Saul Crumlish, Frontside Invert. Photo: Garry Jones.
Words: Dave Morgan.
Kicking off with street qualifiers on Friday, the UK Champs thoroughly got underway with a wide array of skaters taking to still-freshly built Graystone Action Sports Academy. I’ll start by saying just how nuts this park is – to have something like this in Manchester is an absolute blessing, mainly due to having transitions bigger than five foot! Plus, the fact that the main park section is bowled in means that Timmy fliptricks has no choice but to learn to axle stall in order to throw something down the stairs.
The variety of different styles of skaters really became apparent during the street qualifiers- you could see who was a hucker, and who could simply navigate the park with their eyes shut- hitting every transition big or small whilst avoiding the rest of the carnage in the process.
Aaron Jago, Bennett Grind. Photo: Lewis Royden.
Rikk Fields, being relatively local to the park was instantly going mach ten, hitting transfers no one else could even think to do. The rail wizards such as Joe Hinson and Aaron Jago made light work of the handrail down the stairs, with Hinson doing several 360 flip lipslides before most folk had eaten breakfast....
Major shout to Diggs English, who rides for Lovenskate. This kid is pretty much the same size as his board, and yet skated with fully grown man-steeze! Pint-sized back boneless to fakie was incredible to see. Also, a fully extended no comply tail slide on a bank nearly three times his size! This kid is nuts!
Unfortunately, he fell ill after he qualified, so could no longer compete. The same fate befell our beloved Jordan Thackeray, who absolutely destroyed the bowl, even if he was half asleep and suffering from some crazy virus, which fully wiped him out of the finals.
The bowl qualifiers followed swiftly after the street, with some serious rippers steaming around the brilliantly built creation by 414 skateparks. It was a full-on assault right out the door by all who entered, with some favouring the deep end for sending some huge airs, namely Saul Crumlish, who was performing textbook backside airs on request! Seeing this kid skate in person is truly incredible – 80's style in modern shoes. Saul’s a real ripper for sure.
Rikk took the prize for the fastest bastard in there, taking feeble grinds to fakie quicker than most simply slashing the coping. Alex Hallford was on form as always, gracefully cruising about the entire thing treating it like a three foot ramp rather than a nine foot one. Backside 360 nose grabs effortlessly linking into half-cabs over the hips, somehow managing to hold onto nearly every trick that happened below him. Matt Beer stayed true to his rumors of never falling off, qualifying first with an amazing array of airs, boneless variations and even threw some tech footwork in there too, with a back no-comply disaster that was so swift most didn’t even catch!
The Saturday closed with two best trick jams - Stairs/ rail & Bowl, both of which were absolute insanity.
There were far too many tricks to name that went down the stairs, but one that truly stuck out was Birdhouse’s Clive Dixon, who after nailing switch flip boardslides with ease, pulled out a pop shove-tail grab shove to lipslide! Afterwards, he told me he’d never actually tried that trick down a handrail before – mentalist. Also, Nick Remon, who after doing the most insane shit in the qualifiers took both a frontside double flip and a switch impossible down the stairs, all with a busted front bushing– utter pisstake!
Sky Brown, Frontside Air. Photo: Garry Jones.
The bowl best trick was again hectic, with George poole sending backside noseblunts several feet above the coping before hammering them back in. Ten year old Sky Brown got stuck in with the boys, landing a frontside 540 FIRST TRY in amongst the bedlam. Rio O’Byrne fully took the biscuit with a NBD transfer from the bowl, over the handrail into the foampit roll in. This gap in beyond comprehension, and how the hell he managed to do it is beyond me. Fair play son.
George Poole, Frontside Ollie. Photo: Lewis Royden.
After all the seriousness, Powley decided to have a ‘best foam pit trick’, which began with some hilarious Benihanas and projectile salmon dives, but as I’m sure everyone is now fully aware ( unless you’ve been hiding under a rock without access to social media) ended in tears. Logan Wilkinson was attempting to go as far out of the kicker as possible, aiming for a small gap in the netting twenty feet from the take off, when he savagely collided with an unsuspecting Brendan Watson who was tight-roping across the side of the foampit to the other side. It was without a doubt the gnarliest slam I've ever witnessed, and I'm fully stoked neither of the boys are too badly roughed up from it. A bit of internal bleeding is character building right Logan?
Sunday opened with the street semi-finals, with twenty heads getting through. Complete and utter wizardry took place throughout, making it incredibly tough for the judges to figure out who would pass through, but after some serious chin wags and tallies, the final ten were decided.
The serious business started at 2pm, when the BBC livestream began with the women’s bowl finals. It was quite surreal to see such television presence in a British skate event, but also rad to see their enthusiasm to cover the event. Major props to Lucy Adams and Ben Powell for nailing the live commentary!
With only five riders in the women's final, it went fast but that’s not to say it wasn’t anything less than incredible. Rebecca Davies threw a powerful 540 miller flip in her run to take third, with Amy Ram doing some technical coping dancing to take second. Sky Brown came out on top with some solid frontside airs, an invert and a few nose blunt rag-ins that most of the grown-ups were too scared to attempt.
Aimy Brady, Blunt. Photo: Garry Jones.
Women's Park winners. Photo: Lewis Royden.
The men's bowl finals were lunacy, with Sox doing his usual magic, making up tricks on the spot and somehow pulling them off with flamboyance to boot! Watching Sox skate is always a pleasure with his seemingly endless creativity and we all wanted his runs to never end. The top three consisted of; George Poole, who even attempted a McTwist at the end of his run, Alex Hallford, who’s nonchalant ripping stood evident above most, and Matt Beer. Matt’s ability to stay on the board is something else, and this secured him 1st place. Killer style, a huge bag of tricks and a solid smile on his face the whole time. Top boy!
Jed Cullen, Front Blunt. Photo: Garry Jones.
Alex Hallford, Seatbelt Air. Photo: Garry Jones.
Matt Beer, Madonna. Photo: Garry Jones.
Men's Park winners. Photo: Lewis Royden.
Photos: Garry Jones.
The Main event of the Sunday followed suit with Women’s & Men’s street finals consisting of a two run + four best trick attempt format. The women’s finals got underway with Aimy Brady taking third for her solid selection of tricks in both her runs and best trick attempts. Sheffield’s Freya Brooks took second, nailing pretty much everything she tried with ease – Sheffield's rugged terrain has clearly educated her on how to stay on her board!
Freya Brooks, Backside Boneless. Photo: Lewis Royden.
Helena Long placed first with a strong couple of runs and best tricks, namely her intro line – starting in the middle of the course, flipping up her board and proceeding to caveman boardslide the big rail! That's how you start a real comp run! It was great to see Helena skate and be such a positive force throughout the day, major props there!
Helena Long, Caveman Boardslide. Photo: Lewis Royden.
Women's Street winners. Photo: Lewis Royden.
The men’s finals took off after, with the ten riders attempting to nail a solid run without bailing – harder than you’d think, especially with the BBC watching! Jordan Sharkey managed to pull his usual stupidity out of the bag, with a solid backside noseblunt, followed by a back 270 lipslide to fakie! He took third, even if he was still slightly pissed from the night before. He even nailed his blunt flip on the biggest ramp in the park, fully Tom Penny-shifty ride out!
Jordan Sharkey, Blunt Kickflip. Photo: Lewis Royden.
Aaron Jago placed second, after nailing what was basically a perfect run, consisting of several mind-melters and all done with style. He attempted a 540 ollie for his final best trick, which I've seen him do on previous occasions.
Joe Hinson took the gold, with an absolutely perfect run and best tricks, namely an alley-oop frontside air followed swiftly by a precise kickflip krooked grind down the rail just on the buzzer. Imagine being able to do that trick in a run?! Must be nice.
Tom Hinson, Front Blunt. Photo: Lewis Royden.
Men's Street winners. Photo: Lewis Royden.
Major props to Nic Powley for organizing such a rad event for UK Skateboarding – it's so rad to see so many folks of all ages show up and support the scene. Mark Churchill smashed the compere gig, even if he did lose his voice before the finals! The Judges had a tough gig trying to decipher between such competent skateboarders, but I think Joe, Helena, Matt & Sky were most definitely right to take the gold in their respective fields.
Here’s to British skateboarding!
Eddie Belvedere, Nollie Flip. Photo:Lewis Royden.
Women's Park Final.
Men's Park Final.
Women's Street Final.
Men's Street Final.