Saturday 24th June
Let’s set the scene. The sun is blazing, the temperature’s about 75′ and skaters from all over the country are making their way down to London’s most influential skate spot ever for a day of solid carnage.
You see, the 2005 event was such a success that we decided to do it again, but there was obviously no guarantee that this one would be attended especially as we only had 3 weeks to initiate the whole thing, but I guess with the power of the internet, things have become a lot easier for skater run operations like Crossfire to spread the word if good things are about to happen. Saying that though, it was still a gamble and one that was worked on ferociously until the day itself, looking back though, I guess it could not have gone any better on the day…
A week before the event, Rich “Badger” Holland from the Side Effects of Urethane and Zac decided to concrete the cobbles.The same cobbles that have stood there at that spot since the 1970’s, the very same cobbles that if were deleted, could open up a nice manny pad for the SB locals and the hundreds of hungry skate travellers that pass through there annually.
With this in mind, covert operations ran through the Southbank from midnight until the final gloss was achieved by Sam Griffin. Thanks for the helping hand..
A rail was then knocked up to fit the length of the manny pad and the rest is history. Please note though, that this was all organised and agreed by the heads of the Queen Elizabeth Halls and done properly, just like anything else that should go on there in the future.
With this mutual respect in mind, this jam, comp or whatever you call it started with a huge crowd of people at 2.30pm with a minute’s silence, dedicated to Matt McMullen, a South London skater who unfortunately passed away this year. Matt had skated this spot since he was a kid and probably like myself, managed to learn his first kick turn at these banks before going out into the wilderness of the streets to discover more ways of tweaking his rig.
As the 60th second kicked in, the crowd may have well have bayed for blood as the Cheese Block Jam opened the ceremony to a rapturous applause. This block is not that easy to skate, and once the clock started ticking, people started to find out just how much of a bitch this thing is to ride.
But with some luck and some skill, Enjoi rider Richard Flude managed to crack open his virgin Crossfire account with a kick flip nose pick from the bank to the cheese stub whilst Element rider Lucien Clarke tried to get his steez down. Seth Curtis (pic) grabbed a wallie 5-0 and Chris Oliver pushed for a nose grind dropping deep into the banks on the other side. He managed one but the crowd judged today and deemed Flude the winner, even though Australian Quiksilver rider Josh Roullion’s backside tail stall to bigspin into the bank and frontside nosegrind revert into the bank missed the cash. One thing I would like to point out is that Louie Barletta was skating this block and hucked a wonderful wallie lip slide on it before the jam kicked off…you try that one next time you are there…wonderful line.
The manual pad and rail jam was next up on the agenda. As dirty garage rock from bands like 13th Floor Elevators, Count Five and The Electric Prunes rained out on the Wookie box, Chris Oliver was trying to ollie the entire manny pad, and in two attempts is was his.
No fucking about whatsoever, much like Chris’ unique style, he just cracked one over that whole thing. He was riding with a seriously bruised coxis bone, bigger than the bruise he got from an Australian spider earlier this year on his arse!
Blueprint’s Neil Smith gave it all and was the only person to 5-0 the rail. Death flow rider Boots was desperate to get a nosegrind across it, he must have hurt his ankle in the process as he was missing form the stair jam and he usually kills stairs. Look out for this kid as he is on the up.
The most impressive part of this jam was at this stage, where a small kid called Nick decided that it was an open jam and he was gonna get in there and get some! This kid could not have been more than 10 years old and made people stop so he could boneless off the 5ft acid drop in front of the crowds! This is what it’s all about – having fun – everyone in. It doesn’t matter if you are not an amazing skater, if you are sponsored or not,….these jams are to bring people together, to share a few beers, cokes, laughs and that, these are fun times man, fun times.
So, Chris Oliver alongside a kickflip manual cleaned up the dough, a cheeky £50 went in his sky rocket and the bank jam began. This is where Barletta decided to join in.
All sorts of tricks were going down on the banks, but the main attention focused on the block that sits on the top of them. Barletta shut this down with a blunt onto the block and frontside flip’d his way out! The whole place went off!
Louie’s name and address now joins the previous mentioned riders in the Crossfire invoice tray and by now the Thames could not be seen through hundreds of people jammed into the railings and the fuzz didn’t even grace us with their annual visit.
So, the 7-Set Jam was the grand finale and I have to say that it was 20 crossfire minutes stuffed full of lemmings tumbling every 10 seconds down that set and was funny as fuck! This year, most people avoided the ledge. Maybe it was Vaughan Baker’s stack from last year that put people off or maybe it’s just too darn gnarly for people to skate under pressure.
Anyway, it was annihilated by Danny Jack who attempted a back tail big spin on it for ages and broke 2 boards in the process, it just wasn’t Danny’s day. Everyone wanted to see that go down and he was so close.
Last year the Blueprint team taught this set a lesson; this year though was a different story. With Chewy Cannon and Danny Brady opting for sunrays by the Thames instead, it was left to Neil Smith to come up with the goods but could not land his nollie bigspin heelflip. If he had landed one of them, he would have won cash, but it was not to be his day after all but not from trying. Neil is one of the most gifted skaters the UK has right now.
So, the Blueprint riders left the door wide open and headlines were up for grabs for others. Dan Wileman knocked out a massive tre-flip and also a super-sweet inward heelflip to bolts, Josh Roullion provided a nollie backside flip, Barletta cheekily threw in a frontside no comply down it, and in-between a melee of nippers launching their steez down that set an unknown American rider carved out a bigspin, then a nollie backside bigspin, then a pop shuv, THEN a massive heel flip, and finished with a huge stylish tre-flip. The atmosphere was electric down there. It went OFF!
With Chas’n’Dave replacing Slayer’s Reign in Blood on the stereo for the final 5 minutes, temperatures were raised as they always do when the pressure is switched on and Aussie Richard Flude hucked a fakie kickflip and a fakie varial flip to come in third, Reese Westlake pulled himself into second place with a shuvit late flip which was sublime but no one could take out Plan B and Duffs rider Adam Howe who took the £200 cash for first prize with a switch 360 shove it.
Free shit was chucked out, kids scrambled for boards and t-shirts, stickers rained down, rubbish was cleared up and the Southbank transformed itself back to it’s usual self.
There were so many people we don’t even know the names of that were skating, we are really sorry if you did not get a name check. You may find pics of yourself below though.
Big thanks to the all UK skate companies that turned up and represented their scene, Genex peeps, Jon at Grain, Mei at Extreme, Steve Crawford, Alan Christensen, James Sherry, French, Badger, Jamie Harrison, (its only just started), Sam Griffin, Abjekt, and If you came down to this event, big thanks for being around and supporting UK Skateboarding.
We have received a lot of messages from skaters from all over the country that turned up and it’s amazing to know that people give a fuck. Thanks for your support, enjoy the video and see you at the next Crossfire Jam.
This event will be televised on the Extreme Sports Channel on August 3rd on their GENEX show. You can view scheduled shows at www.extreme.com
All pics mainly shot by Robin Hayes others shot by Nav, Stylee, Robin,Derek Bremner and Benjamin Norton. Thanks guys. There are more pics from this event at this link here from Boris Austin.