Sponsored by Circa Shoes and Snickers
Written By Ralph Lloyd Davis
“Get the beers in!” were the first words I heard from the Boss’ mouth.
I had just endured a five hour trans-continental train journey and fought my way down Portobello Road in full Christmas shopping swing, narrowly avoiding bartering for a pound of bananas, some cheap lingerie and the stench of a rubbish truck.
Obviously the beer was the missing ingredient to what would be the greatest Crossfire X-mas jam to date!
After having cleared the local booze shop of all it’s Kronenbourg (And I got one can free-Bonus!), I made my way into and through Bay Sixty 6 which was already heaving with kids, parents, a couple of lost tourists and one rollerblader. I overheard the last one saying, “All day skate jam? Bugger…” Atop the platform that connects the midi ramp to the huge banks, I found the man at the helm of such an event: Mr.Zac Slack, accompanied on the electrical piano by DJ James Sherry. The two of them looked relieved at the sight of my copious amounts of beer, but I politely declined the offer of a cold one due to a slight hangover that kicked in around 3am that same morning, when I had left another Christmas party of no great importance to us now.
So, who was killing it? That’s all you want to know, right?
Firstly, I commend the skatepark crew for sorting out some ramps at the far end of the park which less than a month earlier had been reduced to smouldering ash. Like the highest level of Space Invaders, the park was a swarm of speed freaks criss-crossing and popping up all over the place. A collision with any one of them would mean game over, as a couple of less fortunate players later discovered. My legs were shaky to say the least but I still managed to get across, ollie up, ollie down and back again a few times. I felt a little old (not as old as Gus’ dad though who I spotted nursing a beer on the sidelines), but that was because the kids Best Trick Jams were about to begin. Off the course oldie! Make way for the Mispelt Yoof!
As Zac made the best of such controlled chaos, parents watched in shock from the bleachers as little Johnny made his leap of Faith and in most circumstances-crashed! No, I lie. There was a pretty shockingly high level from the kids. Leaving aside the point that some kids were just skating their local, so they had the lines wired, a little mention must go out to Daryl and Trevor Beasley for putting on a good show. I remember when Trevor was just a likkle yoot flying over that ski-jump…
It’s amazing what level of skating and sheer madness that the offer of free product can produce! I spotted rewards going out for well executed hardflips on the new driveway, and backside bigspins the hard way over the hip. I did have one kid biting my ear off about a frontside flip being better than a hardflip, but my opinion could not be swayed. Did I forget to mention? I was judging. Complaints can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Once the next generation of rippers had exhausted their energy and went in search of more sugar, the pros took to the terrain. Spotted on the day were the entire 50-50 squad, the Blueprint squad, Death of course (Does Cates miss anything?), the Crème team, Stevie Thompson, Chris Ault, Ben Raemers, Jak Pietryga, blah blah blah… and two yanks: Colt Cannon and Pete Ramondetta. It’s always a pleasure to see so many UK heads under one roof, I mean motorway flyover, enjoying one another’s company and producing some amazing skating to boot.
Unfortunately I couldn’t assist the entire session because my judgemental skills were needed over at the ramps. The midi ramp is the first thing you see when you step into Bay66, and it is definitely the centre of attention when it comes to mad trickery. Waiting to drop in and snake one another for the chance to win some dough, I spotted Danny Wainwright, Churchill a.k.a. Wade Speyer (c.f. Handlebars), Greg Nowik, Stevie T., Ross and Raemers, Bearman Joe Habgood and a handful of others. When you’re judging a best trick jam, the rules are like those of downhill slalom skiing: best trick will win until someone does something better, sort of like fastest time wins until broken. So, what was going down? Mr. Nowik had all the photographers setting their apparatus to mutli-shot for a possible sequence of a blunt 360 flip in, whilst Danny braved another attempt at connecting board and ceiling with a ridiculous frontside nosebone. Sadly though, they both had competition…
The competition came in the form of a bobble hated styley geezer named Ben Raemers. Ben fully flared it with some backside crailslides and a miller flip to fakie. The crowd love the miller flip, so when the inverts were going down, they went nuts! “Alan Christensen to filming duty. Christensen to filming duty please!” sang out of the speakers as DJ Sherry played Slayer at 12. Somehow little Ben didn’t count on a counter attack, and fell short of 100 bones due to Flynn Trotman’s amazing 540 ollie. Where did that come from??? Time at the bar- Over to the vert ramp for more!
Just before the Vert best trick, I was speaking with Vaughn Baker (Get well soon lad!) and Steph Morgan. Steph was a vertical transition novice, whereas Vaughn already knew his way around a ramp. Vaughn left this wisdom with his fellow Blueprint rider: “Once you’ve felt the speed of a vert ramp, street skating is a piece of piss!” And with that the show commenced: Pete King was going for a huge kickflip melon over the channel, Mark Munson grabbed 3 inverts over the channel whilst a little ripper called Sam tried it indy and made it. Indian Matt (aka Steak), the new Death flow rider went padless, but the darkman himself, Lee Blackwell took the prize money with two alley-oop cabellariels over the channel in signature hell bent style! More tats Lee?
Right, and now the moment you’ve all been waiting for: The Pro street Jam! Let’s get ready to ruuuuuummmmmbbbbbbllllllle!!!!!
I thought I could squeeze a lovely warm cup of tea in between two jams, but being a judge is no joke, so the steaming hotbox of culinary delights would have to wait a little longer for my dosh… I know this might seem like lazy journalism, but so much crazy skating was going down over the next half an hour, that for your benefit and mine I shall simple state the obstacle and a few of the things that were put down on them. Trust me, its better this way!
The Longest Grind: First place Danny Brady with a Looong nosegrind. Joey Pressey was getting so close to doing this, but just couldn’t reel it in. Paul Carter was attempting kickflip frontside noseslides, Trottman had a go at 360 flip noseslides and Dan Wileman pulled a fast 360 flip 50-50! Ramondetta went for a heelflip backside tailslide, but only landed it after time at the bar- Sorry.
The Koston Block: First place for Danny Brady again (We’d been warned he might try and sweep the contest…) with an exquisite backside 180 fakie nosegrind revert and a frontside bluntslide at mach ten- Shocker! Zak Pitter almost toppled Brady with a nollie crooked grind to fakie if wasn’t for that bluntslide…
The Wembley Gap: Little Dan Wileman represented with a winning backside flip late flip: Not something you see every day. Meanwhile, Ivan pulled a mean inward heelflip manual and Pressey tried to keep balanced during a switch frontside bigspin manual. Oh, and Brady got cheeky with a quick kickflip nosemanual frontside revert.
The Rail (a.k.a. the paparazzi prize): This is where Pete Ramondetta suddenly came alive because in the space of five minutes he put down a frontside nosebluntslide, a kickflip 50-50, a frontside 5-0 frontside 180 out, a nollie frontside 50-50 and a nollie frontside lipslide to fakie. Woah! Despite this amazing bag of tricks, some skaters still tried to comp him for his £100 (Approx.$175)- Wileman got oh-so close to a 360 flip lipslide, which in my honest opinion would have taken it, Daryl looked like Bastien with his attempts at a kickflip frontside boardslide, Korahn Gayle landed a smooth frontside boardlide shove-it, and unknown ripper David Davies put down a flash and roll attack of Backside smiths, feebles and a tailgrab feeble! Honourable mention must go to Chris Ault who looked like he was taking a stance against the current handrail trends by ollieing over it to manual down the bank.
The Wallride: Ah! This is where the older heads had a go for some cash, and Bearman Habgood came correct with a huge air to wall ride to fakie pullback in. Ivan had everyone worried when he fell and writhed on the floor in agony, clutching his knee. It turned out the poor chap was victim to the worst case of cramp known to man! Blackwell tried some kickflip footplants to fakie, and young Beasley spun the smoothest alley-oop wallride across the entire vast transition. Good stuff.
The Channel of Death: Now, if you had enough energy after that marathon, then you could program the ambulance for speed-dial as we explored the unknown via a massive kicker to kicker chasm known as the Channel of Death. With 7feet between each ramp, the riders took it slowly at first because any miscalculation could result in pain. When shit like this is about to go down, the judges vote is pretty pointless because everybody deserves a prize. Zac and I counted down the Crossfire minutes- Not shitty soppy ‘New York Minutes’ like the Eagles sang about!- as Trottman, Rodney Clarke, Ross McGouran and Ben Raemers went to town.
Flynn Trottman came fourth with an amazing backside heelflip, whilst fellow Crème teammate, Rodney Clarke got a little old-skool and spun a sal flip and a one foot over the gaping jaws of danger. The sal flip and heelflip were definite contenders for a whopping £300 and an Xbox 360, but the youth had other plans…
Little Ben Raemers was not going to go home empty handed (and in my honest opinion I think Ben was the MVP of the day!), and managed to get second place with a huge backside flip melon! Why would anyone in their right mind try and roll away blindsided on this obstacle, I do not know..?
Check this out below for proof courtesy of Sidewalk Magazine’s finest, Leo Sharpe.
Anyway, the winner for this last demonstration of balls was Ross McGouran who proverbially ‘murked it‘ proper by proceeding to ollie one way then 360 flip the other! The crown went bananas and voices were lost, but Ross had more: He continued by doing a kickflip melon one way to 360 flip back again, and finally landing a mental varial heelflip. This kid is on a road to glory, I tell you…
The on-looking younger generations were absolutely amped by what they had seen, whilst grown men wept as they caught a glimpse of what the future beheld. It was time for Santa to roll in off the flyover and the product toss was announced: “All kids under 5 feet please make your way to the bottom of the vert ramp! Alan Christensen for camera duty please!” The kids screamed and jumped all over the place as the Heavens opened up with free product aided by the traditional theme of Slayer’s Reign in Blood, however some little tykes didn’t have that warm Christmas spirit and thought they could get lucky by robbing a few decks! Luckily they were caught red-handed and shall now suffer the consequences. Next time they can get thrown to the pre-pubescent wolves below!
After a hard days judging and orchestrating mayhem, those over 18 made their way to the local bar where many a beer was had and pizza was munched upon. Obviously these moments are quite hazy, so nothing should be taken seriously, but I think I had Pete Ramondetta worried when I quizzed him on dentistry, and an open invitation was made to some UK pros to come sleep on foreign floors (but I think that last bit still remains…).
A huge thank you must go out to everyone that came down and supported British skateboarding, and that includes you if you came to represent and all of the pro riders, skate company owners and team managers.
Without your support none of this would have been possible! Also big shouts to DJ’s Simon Currage, Kris Drew, Phil Proctor and James Sherry for the copious amounts of music during the day and at the party and a huge thanks to Xbox, Snickers and Circa Shoes for their support and generosity and all staff at Bay 66.
BTW, if you are reading this and you won Circa Shoes on the day and are wondering why your feet are not sporting them yet, please bare with us as the addresses are on a piece of paper in my flat in Belgium that i can’t get back into until January 3rd, so please be patient, we have no way of getting the piece of paper with them on over Xmas, but you will get your shoes! We promise!
Enjoy the pics below from the afterparty…if you were snapped there and are not featured below, sorry but blame Cates, he will explain why!
Ralph Lloyd Davis