Words: Dave Morgan + Jess Winter
Photos: Zak Watson
Zak's full gallery from the event can be viewed here.
Having not been to Nass for about 5 years, I’d forgotten just how much of an adolescent gurn-fest this place actually was. If it weren’t for the skateboarding events that occur over the space of the weekend in the picturesque cowshed setting of Bath & West show ground, I doubt many skateboarders would actually attend. If you can however, bypass the neon-fishnet wearing D&B jaw-swingers, and find your way to either of the skate events that take place, you will normally forget about what monstrosities are taking place just 100 yards outside.
The pro park layout hasn’t really changed too much since previous years, only with the exception of less ‘hot wheels’esque loops and such. For the majority of skaters who prefer more rail/manny tech hammers, the left side of the course was hit more than the jump box section, which definitely catered more to the bmxicans of the event.
Jordan Thackeray Inverts.
After arriving Thursday and easing into tent life & drinking G&T’s for breakfast, Friday arrived and with it came the container jam, held within the public park. Basically what it says on the tin - a shipping container with two whip skinny quarters running up each side, making some twisted wall ride concoction.
It didn’t take long for folk to start using it as a standard vert quarter, with the likes of Alex Hallford and Jordan Thackeray casually slashing the coping and lazily power sliding their way from quarter to quarter. JThaxx took a proper standup front-5 up and down too!
Rikk Fields Nosepicks.
Rikk Fields- ‘the Big’un from Wigan’ made light work of a perilous boardslide to fakie, whilst being definitely still pissed form the night before. Deano did what he does best and went bigger & further than anyone, wall riding out and over the second quarter and into a little kicker that’d been positioned about 15ft from the first quarter- CHEERS DEAN!
The Danish contingent definitely took the biscuit on this jam, treating the container like a bloody miniramp with both Bjorn and Ginger doing pretty much every trick available over the course of an hour. Ginger’s Bs boneless to fakie was something else entirely. Although.. these boys skate Christiana’s wonderland bowl on the regs, so these kind of sharp transitions are not unfamiliar. Oh yeah, Willy Lara back blunted it too...that was fucked.
Jess Winters' Women's Comp Experience
Walking into the Pro Park where i’ve spent many a hungover morning in previous years was a little different this time around, because I had to actually skate it. I was instantly overtaken by the pure scale of the Nass course and the fear of actually taking part. Not going to lie, I teared up a little with horror, then quickly went to the public park to have a stress free roll.
Hats off to Nass for the public park this year, it’s definitely come leaps & bounds since the pop up ramps in one of the warehouses many moons ago. The public park gave everyone the opportunity to skate at their own pleasure without any pressure, I felt it became a hub to meet up, as you would do at any local.
There was unfortunately no girls practice this year, solely open athlete practice, it was blindingly intimidating at first, especially for those who are entering their first competition of that scale. People & boards were flying everywhere. I couldn’t actually bring myself to drop in. A mental block completely took over. Being stood on top of the quarter I looked around and realised I was with all of my mates, people i’ve met throughout all my years at Nass. Then transition king Matt Beer encouraged me to take the first drop, shouting 1,2,3, like we we’re at a skate camp rather than a bloody competition.
After that point, it became clear, it’s just skateboarding with your mates, as it always is & should be. That’s when the whole experience became fun. All of the girls quickly figured out when we could get a good practice in, which was the 11pm-12am slots allocated to invitational athletes, which we realised were going to be the quietest. So technically we gatecrashed. Oh well.
It was unbelievable having that whole park for just us. All of us instantly clicked, some of the girls I have skated with & met before at different events & others I was meeting for the first time. However, when we we’re all skating, it was like we’d known each other for years, there was an amazing atmosphere of pure hype & inspiration. Lola Tambling smashed the first practice by landing a gap to rock & roll, on a ramp 4 times her size. Everyone went mad! Same with Roxana, heading over to tell me that she’d landed 3 board slides down the rail in a row proudly giving me a fist pump.
I was so stoked to see that kind of love & pureness for skateboarding from the younger ones. Promising a very bright future for skateboarding. During the competition, every single skater smashed it, everyone had such a different style suited to them personally that it made every run different & unique to watch. I was in the first heat & thankful so it would be out the way! My first run could have gone better, as I underestimated how short a time 45 seconds actually was. Strangely, I didn’t feel discouraged or down I didn’t land anything. I just remember thinking, it is what it is.
Next run was up & I don’t have many tricks in the bag yet, but I managed to land a kick flip to heel flip on a bank at the end of my run, I didn’t expect to land them at all, & I couldn’t believe the joy I felt from not only landing two feet on my board, but from every single person that was around me. I think alongside the pressure of being in a competition mixed with the volume of hype from everyone else does something to you to make you want to do well! Not for the competition or the glory, just to show I can do this if I get some guts & just commit and of course have fun in the process.
For me entering Nass was never about competing, it was to prove to myself what I’m currently capable of, it was about skating with everyone, our community & expressing our lifestyle, through the laughs, carnage, bails & makes. Watching all the skaters come together to show everyone what we do & why we do it - that it inspires further generations, as well as more events to include us all together. My hope is that no matter what stage you’re at within skateboarding, know that you have a family behind you & you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it.
A massive shout out to all the ladies from Nass 2019, 1st Place - Lola Tambling, 2nd Place - Roxana Howlett, 3rd Place - Helena Long, Beth Howells, Cath Shanks, Rianne Evans, Freya Brooks, Lily Grace, Sophie Luddington, Talulah Rix, Thais Gamarra, Jess Russell, Camelia Castelain, Daisy Howell, Ellie Waters, it was a blast to skate with you all.
Pro Park Final
John Howlett Backside Nosegrinds.
Heavy Hitters aligned the course Sunday morning, some still pissed from the night before- aside from the serious athletes among them. I still find it strange considering skateboarders as athletes, especially baring in mind that for the majority, with skateboarding comes a lifestyle most ‘athletes’ would shudder at. But hey ho, I must digress.
The usual UK heads were amongst the 9 finalists -Jago, Dechuna & co, and all smashed it. It was a shame to see Jordan Sharkey out of action due to an ankle injury, but was graciously relieved by Nick Remon, who everyone was hyped on seeing float 6ft mute airs over the massive jump box. Aaron Jago managed nailed some picture perfect rail tricks alongside a textbook back 3 down the stairs to keep up & strongly contend with the two international stunt machines - Kechaud Johnson AKA ‘The Terminator’ (as Eddie Belvedere coined him over the course of the weekend) and Angelo Caro - the Peruvian wonder kid who with some terrifically technical skating came out 1st.
Pete King’s midi ramp was the outdoor entertainment for the tranny skaters, with a similar set up to the board masters ramp, only with the addition of a new extension & a rather psychedelic space-themed paint job. The open jam took place over the Saturday afternoon, with the mighty Diggs English qualifying first after demonstrating some textbook manoeuvres in a very man-sized manner. This kid is pretty special!
The invitational mini comp got going on Saturday afternoon, with a solid lineup of the usual nutters. Trevor Johnson got involved as usual, even after spending the previous week building the whole pro park, and proceeded to unload his choice trick-bag of nonchalance across the ramp. I still don’t know what stance this man is, even after all these years of skating with him. It was also rad to see Lord Div getting stuck in, sending some tasty airs through the metaphorical rafters. Willy Lara is an utter pisstake, i'll start by saying that. He rocked up looking like an ‘East 17’ stand in, and proceeded to casually do every trick you’d ever want to do, without seemingly putting in any effort whatsoever.
Matt Beer Frontside Air.
The finals came after the Pro Park on Sunday, with Sam Pulley holding up the welsh flag and coming in 3rd with his classic barrage of one foot variations & a solid aubergine for good measure. Matt Beer continued to prove he doesn’t fall off, and managed to place 2nd by the end of the weekend’s mini jam. Jonas Bünger came out on top after somehow riding out some of the most retarded hangup airs and hitting pretty much every inch of coping and ramp available with an erratic, yet somehow controlled fashion . There must be something in the water in Denmark...
Bjorn Lillesoe, Melon.
Miniramp Best trick
Swiftly following the carnage of Sunday’s final, Pete & the guys brought out a new addition to the mini - a doorway of sorts, with protruding coping, sticking out a good few feet past the ramp itself. A T-bone of sorts. The fellas got straight in to it, with Rikk Fields smashing a few unusual smith variations. God knows how he was even still upright, as we’d been up until 10am. I think booze helped..
Rio O’byrne nailed a few solid hurricanes and Beer threw in a nose grab body varial to confuse the masses, leaving this obstacle that most wouldn’t even consider skating, in a pretty used state after an hour.
Rio Obyrne goes up to Smith.
I will add that it was a bloody pleasure to watch the mighty Leo Romero cruise around this park, casually performing his namesake ‘up a rail’ grinds and such. I didn’t expect him to actually make an appearance after seeing his name pop up several months ago - so big ups to Harry Wilson for organising all of the skate events & a shout out to Ollie from Vans too for the incredible ‘Bump to Bar’ Bar! Many a snapped board, many a pints pulled, many a sore bone, but definitely plenty of sore jaws. Cheers folks, maybe catch you in the cowshed next year.