me on a run late afternoon after I’d got it all dialled, riding super close behind, bumping lots, wicked fun:
A pretty epic weekend all round for UKDH and I was stoked on the amount of friends pointing out how much faster I’ve gotten recently, I’m all for encouragement! I definitely wouldn’t be as confident as I am at the moment without the awesome UKDH scene that’s so active at the moment.
On a last point of note, you may have noticed my lack of Mountainboarding recently, despite some riding in NZ. I haven’t left it behind, but at the moment I’d say I enjoy my skating twice as much as Mountainboarding, mostly down to the community and amount of events going on.
Bit of a mixed up summary of the last month or so but I’m sure some structure will return soon..
Until next time, Peace.