12th December 2009
Bay 66 Skatepark, London
You can tell that an event has really become part of the landscape when it becomes the possession of the crowd. This year’s Crossfire Xmas Jam had more people skating than ever before. Skating in the walkways, and on the flat. 4 people in the mini ramp at all times, etiquette out the window. Been waiting too long for the year’s biggest winter event to stand on niceties and not get some action. That’s what we’re all here for, right? Action!
Above: Jak Tonge-Backside Lipslide-Photo: Dom Marley.
And so action it was. For the older crew clutching their teas and trying not to get run over. For the youngest dudes, brought along by Mum or Dad who then nipped down to the Mutate Britain exhibition down the road for a wider dose of alternative culture. This day is about and for you, which is why we always build new stuff and leave it for everybody to get acquainted with. This year was no exception; if you have been following the Crossfire Facebook you would have seen the car we have been toiling on for frozen days and nights to make skate able. The Mad Max overhaul courtesy of the Mutate Britain artists was a final flourish before the beast was unleashed on Britain’s top headbangers for an afternoon- long assault.
Below: Jess Young-Frontside Feeble Grind-Photo: Dom Marley.
It was amazing to see just how quickly the top boys can get to grips with something they’ve never skated before. Ben Grove’s frontside bluntslide on the pick up seat being an early standout before he wrecked himself, get well soon mate. The car was a something for everyone affair- thoroughbred streeters like Rob Mathieson, Snowy, and Joey Pressey taking quick hits across it or over the bonnet, Jess Young all the way from Wales with the hippy jump clean over it as his board sailed through both windows unseen- total mayhem. Dave Snaddon somehow pulled a flip backlip on the flat bar welded to the roof, a treacherously high bar that took some people down during the onslaught! Casper kickflipped the entire set up all afternoon, Mikey Patrick cleared the same space with huge ollies, Harry Lintell made his Crossfire debut a memorable one, Shaun Currie kickflipped the windscreen, and Neil Smith made lines from the back end of the park to switch lipslide the top rail. But it was Daryl Dominguez who proved yet again that his skating does the talking wherever he goes. Varial heelflip 5-0 was the trick of the day but he had them all over the car- signature tre flips, hardflips, floating ollies and he took the accolades accordingly.
Below: Greg Nowik-Melon Fakie-Photo:Dom Marley.
This was a skate with-, not a skate for-, though so even with all the organised chaos on the street course, there was still a strong squad of attendees just having their own sessions all over, which is how it should be. The manny pad beside the car saw as much action as the rail from crews who came to ride along and feed off the energy, and the mini ramp never saw a break all day. We also got the annual police/noise pollution complaint at 5pm which meant that we were headed in the right direction.
Below: Jak Tonge-Indy Fakie-Photo:Dom Marley. (check Andy Evans facials on the RHS!)
The midi ramp became the focus of the final hours, with heavy hitters from across the UK scene sparking it off. Ben Raemers, just back from his stint in America as Britain’s new breakthrough talent, showed that he’s getting even better, as, seemingly, is Greg Nowik, who on that ramp is a match for anyone in the world, beardy and the judo dude included. Vert prodigy Sam Beckett was all about it in a padless fashion and managed to make the ramp look as tiny as it probably feels to him, and Gav Coughlan came from Ireland to show his all- terrain credentials in a session that looked at times like an illegal dog fight. Sam Pulley and Jak Tonge sessioned hard as did Rogie and Chris Oliver who should have stuck at his 540′, he looked like he was having one of those days where he could have landed it.
>Below: Casper Brooker-Kickflip-Photo:Dom Marley.
As the seconds were counted down to the last man standing finale and we turfed out some T- shirts and boards from the UK teams who made the trip to West London to keep our culture’s flame alive, I looked around at the loving faces, the family atmosphere and the camaraderie of those people. Age, sex, postcode, nobody gives a fuck. Look, it is no secret that we’ve all just come through a rotten year in terms of being able to find the money to put on the events which act as a social glue that helps keep our scenes together and spirits high. Apart from Crossfire and the Backroom Productions crew, only a few other independent events went off in 2009 due to recession, and so it is important here to recognise those who go the extra mile to make it happen. We cannot do these events without the involvement of the people who keep it alive, which is you and all of the UK skate companies.
Below: Neil Smith-Switch Lipslide-Photo:Dom Marley.
Big thanks to Sidewalk magazine, for never failing to support and send bods along, to Nic Powley, and the Shiner squad, bright and early. Don Brider, Greg Nowik, Andy Evans and the south coast contingent, all present and correct. Lee Dainton and the big Kill City squad who came through in convoy from Wales, love your work; the Crayon, Slam, Unabomber, Landscape, Heroin, Lovenskate, Motive and Science brethren who repped hard, the Death squad without whom no event can truly be called such, Drawing Boards, The Harmony (Yes Fam Pietryga), Blueprint, Paul, Dave and Mike at Bay66, and also to the skaters who came along and took ownership of the gig for themselves. Now this is truly a jam and not a demo. It’s about all of us. That’s how we feel and, for that glorious Saturday, that’s how it seemed we all did.
Below: Jason Cloete-Tre to Flat and Felipe Dal Cin-Hardflip-Photos Sam May.
2010 will be the year of the rise of the small devoted skater-run enterprise. Teams, events, media and initiatives. We can trust only ourselves; but it is clearly enough. Big ups to all the skateboarders of Britain. It’s getting cold now players- stay up! Checkout the official edit from this year’s jam here thanks to Niall Kenny, Alan Christensen and Lee Dainton. Thanks to Dom Marley and Sam May for the photos and Alex Wreckage and Garfield at Mutate Britain for car infused art malarkey.
Season’s Beatings from your friends at Crossfire. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!