Around 100 skaters turned up for a day out on boards of all shapes and sizes in perfect weather.
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!!!
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!!
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!
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!!
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!
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!
You can also check Instagram, Facebook and twitter on #skateanddonate.
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!
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!!
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!
Jorge Pernes hooked up with his buddy Porkito from Timelapse Media to film this edit at one of his favourite spots – Olivera du Hospital.
L’Ultime Descent, what an event! After skating this hill in 2016 I knew two things for sure – I was coming back and I could go faster.
The view from the speed trap…
The road sign on the right might give you an idea of the gradient…!
The line here is not as simple as you would think; there is a mellow chicane before the speed trap, with cracks and bumps that can unsettle you at speed. How you navigate the various cracks, is ultimately how you pass through the speed trap.
At 80+mph your board is sensitive and un-weighted, the wind will get under you and pull you out of your tuck, if you let it. You need to keep your tuck neutral enough to remain in full balance at all times, and be able to make corrections without changing your body position. The hill is not as easy to skate as it looks.
One of the large cracks in the road… avoid!!!
Day 1 passed in a blur of speed and I tried to dial in a good line for the speed trap, avoiding a crack that runs from the kerb across three quarters of the road. My second run hit 82 mph, an improvement on last year’s speeds already, and in subsequent runs my speed crept up progressively. I was sitting in 5th place at the end of the day, I knew that I had to improve my line and went to sleep dreaming of alternatives.
Day 2: First run, try a new line. I ride my ideal line, it takes me over lots of the cracks and bumps, instead of around them, let’s see what happens… No wobbles and it’s a better line, I get a straight setup for the speed trap. With my line sorted I start pushing it on the next two runs and hit 84mph consistently.
My confidence on the hill cements, I feel I can go for it now.
Lunch break, and the wind starts picking up. For the afternoon session I break out my new leathers, a custom made aero suit that I have been working on since February with Chris from 9Lives.
Pete’s super-aero leathers by 9 Lives, handmade in England especially for this attempt. Louis Laliberte Photo.
I haven’t skated this hill in them yet as the suit only has minimal protection. Armour and thick leather make you feel safer at these speeds and I have felt secure and familiar in my BTR suit thusfar. I haven’t wanted to change suits until I was confident in my line. The aero leather suit represents my commitment, speed above all else….
By now, a strong tail wind is blowing. Everyone is excited on the start line; we all know that the conditions are about as good as they are going to get for the event.
Suited and booted… SkateHouseMedia Photo
My first run feels insanely fast down the main section and I know it’s my personal top speed. Just before the speed trap some of the cracks unsettle me, my board wobbles a little and my arms come out of my tuck, lifting my chest up a bit. I catch it and tuck on, 140.62kph/87mph. I know from other people’s speeds this run that I am going to be fast if I get a clean run.
Next run and I don’t worry about pushing in hard or being quick to my tuck, just take my time to get settled into my body position.
Over the blind crest into the 18% grade part of the hill, remember to breathe and keep relaxed, blink, the speed trap is gone.
Try and uncurl, but the wind is SAVAGE!!!
I reach the apex in the sweeper and I have only just managed to lift my shoulders a margin and take my knee out, by now I am normally fully stood up.
Going this fast in an enclosed space brings my speed into focus, I am standing on my rail full lean, but start to run wide in the turn, the concrete wall is flashing by my left side. That moment burns bright in my mind.
I make the sweeper and know that run was the fastest I have ever been on a board!
Reaching the bottom of the hill and the riders there are shouting and jumping around as I pass. Getting off my board I need to lay on the road to get myself together…
The moment that Pete became the fastest person on a skateboard… ever! Photo by SkateHouseMedia.
146.73kph/91.17mph, how did that happen!?
We have one more run left in the day, I now have some fear about going through the sweeper at that speed again, but I know if I don’t take this run I would regret it forever, time to send it!
The run is tight, but I get some crosswind that blows me about a meter sideways before speed trap, I am better prepared for the sweeper this run and stay in full control.
Ever tried airbraking from 90mph? Relax… Louis Laliberte Photo.
146.14kph/90.80mph for my last run of the day. I think I have a few more grey hairs after that day’s skating. My speed is standing as the fastest of the day for skateboarding and is a new World Record; I still can’t believe the speed myself… There is one more day of the event left though; it’s not in the bag yet.
Day 3: Feeling comfortable on the hill after yesterday’s skating, I drop in for the first run of the day with a smile on my face.
I am curious about my aero leathers still and want to have more data, 133.16kph run, this turns out to be the fastest speed set that day. The wind today is slightly across, we are not going to see the speeds obtained yesterday.
The riders know this and everyone starts having fun, skating in packs and getting footage of the hill. On my second run I kick-off with my friend Kami San for some filming and so don’t clock a speed that run. I spend the afternoon catching up with some of my luge friends and filming a few clips, just enjoying the last few hours of the event without the pressures of trying for top speeds.
Some of the fastest skaters in the world… here to have fun!
The session finishes and the winners from each category go for a photo shoot on the hill before the main prize presentation with all the riders. My friend & training buddy, Damien Andrey, won Luge with a speed of 101.83 mph! He has eaten poutine at least once a day since arriving in Canada and has become known as Team Poutine, as such he takes a portion of poutine with him for his photo shoot.
At the end of L’Ultime Descente there are four skateboarders in the 90mph club. Tim Del, Anders Inde and Max Capps join myself in being the first people to hit 90mph on skateboards on the 15th September 2017. I’m sure more will follow shortly and I’m sure there will be a 100mph club soon too…. I just hope I get the opportunity to join it!
The certificate is a nice addition to Pete’s Speed suit and aerohelmet…
Records were smashed in every category! Louis Laliberte Photo.
I had amazing help from quite a few people in my preparation for this record attempt. Lush Longboards have supported me through achievements and injuries for over a decade now, my Speedbyrd deck is perfect for me, I wouldn’t want to skate anything else!
I have been with Sabre Truckssince their creation, being the first fully forged precision truck for downhill, their innovation and quality is up there with the best… I was riding the CF38 truck with 170mm hangers. I have been on this same set since the beginning of the 2016 season, doing the whole Euro tour/BDSL season and countless freerides and mountain bombs and now TopSpeed on this set, I TRUST these trucks with my life.
Stephan Risch, maker of the fastest skate aerohelmets in the world.
Chris from 9 Lives Leathers has become a friend over the years of repairing my battered leather suits. When I approached him to try make some aero leathers back in February, he was game for a collaboration. Between us we designed and made the pattern for an entirely new suit, taking months of prototyping and fitting to achieve. The aero leathers played a large part in the record speed, thank you Chris!
Fellow skate nerds, Vanny & Azzy supplied my bearings, these were not skateboard brand bearings but very special bits of kit. Damien helped me a lot with training before the event and having the UKDH scene to hook-up with and skate has been vital. My wife Zoe believes in me more than I do! Thank you everyone who has helped me!
Pete with UK training buddy and supplier of bearings Aaron Skippings… with a crazy road sign.
To Charles, Jonathan and all the L’Ultime Descente crew, thanks for putting on the most epic speed session of all time!
The full results for Downhill Skateboard… check the impact of the tailwind on runs 9, 10 and 11!
UPDATE! Pete’s official certificate from Guiness World Records came through, so Pete is now officially the fastest skateboarder on the planet!! Congrats bro!!
How fast can you go on a skateboard? This is a question that skaters have been trying to answer since someone ripped the handle off a box scooter and pointed it down a hill.
Regular followers of this blog will be familiar with Pete Connolly’s need for speed. But as anyone who regularly gets close to their own limits will know, to really push for top speed requires a scientific approach as well as just pointing your board down the hill and sending it.
Warming up for this year’s L’Ultime Descente, Pete recently took a trip to Switzerland to try and find out exactly what it takes to make fast, even faster.
“Speed is a black art.
What works for one person, doesn’t always work for the next.
Conversations about aero helmets, wheels and speed suits can be heard at any competitive downhill event, but when it comes to the L’Ultime Descente Top Speed Challenge, you better know what works best for you. It is a race against yourself, where you strive for your own personal achievement measured in mph, and every little bit of advantage counts. Aero, some people dismiss it, I love it…
Make no bones, tuck is king in improving aero, and after last year’s event where I tried a new tuck, that frankly was not my best, I have spent this season re-building my body position from scratch. At 39, re-training to change habits ingrained from miles and years of skating is challenging. I feel well prepared now, and confident that I will be able to skate the fastest of my life, in a body position that, only a few months ago, was unobtainable. I will have to see what the results are when I get there…
Tuck aside, there are significant gains to make with your equipment, but what actually works? If you want to put theory aside and find some facts, you need to have a different approach to your skating.
Forget about freeriding with your buddies and doing slides, it’s time for some serious robot skating, and where better to hone your precision than Switzerland.
This race bag has done more miles than yours.
My friend Damien Andrey, a Swiss DH legend who has been bombing hills since the early HotHeels events, picked me up at Geneva airport for a weekend of training. We headed to his home area of Neuchatel where he was my guide. Switzerland is where I normally head for the the big mountain passes that roll for miles, but on this occasion I had something different in mind.
The spot consisted of a section of road 1.5miles long, mainly straight and a steady gradient. The beauty of this hill is that you hit your terminal velocity and then maintain your top speed for a sustained distance, any alterations you make in equipment show in that top speed and can be recorded with a decent level of accuracy.
Rain greeted me when my alarm went off at 6 am and we made the call to go back to bed, wet roads were not going to help me skate consistently. Getting up a little later Damien and I started to talk about the upcoming event that we are both attending, having both been last year there was much to talk about. We made use of our time by stripping and rebuilding Damien’s luge with new angles and ride heights for his trucks, and a new bushing setup with a few custom tweaks. While not skating, it was great to spend time with someone in the same mindset who shares your goals. I think it brought the event into focus for Damien too, and all of a sudden he wanted to test his new setup and had a fresh energy about him. The rain had stopped a couple of hours ago and we decided to head out and see how dry the roads were….
Arriving at the testing hill it was still patchy wet on the tree lined Swiss ribbon of tarmac. After losing several precious hours of ride time already, I was of the mind to see what could be done regardless of the conditions. My plan was to skate from a marker to a marker. I have my feet positions marked on my board to ensure no variations, and have created a mental process to fold down into my tuck to make sure I am mindful of all the key elements. Time to get some baseline data on my gps.
I stepped on the board with only one push and tightened down into my tuck. The road is not perfectly straight and has flow, requiring a decent amount of lean from your tuck in a couple of points, but has about 700 metres of dead straight at the end.
This is what it’s about…
I stay down until my chosen road marker pops up, and uncurl.
Top speed is not my focus here, but instead accurately repeating the same section of road as precisely as possible. I skate each variation of equipment twice on the trot (providing I feel the run was not flawed) and record them with notes on a sheet I have prepared.
50.50mph is my average baseline, standard tuck and the wheels I always skate, a nice start, fast enough that I know my aero is coming into play, not so fast that I am having to focus on the road and surrounding elements too much, letting me get on with my job.
I start with switching to the wheels I used for my fastest runs at last year’s record attempt and reconfirm what I already knew, if you want to obtain high speeds, contact patch matters; 52mph obtained from the wheel change.
Having had 5 runs and getting some good starting data for a patchy road, we call it a day and head home. Damien takes me out to an Alpage, a small Swiss restaurant way up in the hills, basically the summer home of the people who keep the cows; they serve food in the day to supplement their income, while tending cows.
Despite having spent lots of time in Switzerland before, this is a side I had never seen, and nor would I without Damien’s local knowledge. You would never know that the miles of rough, single track road, would lead to a busy and thriving place! I eat traditional Rosti with fresh cheese, made from the cow’s milk, and drink some great beer, while we talk about aero and the weather for the next few days, it’s looking sunny for tomorrow.
Legends of Downhill… Claude Gesta, Pete Connolly and Damian Andrey.
Next morning and we are up at dawn for a huge breakfast of Erik Lumberg’s recipe of banana omelet, with an addition of nuts and maple syrup on top, proper riding food! We get to the hill and the clouds are still drifting in and out, making the sunrise cause a glow in the mountain pine trees around us, it makes me grin and remember why I love getting up in the morning for a skate!
Visibility is good enough, so we crack on. We started with Damien jumping on his luge to give a test. Having not been able to ride for a couple of months due to injury, he has a huge grin on his face and the excitement of a big kid! As he pushes off the fog is rolling in and out, and cows line the road, it’s a memorable moment that sets a good tone for our day.
After a couple of runs we move down the hill to the section I am using for testing.
To ensure that my baseline data is relevant, I repeat the same wheels and set up as my last runs yesterday. Next I switch to some prototype wheels that have been lathed down for a smaller contact patch and there is improvement over the next 3 runs. They are a smidge faster, but not enough to smash any records; only 0.5 to 0.7 mph faster. As the sun burns off the clouds, I quickly switch back to the previous wheels to ensure conditions haven’t changed, and confirm my data is accurate.
Time to try the next wheels then… Bang, 54mph, now that’s a marked improvement from wheels alone, 4mph from my starting point and 2mph from last year’s wheel choice, stoked! The results are repeatable as I switch between wheels over the coming runs, I now know what wheels I will ride in Canada.
Speed suits – yes they work. I had seen the dramatic effects on top speed at the 2016 L’ulitime Decent and knew that, if I wanted to improve, a speed suit was essential. I had obtained a couple of different suits, one a suit that I knew riders used last year, to ensure that it was worth a damn.
I gimp up and drop in. My speedsuit jinx continued as I hit a bottle that someone threw out of their car window while driving up the hill, smack! Very glad it was plastic and not glass…
100m later a coach is driving up the hill and its wake buffets me around in my tuck, 54.64Mph, only a .20mph increase. Re-run on that one then.
Clean run next, 56.83mph, that’s coming on a 3mph increase. Motivated, I take another run and try to stay mindful of everything in my tuck….58.59mph! That’s over 8mph faster than my baseline standard wheels and leathers, surpassing my most optimistic hopes.
I achieved 22 runs over the day, trying different combinations and re-confirmed my speeds, hitting another two 58mph and two high 57mph runs in the speed suit, and only just making 54mph twice without it. Significant.
I plan on running exactly the same setup as 2016 on my first run down L’Ultime Descente this year to get a measure on the difference my new tuck makes. I hope to go faster than my best run from last year on that first run and then find where my limit is from there… One thing for sure, in just a couple of weeks I am going to skate faster than I have ever been on a skateboard in my life. That is rare event, that I know will be staying with me!”
Pete Connolly is on a mission right now… with the TopSpeed Event in Quebec coming up, he’s been warming up to find out just how fast he can really go on his skateboard.
First stop was a lonely pass somewhere in the North of England… clocking some of the highest speeds ever recorded in the UK on a longboard, ever. here’s Pete’s take on it…
“Lush Longboards have used that phrase for a few things now, including the graphic on my Speedbyrd deck. It is certainly a phrase that is close to my heart…
With the TopSpeed Challenge in Canada only two weeks away, Skating Faster is on my mind almost continuously right now.
Wanting to get into the right mindset and test some new aero equipment, I decided to head back to the fastest road that I have skated in the UK, for a training session. That involved a bank holiday skate trip in the van as it is over a 500 mile round trip.
This is not the sort of hill you can skate by yourself, so a crew was needed. Aaron Skippings & Kami San are the other UK skaters who are attending the TopSpeed Challenge, seeking to skate the fastest they have been, so they were the perfect crew for the job! We all packed our best aero gear and gps gadgets and met up Saturday morning to go be geeks in a van, many miles away from the rest of the population, where phone signal ends and sheep roam free…..
Bank holidays are always busy and we got caught up on the M1, leaving us standing around on the motorway for a while on our way up to County Durham. Time flew anyway as we haven’t caught up for a while and so conversation flowed for the 5 hours it takes us to travel north.
Arriving, neither Kami or Aaron had seen the hill in the flesh yet, and it is a good sight. When you stand at the top and see a mile of ribbon rolling down the hill it is epic (for England). That is one of the things that makes this hill special, from the top you can spot the road for miles and know when one of the occasional cars is approaching. With just a little bit of patience you can skate without cars at all….
What a road!!!!!
This is good as the tarmac has LOTS of UK character and getting a line down through the chunder section is the key to hitting speeds here. We start by walking the hill and talking about all the bits of road we hope to skate, and the bits we hope never to skate, instilling a sense of respect for the 17% gradient we plan on bombing come dawn.
This is what you call “UK Character…!”
Fast forward the bit when 3 lads cook, eat, sleep in a van and then drink tea early in the morning thinking is skating worth it? I might just go back to sleep..?
First run, I just want to practice that line that threads through the pothole and lets you access the next half a mile of straight fast road. That, and remember what it feels like to have an extra 3kg weight bolted to your board to make the setup weigh the 7kg max weight for the record attempt in two weeks.
I ease into skating the hill over the next two runs and creep up to 59mph. I find that feeling and decide to skate tighter next run, 64mph that’s close to the my top speed from last year, damn this is going to be a fast day….
Three runs and it is my turn to drive while Kami and Aaron get some skating. Both of them get their tucks on and experience the undulating ripples and vibrations from skating the rough surface for themselves…. On his second run Azzy has a sheep run across right in front of him, a near miss that left him feeling he had just spent one of his 9 lives.
We spend the next 15 minutes chasing sheep across rolling bog land to ensure none are even in the proximity of the road, and from then on leave one rider mid hill, just after the blind crest, to be on sheep watch at all times.
My next couple of runs and I hit my old UK top speed of 65Mph, I want to try the speed suit out next. I haven’t skated in the speed suit yet and that thought is sitting in my mind as I drop in, I don’t tighten up fully and uncurl early at the end of the run, 63mph, hmmmm, must try harder.
We drive up again and it becomes apparent that the front discs have died on the van, they are now grinding metal on metal, terminal. In that moment clouds blow in and we white out, unable to spot the bottom of the hill anymore. This might amount to the end of the session.
Nightmare… toasted front brakes on the van nearly kills the session.
We decide to take lunch and take the shortest route back to civilisation possible to find some phone signal. It’s Sunday on the bank holiday weekend, getting parts while being unable to drive is not going to be easy. We have conversations about getting towed home and everyone gets out their leathers.
We had travelled too far to just pack up and go home, so got on a mission instead. After two hours of calling round and searching the web I am speaking to John from Rochfords. He has found some pads and is going to do the 2 hour round trip to pick them up and get to us in order to fit them road side! We dropped him a pin on maps for the bottom of the hill and told him to meet us there, and all of a sudden it was game on!
Parked back at the bottom of the hill Kami and I start the mile long hike to the top for another run, my 7kg board is not my friend anymore and there is no way I’m hiking in the speed suit! The tail wind is now in our faces and the scenery is apparent at the slow walking place, when we reach the top I have a grin on my face and a new appreciation for the spot, but Kami and I need to rest a bit before skating!
It’s a long way to the top…
After nearly packing up and going home, followed by hiking the hill, I don’t know how many more runs I’m getting here. Time to send it.
With a big grin and all the morning’s reservations put aside, I drop in from a bit higher than I had been, and tuck tight, aiming for that one line through the rough section. I feel like I flow through the gaps in between the potholes at around 50mph and tighten down again, holding my tuck all the way down, through the permanent puddle that oozes out onto the road at the fastest point. Aim for the puddle, to the left is a filled hole, to the right is an open hole. 66mph. That was worth the hike!
Kami is not far behind me and has a grin on his face when he stops. Moments later a pickup truck pulls in driven by a local who watched our last run, he is as stoked as us and gives us a lift straight back up the hill, no hike! Another 66mph run. At the bottom John the mechanic pulls in with the brake pads for the van, good timing!
Another break from riding and John has the van fixed, what a diamond! While the van was being fixed Kami went to change his wheels too. Undoing his wheel nut resulted in his axel falling out! With the wheel still on the axle we had to cut the wheel off the bearings to sort it out! We clear the hill of sheep again and roll on.
Feeling good I keep pushing it every run, 66.96mph makes me want to push more. I drop from higher up and hold my tuck that little bit longer, oh hang on, that was fast, no time to set up to footbreak, absolutely on the limiter trying to stop on the steep gradient from high speed before the next cattle grid! I get out of shape, but make it with a very hot smoking foot, thank you TikiBrake…
67.81mph Skating Faster now….
What would the speed suit do?
Still feeling conscious when I have the speed suit on, and concerned that I will run out of shutdown if it’s too fast, I don’t push it as hard – 67.44mph.
It’s getting late, is there any more in the can? I decide to push it again. Waiting for a clear road at the top I drop from another 10 meters higher, get a good line, and fly over the blind crest to see a motorbike’s headlight coming at me. He must have flown up the hill to be there now… His unexpected appearance makes me uncurl and air break.. there goes that run.
I’m spent though, shutting down from those speeds has sapped my legs and although there is one more run in me, it’s just for fun. I carve in from the very top, mind you it was still over 60mph. What a hill. I am coming back, I know there is more speed to be had here. I think I might just stay up here next time until I hit 70mph… 70 in the UK has been a dream for a long time!
Thanks to Aaron and Kami for getting on a mission and being up for staying to skate more when everything was against us. Looking forward to skating with you both at world record attempt in September. Skate Faster.”
With only two races to go beofre the end of the year, everyone in the UKDH scene is watching to see if he can follow up Pete Connolly’s win from last year, which would put Lush riders on the #1 spot two years running! We’re stoked… Jonny is a super nice dude and all-round UK longboarding legend.
Here’s his write up from the last race of the year…
Yesterday’s BDSL race at Bleek was Epic!
Top rides from across the country come to battle it out head to head on the fastest track the league has to offer. Speeds of over (real life) 50mph were achieved, making for tight and intense heats.
Being set in the deepest darkest parts of Wales the day started off wet, as expected. Never the less after a quick hellos chat with the chaps, we all got suited up and jumped in the uplift van ready for the first run.
First run was a wee bit sketchy, testing the waters for speed and grip. It was soon apparent there was much speed with little grip. Fun but sketchy. Next run was much the same, deciding to tweak my trucks ever so slightly with a small tighten. This improved my grip tremendously, raising confidence and speeds.
Uplift van alongside smooth organisation from the BDSL boys delivered continuous runs before stopping for a quick lunch.
The sun was now shining drying the road well. Me and Skippy soon realised that the grip was back after being highsided off on the big lefty. From there on out it was grip mode!
More practice runs after lunch were ace faster and faster I got.
First heat James Kickflip Pethybridge. New to DH and keen to go fast. Never expect a race in the bag with anyone. Anything can happen. I had this race in the bag, with a good push out in front stayed out front. Broke the 50mph in this run.
Next heat was Quarter Finals against Cam Deegan.
Onto the Semis. Josh Monk, an old skool DH buddy of mine was my opponent. Solid rider I knew I had to push it. Out in front half way down on the fastest section I hit wind/ rumble/ imshit kicking my board into a crazy wob. Losing control I fall straight in the path of my oncoming buddy crashing him out, tumbling him down the side of a ditch. After getting to my feet I imminently ran to my board, pushing off as fast I as could screaming see you later loser at Josh. No that didn’t happen. I stayed with my bro as he had taken it hard and it was my fault. after a few moments Josh was on his feet and still pretty battered. We talked about what the outcome of the race should be as I didn’t feel right just skating off for the win. Josh being the bigger man bowed out and placed me in the Final.
Final I was up against power house Kurtis Dawe. This guy is fast, top rider from Canada I had my work cut out. A good push start gave me the lead, for a while at least. I couldn’t hold him off and he sailed on by. I stayed with him but his flawless run didn’t leave me any chances so came in second place over all. Chuffed to bits with this result as it further increasing my lead in the league.
I am number 1!!
All in all a great day out. big smiles. big speeds big loves.
Thanks go out to the organisers, marshalls and sponsors.