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Skate Solo, Skate Safe

These are weird times we live in right now.

Here in the UK, as across much of Europe and the rest of the world, we’re in a government enforced “lockdown.” We’re not supposed to leave home unless we have to, to buy essentials or exercise for a little while each day.

The sun is finally shining after one of the wettest winters on record, the clocks go back next weekend… like many of you reading this blog, we’re itching to get out and skate.

Well, the good news for us at least is – we can! At the moment, we’re all allowed out for a short period of exercise each day. But before you grab your board, there’s a couple of things we wanted to share with you.

Skate Solo.

It is vital that we all do our part to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus. It is highly contagious and the best way we can stop our health services being overwhelmed is to avoid close social contact.

If you’re on your board, it’s easy to have fun, relax and keep yourself and those around you safe. The streets are relatively deserted right now, especially in the evenings. A mellow cruise around your city will do wonders for your mind!

Skate Safe.

As tempting as it may be to hit your local empty skatepark, or bomb the suddenly traffic-free hill you’ve always dreamed of, imagine how you’re going to feel if you mess up and end up in hospital.

Imagine how sympathetic the overstretched doctors and nurses who will be fixing you up are going to be.

Getting injured goes hand in hand with pushing your limits. So we ask everyone tempted to go out for a quick roll over the next few months – TAKE IT EASY.

We’re not skating hills, skateparks or street until this is over. Even if you see yourself as a super-competent skater, remember that stupid little accidents are often the worst, and frankly, the risk right now just isn’t worth it.

This is a great chance to rediscover the simpler side of skateboarding and longboarding. Grab your board, grab a bag with a beer/camera/book in it, and go for a roll. You’ll be amazed what you might find…

#skatesolo #skatesafe

We are super stoked to announce our first production speedboard for a long time… The Slayer is a partnership with longtime teamrider and UKDH legend Pete Connolly.

You can read more about the board itself here, but we thought it best to ask Pete himself to introduce it and tell us a bit about the (very!) long journey we’ve shared getting it available as an actual board that you can buy in the Lush Longboards lineup.

Take it away Pete…

Slaying Hills. Bombing Hills. Speed Boarding. When the speed is raw and the acceleration of gravity is kicking in.

A very steep hill, and very stoked Pete holding a very valuable certificate that says he is the fastest person on a skateboard in the world. The Slayer doing what it does best!

One of the amazing things about high speeds on a skateboard is that you feel every increment; the difference between 60mph and 62mph is very tangible when your feet are 10cm off the floor and wind is trying to grab at you.  Not all boards are equal, not all boards are built for speed…

Speed is the hook that sunk deep in me when I started skating in the late nineties. I literally started longboarding by bombing hills. I found my local hill, dropped it from low down, then walked up a few meters more and dropped it from there, then a few more meters higher. All the while getting faster and faster, while not having a clue how to stop. By the end of that day I was dropping the hill from the top, coming close to 40mph at the blind corner that goes under the railway bridge in my stinky ‘tuck’ with no helmet or gloves, but a huge grin on my face. Maybe the fact that I never came off while going through this high risk, high reward learning phase left me with an optimistic view towards downhill, maybe my optimistic view of downhill meant I never came off….   

Pete skating the deck that would eventually become the Slayer, this is the first prototype at Gurston in February 2009! Eleven years in the making.

Either way I had to find more hills to Slay! I had a great crew and we set out hill hunting. Driving around looking for hills, getting bolder as time went on, looking for more speed, a greater challenge, a mightier hill to Slay! As my skills progressed I learned how to footbrake to stop, and that welding gloves with chopping board melted onto them, made my hands impervious to damage. My quest to Skate Faster had begun, but I could not comprehend how far that road would take me.

Where it all started… way back at the end of 2008, this is the first uncut Slayer, with no microdrop, super tea tray concave, lots of Carbon Fibre and an aluminium honeycomb core. Prior to this Pete was on a Magun board… this is ancient downhill history!

The need to hunt hills and Slay them is a hunger that still drives me today, 20 years on in my life. Many, many hills lay in my board’s wake now, and my quest has become esoteric in its nature, I seek the extreme that most consider absurd. I haven’t found that hill that I can’t skate yet…

My board is paramount in Slaying hills. I have learned what I look for in a board that I can trust. Feel is everything, its nature is dualistic, feedback vs dampening, compliance vs stiffness, flex vs rebound, stability vs agility. All these things and more blend into a board’s overall feel.

Some of the different constructions we went through during development!

Whatever materials a board’s construction has, having a wood spine connect your trucks is, for me, what makes a board, a board. Wood has a particular dampening effect, and speed produces vibration. For my personal taste, fully composite boards with alternative core materials tend to resonate with road vibration and can get overwhelmed with this feedback, this sensation amplifying at high-speed. Wood is core.

You can see the Ash/Poplar core in this prototype, which was built to test the Twincore layout within the fibreglass. The layup was good, but frankly the finish isn’t black enough for Pete’s metal Tastes…

That said, composite materials bring much to the table. Speedboards must balance torsional stiffness to track high-speed corners, with enough longitudinal flex and compliance to deal with chunder and road surface imperfections.

We experimented with a lot of different layups for this, not all of them repeatable! This one is a Carbon CNC Foamcore with nose and tail bumpers.

Mass, for the board to carry its own kinetic energy, results in a stable feeling that steamrollers over cracks and contours of the tarmac, but not so much mass you are on a runaway train…

Materials matter. Layup matters. Construction matters. Precision matters. Characteristics of a board are formed of these components.

Another Slayer prototype on the cutting bench. Pete is a carpenter by trade, and pretty handy with a router – a lot of the prototypes were cut by him.

Shape is a very personal taste. There is no right or wrong. Styles of shapes come and go and then come back round again. Me, I’m a Speed Boarder, my board goes downhill, my board Slays. Being a speed-board, it has a directional shape, it points downhill with its very essence.

New concave and old concave… the microdrop has moved forwards quite dramatically as the Slayer has evolved.

My golden rule is no wheel bite, you should never find yourself ejected off your board like in a car crash with no seatbelt. I like hips for looks and feel, a nod in style to an era gone by. Microdrop concave is essential for board control and foot placement.  Width is critical, so as the rail is under foot, even in tuck, and it also relates to the location of your wheels.

Another earlier iteration of the concave. Pete’s skating has evolved with the different protoypes we’ve done together, both in shape and profile.

Lush Longboards have been shaping wood for several decades now and their roots go back to cutting wood first hand in a garage. Their boss man, Rich, still shapes boards by hand today and knows a thing or two about his trade. We spend more time than our wives can fathom talking about the nuances a material brings to a given ride; the impact geometry can have when assembling components and other countless variables. 

Here’s the effect of the front-loaded microdrop.

We approach our discussions from different hemispheres, Rich a manufacturer, me a racer; our language always unites in the vocabulary of “feel”. So many people produce products by specification, or aesthetics and forget that boards have a feel. We both gravitate to how the board feels, and shape our designs to achieve that.

In the many years I have skated for Lush Longboards, Rich has often given me a free reign to design my board with unlimited access to materials. The results have been exceedingly high performance boards that could not be put into mass production, but the knowledge gained in making them trickled down into the Lush production models. My last board, the board that I set the Guinness World Record of 91.17mph on was different. Rich met my request for a MicroDrop concave and provided me with a pressed blank of his specification to cut a shape out of myself. Project Skate Faster was born. The board evolved my riding style and let me progress as a skater. I can say with no doubt that I couldn’t have set my record on my previous boards.

Not many boards have both the 80mph and the 90mph club stickers on them…

Last year I approached Rich to talk about a new board. He had other things in mind. Rich wanted to make a production board born of all we had learnt. One that I would be happy to skate and push my personal boundaries on, no compromise, but still be the speed board in the Lush Longboard’s production line up…

It is possible that Rich may have come to regret that (nope!! – Rich), as I can be a fussy twat. Racing has given me an attention to detail that many others do not share. We started in our usual hemispheres, Rich the manufacturer with a budget in mind, me the racer, fixated on details that had significant manufacturing ramifications. I visited the Swiss factory personally and produced the board’s template by hand myself. While there, I changed the mould unexpectedly too…  Layups were discussed in detail, and then again; and then again, again. Samples were produced and thrashed. Possibly the biggest challenge of my specification in relation to the budget, was for the board to be CNC cut and drilled. In the end Rich drew the CNC template himself with me. To get the right feel, precision matters.

I am stoked on the board. The Slayer.

Weighing 1.9 Kg with wheelbase base options ranging from 28.25″ to 29.9375″, CNC drilled into an overall board length of 36.6″.

Wheelbase options will take this board from Gurston or Hog Hill to TopSpeed or Col d’Izoard…

A Width of 9.875″ accommodates narrower hanger widths.

The CNC rails dig sharp for foot placement and instant reaction.

Two ash/poplar cores with ABS bumpers, skinned in the finest fibreglass out there… Twincore rocks.

The Twincore composite V-Lam construction has a 3D Microdrop concave located aggressively toward the nose cutaways and front truck bolts, giving a fast response to rider input. The rear Microdrop is set early in the shape, into the hips of the board, giving a lock for the back-foot tuck/slide position and acting as a gas pedal during heel side turns.

The board’s mass is that it can absorb road energy, while not losing overall agility, its flex can contour road surface, while being stiff enough for a 90kg rider to still have performance.  ABS nose and tail bumper inserts bring durability to the design.  It’s finished in black.

Black… yes.

Here is a little clip of one of the final pre production prototypes being tested at speed on a rough and beaten road, the infamous Kop Hill. The Slayer takes it.

The evolution in board shape and concaves has taken place over thousands of miles of downhill, bridging decades. As equipment has improved and riding has evolved the board’s feel has been refined. Derived from this heritage, born of the fastest board on the planet, the Lush Longboard’s Slayer is dialled. Go Skate Faster, go Slay some hills!

Pete”

Check out the Slayer Speedboard Here.

Yes, really.

Regular readers of this blog will know that Pete Connolly has the speed bug like no other, and he’s working together with many influential people in European downhill scene to push the boundaries of speed on his skateboard.

If you’ve ever been really fast on a skateboard, you’ll know that aerodynamics are a big part of the game.

Recently Pete’s been working with SimScale – a Computational Fluid Dynamics simulation company – to analyse and learn from his wind tunnel data.

This post originally appeared on Simscale’s blog, and is reproduced here with kind permission.

Downhill skateboarding record being broken as Pete Connolly hits 146.73 km/h

In September 2017, gravity sports enthusiast Pete Connolly became the first person in history to exceed 91 mph on a skateboard, making him a world record holder in downhill skateboarding as well as deeming him the fastest downhill skateboarder on the planet.

This fastest skateboard speed downhill (standing) record was achieved at the L’Ultimate Descente competition in Quebec, Canada. The extreme event invites masters of all things gravity sports from skateboarders to gravity cars to try to achieve the fastest speeds humanly possible, and the chance to make history.

How Was This Possible for Pete?

In order to become the world record holder for downhill skating, a lot of time, effort, and aerodynamic design factors were accounted for and evaluated.

“As you might expect we get fairly into the aerodynamic aspects of our sport when pushing the top speeds. To set the record, I designed and produced an aerodynamic leather suit to skate in and did a lot of real-world testing in Switzerland to gather data on a road with very consistent conditions.” – Pete Connolly

In order to optimise his suit, board, helmet, and body position, Pete underwent multiple sessions of real-world and wind tunnel testing.

Wind tunnel testing of Pete’s gear and tuck position

Wind Tunnel Testing: Benefits and Limitations

With a new goal set, Pete and his team went to the HEPIA wind tunnel in Geneva, Switzerland to further undergo testing of equipment and body positions to ultimately reduce drag and any areas of re-circulation. Unlike other resistance forces like friction, drag depends directly on the drivers speed and increases with the cube of velocity and linearly with frontal area.. Wind tunnel data was used to determine where drag and air resistance was creating a negative impact.

“My time in the wind tunnel was greatly beneficial, while I managed to improve my overall drag training in the tunnel, it shared the same limitation as real-world testing; you can only see the overall drag we create… My goal with modelling and running simulation is to establish if there are any key hotspots that we can hone in on to result in the best improvements possible, rather than investing into improving an aspect of our body positions or equipment that may not make the most difference.” – Pete Connolly

CFD-Downhill-Skateboarding-1

Aerodynamic design testing in HEPIA wind tunnel in Geneva, Switzerland

Pete and his team decided to combine their wind tunnel testing efforts with online simulation, to identify high benefit/quick fix areas with a focus on improving these aspects. By utilizing CFD analysis, future training, development, and testing can be more targeted to essentially increase speed by combining real-world, wind tunnel, and online simulation efforts—the aerodynamic testing trifecta.

Full-scale wind tunnel testing of front-tuck position for downhill skateboarding

The New Challenge: Online Aerodynamics Simulation

To jump-start this process, World Champion Downhill Skateboarder and industrial design specialist Martin Siegrist lent his assistance by creating a full 3D scan of Pete and his board in his record-breaking stance. Using this CAD model, Pete then got in touch with SimScale to begin some initial online simulation to integrate his real-world and wind tunnel data with virtual insights.

Pete’s body and skateboard CAD from Martin Siegrist

 

Downhill Skateboarding Meets SimScale

Pete’s need for speed brought him and his CAD model to SimScale to virtually test the aerodynamics of his kit.

“What I wanted from using simulation was to learn what part of the design to focus on to make the biggest difference. You can spend a lot of time focusing on all the little things to make moderate changes, but with simulation, you can pinpoint the area that needs to be modified the most.” – Pete Connolly

Velocity plot of Pete and his board (Source: SimScale)

The Initial Simulation Results

The external aerodynamic analysis found areas of recirculation on Pete’s body from post-processing the results of both velocity and pressure plots at various planes in the transient simulation.

Velocity plot from waist level from Pete’s body position

What’s Next for Pete in Downhill Skating?

With the new findings from the simulation data, the next steps lead to another full body scan testing different hand and board modifications, followed by more real-world, wind tunnel and virtual testing—and hopefully some more broken records for downhill skateboarding to follow!

“For me I wish to push it even further and break the 100mph—quite an ambitious goal but one I feel is achievable… improving on my current record is something I already believe I can achieve.” – Pete Connolly

Super Smooth and carvy!

Although the Emperors have done me well am changing them for Orangatang Caguamas for that longer roll.

Nice wide cruiser so is chill to get on with for people used to longer boards like me.

This year’s Bristol Board Meeting was a blast!

Around 100 skaters turned up for a day out on boards of all shapes and sizes in perfect weather.

Update 22/11/2018:

We have hit a huge £2,430.50 raised for Clic Sargent this year!!! That’s way more than our target!!

Huge thanks for everyone who put the effort in, and to everyone who donated in support!

Also massive thanks to all the Raffle Sponsors for their prize donations!

See you next year!!!

Update 16/11/2018:

The winners of our competition are:

Neil Adams wins the Hackbrett Wasser deck, having raised a whopping £940.50!!!
Ben Dorney wins a set of Orangatang Kegels having raised over £240!!

Awesome effort from these two, well deserved winners!!

Update 26/10/2018:

A couple of raffle winners have very kindly agreed to re-donate their prizes in order to raise even more money for Clic Sargent!

So we’re running a competition for the most amount of money raised via the event.

  • 1st Prize: The person who raises the most will win a Hackbrett Wasser deck!
  • 2nd Prize: The person who raises the second largest amount will win a set of Purple Orangatang Kegels!

Please get your donations in to our Justgiving page. If someone is donating on your behalf, please ask them to put your name on their donation. If there are already some donations on the Justgiving page that you’d like to claim as yours, email us and we’ll add to your running total!

We’ll announce the winner on the 15th November, so please get your donations in before this date!

Update 25/10/2018:

The raffle raised £985 – so we have a total of £1,510 on our Justgiving Page right now! Congratulations to all the winners and massive thanks to everyone who entered!!

Update 24/10/2018:

Check out the edit from Plymouth Uni Skate Society, who were flying a drone over the pumptrack for a lot of the day! If you’re longboarding in Plymouth be sure to hit them up!

It’s 13 miles from Bath to Bristol along the cycle path. The bit just outside Bath was really a treat, skating through some beautiful countryside in glorious autumn sunshine!

“How long does it take to skate 13 miles?”

“It depends how many pubs you stop at along the way!”

Parts of the cycle path have benefitted from a resurface in recent years – which was a welcome rest from the incessant foot buzz!

A welcome rest at the halfway cafe!

Everyone got some laps in at the newly-surfaced Hillfields Pumptrack. We’re stoked to see more tarmac pumptracks appearing in the UK!

This year’s prize stash was bigger than ever! With brands like Lush, Cult, Sabre, Loaded, Orangatang, Arbor, Z-Flex, Hackbrett and Vandem Longboard Shop, there were a lot of stoked faces, and raffle tickets added significantly to the total raised for Clic Sargent.

The youngest skater to do the 13 mile push was just five years old! We thought she was worthy of this Arbor deck as a prize… she was super happy!!

Everyone crowded into Vandem Longboard Shop on the way back home…

Massive thanks to everyone who came and skated, you made the day what it was!!

Keep your eye on this post for more updates and look out for next year’s event!

Bristol Board Meeting Page

It’s that time again!!

On Saturday 20th October we’ll be skating en masse out from Green Park, Bath along the Bath to Bristol cycle path, all the way to Bristol Temple Meads on our longboards.

We’re doing this to raise money for Clic Sargent, the UK charity helping kids with cancer.

Since the first Bath to Bristol skate back in 2007, this event has raised a whopping £52,000 for charity.

If you added together all the miles of all the journeys done on this event, at every Bath to Bristol skate we’ve done, you’d get over 16,000 miles skated – that’s from here to Peru and back!

What’s going on?

We’re skating from Bath to Bristol, along the old railway line, which has been converted into a cycle path. It’s about 13 miles in total, which isn’t too bad on a longboard once you get going!

It’s been done in an hour and a half, but it takes most skaters 2-3 hours, especially if you stop off at one of the pubs on the cycle path. 😉

“Push off” is at 10.30AM in Green Park, Bath.

This year we will stop and hold the raffle around 3PM the newly-tarmaced Hillfields Pump Track, which is just after the Mangotsfield tunnel as you push your way into Bristol.

The pump track has been rebuilt this summer by Velosolutions, and is perfect for shorter longboards, slalom boards and skateboards with soft wheels on. We’d recommend a helmet if you want to push it – it can bite!

There is also a basketball court for dancing and freestyle stuff, so if you’re doing the Bath to Bristol on your dancer or longer board, you’ve got a good place to jam.

The raffle will start around 3pm (skater time). You can buy tickets from us on the day. This is your chance to win a ton of cool prizes from all the events sponsors, and help us raise more money for Clic Sargent!

The event is sponsored by:

Lush Longboards
Vandem Longboard Shop
Cult Wheels
Sabre Trucks
Loaded Boards
Orangatang Wheels
Hackbrett Longboards
Arbor Skateboards
Z-Flex Skateboards
Shiner Skateboard Distribution

…more sponsors coming soon!

How can I get there?

Please use thee maps, or your phone’s sat nav with the following postcodes:

10.30AM start @ Green Park: BA1 1JB Google Maps Link

3PM Raffle @ Hillfields Pump Track, Bristol BS16 4EH. Just pull off the path a couple of exits after the tunnel, it’s pretty easy to find. Google Maps Link

Vandem Longboard Shop is just off the cycle path at the Bristol end and will be open untiol late after the raffle: BS5 0BX Google Maps Link

All these postcodes are approximate so please use the maps!!!

How can I get involved?

You can help us raise money one of two ways:

1) Ask your friends and relatives to sponsor you to do the distance. Just send them to this page on Justgiving and ask them to donate! You can also download a sponsorship form to make collecting donations easier.

The person who raises the most for Clic Sargent will win a Lush Legend Complete! We’ll announce the winner on the 23rd November to give you time to get your money in.

Where can I find the latest info?

We will be updating this post with the latest news.

On social, you can out the Bristol Board Meeting on Facebook and the Bristol Board Meeting 2018 Event Page!

You can also check Instagram, Facebook and twitter on #skateanddonate.

Bristol Board Meeting Page

Love this board, I can cruise and carve with it with no problem at all. This being my first board it has really helped me get used to the feel and ride of carving and basics of using a longboard.  I am confident enough to jump on any other board and push it as far as I can. Think I may have to get another!

Back in the heady days of 2004 we were contacted by Bricin “Striker” Lyons – the organiser of the now famous Danger Bay race in Vancouver. We sent him some boards as prizes and in return received some pictures of someone winning one of them by shooting a huge beer bong made from duct tape and cans. Since then all of us here at Lush have wanted to get out to this legendary event – Fast forward a few years and Pete finally made it! Here’s his take…

Danger Bay, Pender Harbour, Canada. The longest running international race there is, home of Coast Longboarding and Team Green; the heart and soul of a whole scene that has given birth to some of the best DH skaters on the planet. They have lifted the standards of what we can do on our boards continually. Despite being in its 17th(!) year, this event is far from long in the tooth and neither is their scene, with some of the most lit young skaters training together, such as the likes of Team Irene – following in the thane lines of the World Champions that have come before them….

Despite knowing Scott “Scoot” Smith, Rylan “Raggie” English and Bricin “Striker” Lyons for over a decade and having a few skate trips in Canada under my belt, I had never managed to make a Danger Bay. With Striker moving to the east coast of Canada to start the Church of Skatan, a downhill hostel come museum, he put a call out that this may well be the last of the Danger Bays! I had to make this one. Life was busy and taking time for skating had mixed priorities, but missing this would be a big regret. About 10 days before the event, I booked flights for my wife Zoë and I to make it happen!

Landing in Vancouver and staying a night, I got the chance to call by Flatspot Longboard shop and catch the owner Les Robertson for a chat. A cool grass roots store that looks after its scene and supports events, complete with a wooden bowl and a dead helmet collection, it’s a great place for the DH Family. Les had put Striker and his wife and kids up out the back of the shop for a few days while they were in town. I took the opportunity to go wake up a sleeping Striker with a pillow fight and say hello to my old friend, it had been too many years! We chatted shit excitedly and suddenly it was real, I was going to Danger Bay!

I took a couple of days sightseeing and skated some of the BC classics like Britannia and Cypress while on the road. Taking the ferry over to Langdale, Sunshine Coast, was new ground for me, the scenery of where the Rocky Mountains roll into the ocean is stunning and it can’t help but lift your mood. Driving the Sunshine Coast Highway into Pender Harbour had me grinning from ear to ear. We rocked up in the afternoon for dinner at the Grasshopper Bar where we met up with Striker and a couple of local skaters. The Grasshopper had an amazing balcony that looked out over the bay and caught the evening sunset over the mountains, this was a great spot to find on day one!

Next morning I went on my usual quest when I arrive at any new track. Go walk the hill. I drove out to the Danger Bay track, parked up and went for a walk. Looking at the lumpy, gravel ridden, cracked up collection of chunder that was the track, I had to laugh; one of the worst condition tracks I have skated on, including the UKDH races!

I got a feel for it though and decided, on a track like that, the Skate Gods decide who advances and who’s in the hay. My best laid plans meant nothing here, just skate my best and see where that takes me!

Part of Danger Bay is getting the opportunity to skate the local spots. Often at events we are asked not to skate the local roads, DB is the opposite. Random skate sessions are popping up all over the place, (except for the Danger Bay track itself).

Dump Road is a Team Green oldie and I head there to see what it’s all about. Arriving I’m not disappointed, there is a crew of about six people skating already, running uplifts in an open back pickup truck. I grab my board and say hello, they are welcoming and in moments I am dropping runs on the hill in a pack of friendly faces. Chatting on the uplifts I learn that they are from different places and most haven’t met before, it’s not an organised skate, just these are the people at Dump Road in that moment. A few more skaters join us and I start enjoying the road. There is a good left sweeper that you can nail in your tuck; it gets me finding my body positions again and feeling good on my board. The local community here don’t view us as a nuisance and we get plenty of waves from passing traffic; there is even a sign “Watch for Longboards” on one of the pull outs onto the hill, this is a great vibe where as a DH skater you feel like you belong. I leave after a couple of hours and have made a few new friends already, I’m liking Danger Bay…..

Heading back to town for a coffee I bump into Billy “Bones” Meiners, the Landyatchz Team Manager. We haven’t seen each other since he was last on Euro tour in 2015, so we grab a coffee at Java Docks and have a good chin wag. Billy isn’t racing this year, he is just in town to deal with event media for Landyatchz, he did however have his board with him…. We decide to take the opportunity to go skate together and have some fun before the event gets rolling in earnest. Driving a few miles up the road we arrive at the Jake’s Rash track. Skating in shorts and t-shirts on the open road we keep it really chilled, holding our lane. It feels great to take some lines with a friend I haven’t skated with for years, the sun is beaming and it’s nothing but miles of smiles. We take about five runs and I start to get a feel for the road, at least I recognise what section to expect next on this fairly long track. Billy is an effortless skater who flows the track with ease, by the time we are done I’m feeling comfortable on my board and the road. It’s been a good days skating. We head back to the Grasshopper to catch the sunset on their balcony and have a beer with some good food, this place is rocking.

The campsite is filling out now and the night rolls in. There are thrash metal and punk bands playing in a clearing in the woods, lit by car headlights. Fires pits are spread throughout the large grounds and there is a lot of energy about. I find the Team Green campfire and sink some beers with Scoot and Sandman. I’m not planning on an early start in the morning so I enjoy the moment and finish a perfect Danger Bay day.

Saturday is May Day Parade, Pirate themed this year. Zoë has sorted some Pirate head scarfs and eye patches and we rock up ready for the day. After the previous night I feel like I’m rolling on the deck of a ship too. This is when ‘Rage in the Cage’ goes down, skate hockey. It’s savage. Scoot is trying to stay out of the cage and in one piece for racing, unfortunately for him Team Green is a man short. He ends up getting signed up for his team and finds himself in goal, a hazardous place to be with the likes of King Brian in the cage! Hockey plays out for a few hours, Team Green and Team Irene smash it to the final, eliminating the mighty Landyatchz team with their star player Tom ‘Meatball’ Edstrand. The injuries are many, black eyes, more road rash than from skating, Scoot took a Hockey stick to the hand and can barely close it, Sandman’s foot will be hurting for a while…. I’m glad I don’t play Hockey!

In the afternoon my mind starts to drift to skating, time to head back to Jake’s Rash. I spend a few hours skating the road again, I like it, it’s my kind of hill. Rip N Grip with several up hill crests in corners that make you compress. Being a heavy guy here is going to play to my favour and I decide I’m in with a shot here. My biggest problem is learning the hill, lines really matter on Jake’s and there are a few sections of road that are rough and gnarly. Lots of the fastest people have been riding Rash for years, I need some more practice. My legs are starting to burn and I have to race in the morning, time to call it day.

It’s Danger Bay Race Day! I meet up with Scoot and the rest of Team Green at 7am for coffee and breakfast at Java Docks and we roll out together. Scoot’s friend lives on the track and we have permission to park on their driveway, right on the entrance of Carnage Corner. Scoot walks the track with me and gives me a few much appreciated pointers, the Skate Gods are laughing at the carnage that is to come.

Practice runs have no uplift. Even though I’m sapping energy hiking, I keep marching up the hill, I will only need stamina reserves if I advance, and unless I work out a line through Carnage Corner, that wont be happening! To make my life worse Striker has called a new rule for Open Class. “No Hands Down & No Grab Rail” WTF! Trying to surf the chunder at the apex is hard! I make the corner three times before pushing my entry speed too much and smack the hay wall a good one. Thankfully the rider behind me doesn’t pile-driver me and I get the hell out the track without significant injury. At least that’s crashing out of the way.

Time to race then.

There is no qualification here, just random brackets. I look at my quadrant of brackets, could be worse, could be better, I will take it. Adam Persson is in the first heat, he arrives at Carnage Corner well ahead of the pack, chills but hits some stones, PUCK DOWN, DISQUALIFIED.

Adam has gone out in the first heat of the first round. This is going to be hard.

Round one I have a fast dude called Clayton (Clay) Arthurs in my heat, coming into carnage we break tuck and look around, we have dropped the other two so we start chilling. Clay opens his suit and chills a bit more than me, I nearly run him into the hay and NEARLY grab rail to avoid him, damn that was close! I decide I will make the pass before Carnage Corner next time!

Second round, same again, me and Clay out front, he comes up and unzips his suit, I nip past for a clean line in Carnage, much better. Third round, it’s a bit more stacked now, we all set up for Carnage in a pack, I’m out front and try and keep my speed up. I’m too hot and the chunder at the apex chucks me about, I grab rail, puck down and still scrub out and crash the hay! Damn. At least there is the Dirty Thirties Class to race still, this year it’s fairly stacked, plenty of veteran racers here with Hugh Johnston, Raggie, Scoot and Kyle Martin to name just a few….

Dirty Thirties kicks off and I’m racing Hugh first round. I pull out front and get a clean line for Carnage, I can grab rail and put my puck down now I am not in Open Class! What a difference, now I’m on familiar turf and can soak up the chunder at the apex of Carnage Corner. Just like skating in Wales, haha. People are getting me on the push, but then I’m getting a good draft into the uphill crest before Carnage and can pass and get a clean line for the corner. I start advancing through the brackets.

Next bracket I meet Scoot who is still in the Open Class bracket, as well as Thirties, he has won every one of his heats so far. I pass him on the uphill crest, but he re-passes me into Carnage, I exit the corner in his draft and overtake before the final right, damn! First man to nip past Scoot on his home track this year. This gets me into the Thirties final and I realise I’m in with a shot!

The Final is Raggie, Scoot, Kyle and myself. Two Team Green, I feel a Canadian tag team move coming on, not to mention Kyle Martin who hasn’t lost a heat yet…. Kyle and Scoot kick out front and I get a nice double draft, they battle a little leaving the inside open before the uphill crest, I take it and steamroller through, but Raggie has my draft and gets sucked through with me.

As I uncurl and set up for Carnage, Raggie passes up the inside taking up valuable road. We take carnage side by side, but Raggie has scrubbed a little, I can hear wheels close behind me though… Time to tuck! I pull away from Raggie and feel I have good exit speed from the corner, Kyle is RIGHT in my draft, but I’m rolling now. No-one gets to pull out on me and I am speeding to the line! Done!

A win at Danger Bay! Kyle got 2nd, Raggie 3rd and Scoot 4th. I had hoped to get a Coast medal on this trip, getting a gold in Thirties when I’m 39 is a real treat that will stay with me.

Time to head back up the track to watch the Open Class Finals! Max Capps has been strong here and arriving at Carnage out front for all his heats so far. We all wait to see what happens, Danger Dane the Pender local is in front, Max bringing him heat in a close second, Scoot tight in behind with Sawyer in 4th. Through Carnage it gets hectic, Max keeps the heat on Dane, but it’s too hot, PUCK DOWN, Max is DQ! He gets back in his tuck with Scoot in his draft…. Dane crosses the line in first, Scoot got the draft on Max and takes a solid second and Sawyer advances to third. No-one from Pender Harbour has won a Danger Bay before, this year it’s a clean sweep Pender Podium! Holy smoke is the crowd going nuts! Striker is screaming his head off and people have flooded the track! F*ck Yeah! This is a legendary result for what may well be the last Danger Bay in history!

The podiums are a blast! Lee Dansie has snagged his first Coast Medal in Masters’ Class, I get a Gold to take home and call my own. I’m standing with Mark Short chatting excitedly and it’s the slide comp results…. 3rd and 2nd get called up by Striker, but then he hands the mic over to Jody Wilcox mumbling “I don’t want any thing to do with this”. There is a bit of tension…

Jody has a spiel lined up about looking for something new that hasn’t been seen before, what’s this about? They call 1st place. It’s West, for doing a massive 30ft long footbreak! Madness, but that is what Danger Bay is about! The crowd get it and West is a DB veteran favourite, everybody goes nuts and laughs, I turn round but Mark has slipped away…the podium clears and Striker steps up again on the mic.

“I HAVE A VERY SPECIAL AWARD TO MAKE NOW!!! WHERE IS MARK SHORT!!! FOR A DECADE OF EXCELLENCE I AM AWARDING MARK FOR HIS OUTSTANDING SKATING!!!!”

Mark is already 40 meters away when his head whips round with a big grin!! The crowd goes nuts! Mark is on a podium of his own and is given a gold, silver and bronze medal; Strike heralds all that he has done and achieved in the years of pushing skateboarding, it’s an awesome moment and I’m stoked for Mark, someone who has inspired me over the years and still does. Mark has more than ten years on me, but still skates like a beast, I hope to still have his drive for skating when I’m in my 50s. My first ever race, Bude Classic 2001, I had to race Mark in a heat and I remember him from then, he is part of UKDH history and someone who has helped shaped what we do. It feels great to be part of this and UKDH has made its mark on this chapter of history….

 

Sunday is a free day, no skating is organised. It’s needed after party night. There is however a tradition. Scoot’s family open up their home and over 100 skaters descend for a BBQ. The main campsite has shutdown now and those staying on for Jake’s Rash are offered to set their tents up in the garden and make home where they may. The vibe is chilled and super nice. It’s a great time to actually get to talk to people and I get to catch the host, Scoot’s sister Heather, along with Carol Rubin, a person I have only talked to online until now. Striker has provided several flats of beer and the burgers are hand made. Again the vibe of Danger Bay shows itself to be a unique and welcoming event, a bunch of friends that have grown into a tribe. I hangout till dark and then slip away to try catch up on sleep. I have more skating to do in the morning.

Freeride day at Jakes Rash. I know the shape of the road, but my lines have been based on an open road without leathers. It’s a damn sight faster now and I have a lot to learn still!

Adam is stoked I’m there and lets me follow him to see his lines and gets me up to speed. I love this track, it’s so fun, you can skate hard here, but don’t come off, rocks await!

I take so many runs that I am losing count, I have done more than 12 and haven’t missed one yet, the track is becoming an old friend. Time for some food and cooling off, the sun is out and it’s in the mid twenties.

More runs, more smiles, more faces. I get a couple with Graham Buksa and we mix it nicely, checking each other out as we know we will race in Masters’ Class. Max Capps and I put speed suits on in the afternoon and take some seriously fast runs down the hill that leave me stoked for racing; Max was slaying the hill and his style definitely influenced how I skated that hill. After 20 something runs my legs were fading and sticking to the race lines got tough, time to call it a day. Raggie did an amazing job at turning the runs around, I don’t know if anyone managed to skate every run that day?

Race day and I am feeling good. I skate 4 practice runs and kept improving, I wish there was another freeride day! Power Lines, a left right combo that had been a little elusive, clicked into place for me that morning. In Sandman’s left I still wasn’t super clean, people could make a meter of road on me there.

Well time to race!

First two rounds went well with me crossing the line in 1st, with no-one bringing me heat.

The third round was hectic! Some great racing, three wide through Power Lines, and more passes made in the heat than I could count. I crossed the line in first, but only just!

Masters’ category started next round and it looked like I would have to choose between Open Class or Masters’ Class. A few voices chimed in for my corner, and Scoot leant Stripper Ben his truck to go and pick me up at the finish line and get me back up the top of the hill keeping it flowing, game on!

This got hectic for me, I had to race a six man heat in Masters to advance, then I had Masters’ six man final back to back with Open final, the day was hot and I had no cooling time between runs. I aced both rounds of the Masters, getting out front and holding it for a win. There was a battle behind me in the final, Graham was in second, but crashed on a bad bit of surface at the last right. Scoot and West had been so close that their boards touched a couple of times, but Raggie pipped West at the line, and in the end it was Scoot in 2nd and Raggie 3rd! With another Coast Medal under my belt, I headed for the Open Final.

The Open Final was Matt Noseworthey, Capps, Adam and myself. I had been in the mix with Adam and Max freeriding and had finished ahead of Matt last two races rounds, I felt I had a good shot at this.

Riders ready, set, GO! Brain fart. Don’t know what happened, I had had some good starts in my previous heats. This one was terrible, one of my all time worst!

Max and Adam were off! Luckily Matt seemed to be on the same page as me and we raced off together, with me rolling away from him before the first right kink.

For a moment I thought I might get in the draft, Max and Adam were battling and not on perfect lines, but then they were drafting each other too, not giving an inch. I settled in to try and skate my lines super clean and sat about 7 meters behind from the show in front of me, they were going hard!

The track passed in a blur with me keeping my head down as much as possible, the last cresting right and Max and Adam are just in front of me and I tuck hard for the finish line, head fully down. Blink goes the finish line, I look up, SHIT!!!! Max and Adam are tumbling down the road with their boards rolling in different directions taking up most of the track.

I swerve hard and manage to thread the needle without crashing into either of them. WTF happened? I shut down and head back up the track finding Max first, he is OK nothing injured but well ragged, Adam is further down the track, he too isn’t injured, but his helmet looks written off and he is shaken. They had come into the finish side by side, not yielding any road to each other, there had definitely been contact, with Adam a little ahead and Max making a pass at the line, they had gone down together hard. It got called Adam 1st, Max 2nd, neither were happy, but to protest would make them both DQ (Raggie’s Rules), so no official protest was made by either of them… It was a bit of bummer.

Ultimately I am glad neither of them were injured, when we crash like that, shit can happen. Those are the moments that can change the game for any of us, and as anyone knows who has been through significant injury, if you could rewind that moment in time, you would let it go….

That’s hard to level with racing, where winning is why we are there. Otherwise we would be at a freeride, not a race! The hard part is that we are racing our fellow DH family. There aren’t really that many of us, it’s a small world. We need all of us for there to be races to go to, because all our races are run by skaters for skaters. Events are all born from racing our buddies, some have grown into international events of prestige, and others remain core, but they are all the same. They are Downhill Family.

When we race we should try be mindful of that, without the people we are trying to beat, there is no race. So insuring that we don’t end up injured and out of action is the most important thing we can do to ensure there is still someone to race against. It’s an oxymoron. Race to win, race to race another day.

For me personally I hate crashing, especially if a fellow skater is injured, even if it’s not my fault and there was nothing I could do about it. The witnessing of crashes accumulates in my mind and ultimately I fear that they are what will erode my drive to race. What I’m trying to say is, look after each other out there, we are family.

The dust settles on Danger Bay and the chapter closes. Thanks to all those that showed me hospitality, Coast Longboard Crew you rock! I have only just left and I already want to come back…….

Bought brand new in 2018. I’m Addicted, This board is the single closest feeling to snowboarding, the turns are so tight and smooth it transforms any piece of flat ground into in awesome slope. It really is the ultimate carving machine!

Getting the right fit for your slide gloves is super important.

If you go to small, you’ll damage the gloves much easier putting them on, or you might not even be able to get them to fit in the first place.

Go too large however, and you’ll have a baggy fit – which leaves parts of the glove more likely to drag on the road surface, and decreases your control.

We get asked for the correct sizing all the all the time – so we’ve made this handy chart to help you get it right!

We have only tried this with our own gloves, we have no idea if this will work with other brands. Everyone’s hands are different, if you’re not sure, get in touch before ordering and we’ll do our best to make sure you get the right size!

Check out the Freeride and GT Race Gloves here!

Bought and collected from the worshop in Sheffield coming up 15 years ago. One of three, the other two well used but this one still in mint condition – somehow nice to see but also a pity it hasn’t had much use.

Had this board for a long time. I’m on my 4th re grip !

Lush Teamrider Jonny Braund is the British Downhill Skateboarding League’s 2017 Champion!

Jon has been killing it all year, and he’s one of the nicest dudes on the UKDH scene to boot. Congratulations buddy!!

Jon follows his teammate Pete Connolly (who was the champion first year) – so we have Lush boards on the podium top spot for two years running! Pete has been busy breaking world speed records this year…

The British Downhill Skateboarding League has been running two years now. It aims to grow downhill skateboarding in the UK via a friendly points-based race league at existing UK longboard events. Check out britishdownhillskateboarding.com for more!

Here’s a version of the final results for 2017. Congratulations to everyone who entered!!

Looking forward to seeing you at BDSL events in 2018!