June 24th-27th 2005
So here it is, another skate trip, another visit to France for the gnarliest event on the European calendar, another pickled liver and another bruised body! Some people say “why do you do that for your holidays?” and the reply is simple. Because there is no comparison! Every year Crossfire recruits as many bodies as possible for this event. This year we met up with 24 of the UK’s finest explorers in the South of France for this mission and it was a total success. Every comes to this country to skate like a bastard and to rock and fucking roll for an entire weekend, not caring about sleep deprivation, hangovers or bruised heels. THIS IS GNAR and by the time you finish reading this feature, you should be ready to book your ticket for 2006 in advance. No shitting you, 2005 was off the hook and this is what went down….
Gerald Roche and I were first on the scene on the Tuesday morning. We checked in, chilled out, got some beer and headed down to the bowls. The local riders who we know well now after 4 years of visiting this amazing skate park had reached an entirely new level. You can talk about Julien Benoleil, Alex Geraud, Mehdi Salah and Alex Cocciniuntil you are blue in the teeth as these guys own this bowl, but if you look deeper to the youth uprising that study the comp every year and emulate their heroes, you can see a new class of skateboarder popping through the ranks. I’m talking about Mini Tony T. A kid we saw imitate Tony Trujillo’s skate style and fashion sense last year, who is now a clone of the Anti-Hero bowl wizard…it’s crazy to watch. If our local park at Meanwhile had big transitions that flow for miles, then we would have a similar batch of new skaters killing it, but we don’t, so the kids here will never be as good, it’s just a fact. Build great parks, breed great skaters. No myth I tell you, it’s straight up.
We sessioned that place until we sweat buckets, and of course it was International Go Skateboarding Day so we had to get in the mix for obvious reasons. That night, a DVS premiere of Skate More was shown on the beach in the sand. It was electric when Daewon Song bust out his part, the place was a wreck after that and Neil Kirby was stoked he had made the hour long journey from up the coast. The Red Lion brought us Stella and music and we got served all night long! Welcome to Marseille bitch!
Our friends Jaydog and Claire from SF turned up with Richie Hopson and Anna, plus the addition of Wingy and Emma, Seth and Ryan from Meanwhile, Lucy Adams, Lek and Matty, Rees and Matt, Andy Scott, Lois, Pete King, Crossfire film crew Alan Christensen and Jamie O’Brien, Howard Cooke, Ross McGouran, Roe, Mattias and the addition of the Irish Crew with Jay, Rich and Bruce The Ox (who skates the gnarliest i have seen yet!) all in the hood caused us to turn up the heat. The Thursday night was full of beer, hash and night skating, just what the doctor ordered! But was this gonna get out of hand? YEAH OF COURSE IT WAS! The Red Lion was rinsed once we left that joint!
So, the Friday was hungover and the event had only just started….Christ! It set the precedent for the entire weekend! The heat baked down on sore heads as the skaters managed to huck out some of the most amazing lines all day long. Our UK entrants included Andy Scott, Howard Cooke, Ross McGauran and Pete King but Pete and Ross were injured after the Brixlegg battle in Austria the weekend before so Scotty took the mantle as he always does here and got through with Howard for the quarter finals. Howard was put up against Tony Miorana, TNT, Emilio Arnanz, Mehdi Salah and Roman Hackl whilst Scotty faced last years winner Omar Hassan, Daniel Cardone, Chad Bartie, Julien Benoliel and Kyle Berard.
That night, we started to rage again. A night session brought out the likes of Brazilain World Industries rider Carlos De Andrade who hucked massive frontside ollies over the hip and crazy tech shit in the reservoir. It was a pleasure to watch. Rees managed large airs over the foot of the spine (pic opposite), whilst Seth ollied the hip at large and Matty crail slid his heart out. We had met up with Rhino from Thrasher during the day and shared a few beers together. This dude is one of the nicest fellas you will meet on your travels, so if you know he is on town, make sure your beer is cold and your arms are open. He took this pic of Matty whilst he taught me how to take photo’s. Dude, if you are reading this thanks for the tips…next time I will make sure I’m not wasted for 3 days and take on board what you told me! Haha! This guy is the Dingo’s bollocks! Yeah, did you click that link? It’s 100% true. The night went on. Tony’s pentagon shrine was made out of beer bottles accompanied by 2 upside down crosses whilst Slayer boomed out of the i-pod. We were so drunk it was a joke and managed to crawl back home to the hotel rooms after annihilating anyone we saw down at the Red Lion!
But it was all about to be moved into another level. A quick swim in the pool revitalized the bones whilst the head was still in total pieces. Kirby picked us up in the vehicle, we headed for the holy place, our deadly secret, the cure for all hangovers. Yes folks, step right up, you are about to learn a serious secret from the depths of the Crossfire vaults, for this is the time when we share the Wisdom of the Ocean. If you have the hangover of hell and have no idea how to quell it, then get your arse down to a seafood restaurant that serves up raw shellfish and indulge in King Prawns, live Oysters, Mussels, Clams, and Sea Urchins! Wash them down with a carafe of white or rose wine accompanied with mayo and French bread and you will be laughing! Put it this way, Gerald ran a mile when we mentioned where we were going! The thought of seafood made his stomach curdle so Jaydog took his place. 10 mins in and Jay is freaking out a bit after myself and Neil had parted with 2 Sea Urchins each. These slimy bastards look like they could rape your old lady! We forced Jay to join our gang and he dribble puked all over the table! I was sat opposite and luckily he held on to that one for dear life, so much so his eyes watered like rapids! Good lad!
But this is where it all goes wrong, because after this meal, we were seriously up for it. We ran to the supermarche and bought champagne, rose wine, beers, coolers and ice and raced to the hill! People are just waking up, others are watching the comp that had only just started, Alan and Jamie were fighting other photographers for the space and we were about to let rip a whole new day of chaos! The Hills Are Now Alive With The Sound Of Music! Tony T and the entire Anti-Hero crew are with us on the top of the hill, playing grindcore and strumming an electric guitar covered in Thrasher stickers. Champagne flutes were passed around, doobies were rolled and the rest is history! I managed to interview TNT in the middle of this chaos; it’s on this site here somewhere if you wanna find it. It has to be the most piss drunk interview ever performed! In fact a football was kicked at us by Matt Moffet’s girlfriend Janine at 100mph and it stuck Tony right on the forehead and then did the same for me, leaving us feeling like we were pissed up pin ball heads!
By the way, Matt Moffet’s skating was amazing over this weekend. He did not make the cut but that bloke can rip style holmes! The only bad news of the day was that Emilio Arnanz had broken his kneecap and he was skating so well in the comp, it was not deserved.
At about 6pm, the days event skating had finished and we head for a drunken swim in the Mediterranean ocean. As we walked down the hill, Gerald was rugby tackled at mach 10 by Kirby and he flipped onto his head and did a scorpion on his face! He was knocked for 6 so we revived him then watched him puke up in the sea whilst the entire beach looked at us as if we were pikeys or something! I had to rescue Gerald in the recovery position…kids, take note, this is not fun! Well, only for 5 mins, then we all laughed our pants down. The party session was on fire, it felt like 4am but it was 7pm and most people had only just started. A fire was born from Jake Phelps hands and boards were chucked on top, then crates, then a security guard went ape shit and it calmed down a bit. By this time a session was going off in the bowls. Benji Galloway was skating this place padless at 10pm and raging like a bull in there. Not many pro skaters would join the night sessions fearing for their safety and the possibility of losing the cash up for grabs but Benji is about mingling and getting amongst it and the crowd loved it hailing his every backsides disaster, invert and indy transfer in the deep. This is what skateboarding is all about, just letting go and having fun. Train loads of people cruised round the reservoir throwing massive ollies over the hips, carving low and high and slashing at the coping, this is the best place on earth for that and I dare anyone to prove me wrong.
We partied hard with the likes of Blair Alley, Pat Duffy, Kyle Berard, and others. The Red Lion had some crazy shit going on tonight. The bar staff were all moshing, beer was being sprayed everywhere and people were loose! Once we were all kicked out of there at 4am, we took to the car park opposite where we had back up beer crates in the boot. 3 skaters, one with a broken leg were asleep on the grass under jackets. All of a sudden the sprinklers came on and all hell broke loose! They were soaked and we could not help but laugh ourselves into the tarmac! Cruel really but we had to all run for cover. I just remember diving through the window headfirst into a part rolled doobie on someone’s lap! We all got soaked whilst David Martelleur found refuge on top of the phone box! We staggered in zig zags back home. Alan found Gerald asleep at a bus stop on the way home and rescued him! It was total carnage!
Sunday morning was unlike any other spent in London. We all surfaced at midday ready for the finals in ribbons! Not even the pool could save bones today. The seafood place was shut so there was nothing but OJ and vitamin C on offer before the big guns fought it out in 35′ heat in that bowl.
It was whittled down to Omar, Alex Giraud, Chris Senn (who was a wildcard) Benji Galloway, Alex Coccini, TNT and Julien Benoliel (pic opposite) and it was on fire! Everyone gave all and the place was electric for 30 minutes! The rock reigned from the speakers courtesy of Ed Lee and Christian Stevenson who played so many classics and eventually after watching the gnarliest skating ever, the results came in and it was all over for another year.
1. Omar Hassan (USA)
2. Alex Coccini (FRA – Marseille)
3. Tony Trujillo (USA)
4. Benji Galloway (USA)
5. Alex Giraud (FRA – Marseille)
6. Chris Senn (HAW)
7. Julien Benoliel (FRA – Marseille)
Omar won this comp just like last year with his trademark 540 in the deep bowl, heelflip transfers, vert wall madness and lipslides over the spine from the teardrop. You just cannot beat that stuff, it’s fucking monstrous! Coccini deserved his 2nd place as he was incredible with height, lines and tech skill at speed. TNT rode with KISS face paint all weekend and won 6000 euros with fastplants, bonelesses into the vert wall, sick transfers and his usual crazy style of skating.
Benji ripped with transfers off the wall into the 8ft, a barrage of 360 shit over the spine, switch transfer chaos and much more, but got ahead of last years runner up Alex Geraud whose transfer from the reservoir into the Heddings Gap is still one to cry for. Add his stylish kick flip backside lipslides over the hip to that and you have your man alive. Julien Benoliel was beaten to 6th place by Chris Senn whose style and different approach is still a pleasure to watch anywhere but the Marseille local is killing it and when he skates he does not flinch an inch and is tough as nails.
The party afterwards was debauched. Good old Dave Duncan made sure everyone knew it was a free beer party and led by his usual example. You should watch the Planes, Trains and Automobiles video that the World Cup Skate crew released this year and watch the entire tour this man delivers…first one to the bar, first one to work. How he does this year after year is beyond me but I tell you one thing, the auction for his liver when he goes will bring some of the best collectors in the alcohol business as this one will be gold dust!
Big thanks to World Cup Skate crew, Jasper and Tommy at Quiksilver and Cathy Roure for their amazing hospitality once again. Roll on 2006!
Download the video on this page to watch the skating courtesy of Jamie O’Brien and Alan Christensen.