Photos courtesy of the lovely Droidy
Somehow I found myself in a position of minor responsibility, something I generally spend my life trying to avoid, when I was asked if I could pull together a skate comp over at Sk8 Goa in India.
I guess it wasn’t that much of a big deal but nonetheless I’d never even been to India and there’s never been a skateboard comp there before. It seemed pretty daunting at first but I soon realised it was pretty much same shit different continent!
Thankfully Vans and Nueu had blind faith in my ability to pull it together so massive respect to them and thanks to all the knobheads that took the time to come out. I think everyone who was there would agree it was a pretty unique experience. Enough back slapping…
After a fairly painless 8 hour flight it was a beautiful feeling to walk out of the plane into bright sunshine and searing heat in the middle of our winter! The ride from the airport was a little surreal, like we were watching it on a film, it certainly takes a day or two to find yourself at ease with the place but when you do it’s a wonderful feeling.
I can honestly say that after a few days I felt like I’d been there weeks, it’s just so easy to drop into the lifestyle and relaxed pace. I wasn’t sure what to expect of the park as it’s always hard to tell from pics on the internet but it is amazing (although fairly compact) and it’s fair to say a lot of stuff got done that week that will never get done again.
Our average day was: get up, chill by hotel pool, moped convoy to beach, breakfast, chill, moped convoy to skatepark, skate, moped convoy to hotel, shower, moped convoy to restaurant, food, moped convoy to bar, booze, drunken moped convoy to hotel.
It doesn’t get much better than hanging out in the sun with some of your best mates, add to the fact that beers in a bar cost about 30p or something and you’re living the dream.
The day of the comp was pure comedy, possibly the most relaxed (dis)organisation ever “Powley, when’s the comp?” “Later, whenever everyone shows up, whatever, let’s go to the beach”. Obviously in the end everyone showed up , the sound system materialised and things got underway.
The Saturday evening was a jam affair and started off pretty mellow (many were still dying from jet lag having only arrived that morning or the day before) but soon got fired up especially after Zarosh aired into the pool of a bench on a ledge.
I’d heard rumours that Woody ‘owned’ the bowl and that was no lie, his runs lasted about 4 minutes on average and included all the essentials like back smiths and tailslides but also some surprises like frontside late shove its.
My travelling companion Olly Tyreman had been wowing everyone all week with his speed and crazy style but stepped it up a gear for the jam and pulled some screaming backside crailslides and smiths as well as some of the best backside bonelesses around.
Churchill, as ever, was running at 110% with all his usual gnarl tricks including f/s bonelesses and some beautiful f/s feeble grinds. The comp ended when everyone was fucked and the results came out of my mouth like this:
2: Marc Church Hell
3: Zarosh Eggleston
4: Olly Tyreman
6= Everyone else!
Unfortunately India didn’t field any skaters so it was a UK victory! Technically I guess that makes Woody the Indian skateboard champ! It would be rad if we went back next year to find a crew of Indian skaters tearing it up though.
Sunday was a best trick jam in the bowl and went off way harder than Saturday, partly due to MC Phil getting really pissed and dishing out some serious abuse. No one was spared, you didn’t even have to be skating, the crowd got it as did Percy from Document!
Habgood had obviously recovered from his jet lag and went crackers, in fact everyone did. Woody was black and blue from the day before and had spent the whole day whining and saying he wasn’t going to skate, obviously he was straight in there!
Judging this was going to prove to be a nightmare so I just split the prize money between all the best of the best trick, really there were thirty contenders for best trick. There was also a “Biggest Heart” award aka The Hippy Award which was for the person who put in the most effort and made the most stuff – Greg Nowik was the unanimous winner! He skated non-stop for the whole time and made about 10 tricks which could have won including a double flip fakie in the deep end of the bowl.
So here’s who got cash for what:
Greg Nowik – Flip Indy fakie, blunt flip in over the deathbox
Olly Tyreman – Backside Crailslide revert, Frontside 5-0 revert
Churchell – Indy transfer out of the bowl into a quarter, manual roll round the bowl to pivot fakie.
Zarosh – Lipslide roll in, Wall stall to disaster in.
Habgood – Frontside nose pick and blunt fakie on the nastiest thin vert quarter pipe.
My last night there coincided with Olly Tyreman’s 18th Birthday, what a place to celebrate! After a few mellow drinks on the sea front terrace of a particularly beautiful bar we headed to a club with a mechanical bull, Churchill shut down the locals with a powerful display of dancing and Rogie lost his mind.
When we got kicked out of there we went to a mellow beach bar and Olly disappeared only to be found later in a pool of puke on the beach while the rest of us laughed the night away with bright red faces.
I’ve been on a lot of trips but this was one that will go into the ‘legendary’ chapter of my memoirs, I feel honoured to have been there with such an amazing crew. I look forward to getting back out next year and doing it all again. Obviously thanks to the sponsors Vans and Nueu who made it possible and to Nick Smith who owns the place and did a pretty good job of making everyone feel welcome and getting them acclimatised!
I’d heard all kinds of horror stories about travelling in India and I’m sure some of them are true. However the area of Goa where the park is located is very touristy and so much of that doesn’t apply, indeed my experience of India was not marred by a single incident although a few of the crew suffered from “Ring of Fire” but that’s a small price to pay, don’t let hearsay put you off the trip of a lifetime. Book your flight now.
TIPS: Although flights out there are around £300 once you get there you can pretty much live for free, a £5 per day budget for food and drink is more than ample. Visas were a bit of a nightmare as we sorted them out last minute, do the sensible thing and apply for yours by post and save yourself a lot of trouble.
Finally, the most important holiday accessory is a moped, essential for getting round independently as everywhere is too spread out to walk and catching cabs is a hassle. Around £4 per day will cover it, plus laughing at idiots crashing really adds to your holiday memories!
Nearly everything described here was captured on film so be sure to check it out HERE on the Vans website – my feeble attempt at journalism couldn’t do it proper justice!