The official Crossfire Xmas Jam 2010 edit by Alan Christensen. Filmed by Alan Christensen, Nick Richards and Joe Moynihan.
Photography: Tom Halliday and Dom Marley
Over the past eight years a lot has happened within the cozy sphere of living we call skateboarding. Shiny discs with easter eggs came in and locked VHS up in the junk room only to be touched by the boney skeletal finger of the digital grim reaper a couple years later, we lost a couple magazines, we gained a few new ones, scooters are selling more than skateboards for the first time ever and yet skate companies are being born as if an entire generation of UK skateboarders missed out on the business studies lesson where they covered contraception. It’s all a little confusing and unsettling to be honest. So, at the end of another confusing year we decided that there was only one thing we could possibly do. Invite you all to Bay 66 and go skateboarding. What else?
There really wasn’t any alternative; for a start we do it every year, and every year we love it more than ever. But more importantly, a jam is still one of the most positive things one can involve themselves in for skateboarding regardless of whatever the economical climate currently looks like. A jam provides UK skateboarders of all ages with a place to meet like-minded creatives and explore the myriad of ways in which one can get rad on their wheely-board, which sounds awesome enough, but on top of that you will always meet new friends, witness amazing talent and be reminded just how rewarding skateboarding is. We’re sure most of you know this already, but given the sad circumstances that surrounded the park in which we always – with great pleasure – hold all of our annual festive jams, it feels appropriate to point out just how effective these events are at giving the young people of the UK something postive to focus their attention on. So, in another attempt to remind the youth that there’s a lot more to life than drugs, disrespecting women and riding shitty little scooters we invited you all to London’s beloved sheltered park (hopefully not for the last time) and you all came and smashed it. As in, totally, totally smashed it. Good work.
After some trouble with the sound system which led to myself, Zac and Brewster twiddling knobs like Dickfingers does whenever he has nothing better to do, we finally had Brewster’s charming vocal stylings flooding into the ears of the London yoof. Good thing too, as it was high time for them to start throwing themselves over the little driveway for the chance of a fresh Blueprint deck and fifty quids worth of Slam City Skates vouchers. And throw themselves they did, in a kind of bizarre mature manner. Sure there was havoc, but maybe the 100 little Alfies that normally walk in the way and cock things up spent this winter with the snaking scooter crews in concrete parks throughout the country, meaning that the havoc was kind of controlled. Orderly queues were formed and boards were flying everywhere and we more stoked and impressed with the standards of the unsponsored jam than ever before.
We weren’t too stoked on the theft of Alex Diss’ tapes from the unsponsored jam though. Zorlac compensates his loss by being rad. (Photo: Tom Halliday)
Below: Darius Trabalza is sick. Watch out for him. (Photo: Tom Halliday)
We genuinely had to ask most of the winners if they were sponsored or not, especially considering how many pros and ams were sneaking in runs before their time. Daryl Dominguez got up early as if he intended to eat the driveway for breakfast, but it was the young and very smiley Darius Trabalsza who got the worm with a positively monstrous hardflip over the box to flat in a way that would impress Daryl himself. Huge catch and caught proper bolts. Brewster and I had little trouble awarding Darius with the prize, he really got the idea of a competition going and he fully earned his deck and should also earn your attention in the future. Look out for that smiley dude.
Before we followed the schedule to the next spot, a couple of unashamed moshers were trying their hand at the ski jump to such ridiculous results that we almost contemplated throwing the entire schedule out the window and have a gnarliest backflip competition on the launch ramp. One backflip later though and our mosher tendencies were more than satisfied, permitting us to stop kidding ourselves and return to where all the good stuff was happening: BaySixty6’s new hip with the long jersey quarter on top of it. A perfect setting for some Busenitz grind action and maybe even some Cory Kennedy hip flip trick ridiculousness. Things were kicking off straight away as the obstacle was given its first Xmas Jam treatment, with Felipe Dalcin going in hard for a mighty kickflip noseslide sadly nailing it just after the whistle. With Brewster in charge Crossfire minutes are just 60 seconds long I’m afraid; Spanky runs a tight ship that’s for sure. A shame for Felipe as it was an early contender for trick of the day, but Jason Cloete’s stream of smooth technical wizardry (landing bigger flips cleaner than Marc Johnson) set the consistency level for the rest of the unsponsored comp, if you’re gonna win you’re going to have be better than this kid. It’s remarkable that he hasn’t landed a proper sponsor yet, though that fact might have something to do with how much of a sleazy bastard he was at the after party (props though, standard). Whatever you’ve heard about Jason Cloete, what you need to know is the little shitbag kills it.
Below: Jason Cloete prior to all the sleaze (Photo: Tom Halliday)
Indeed, the Cloete show continued as the jam took it to BaySixty6’s newer, gnarlier, Amazonian waterfall of a Wembley/Euro/Step Up gap. Backside 360 kickflips, triple kickflips and more first try bedwetters, probably before people learnt to get out the way of the landing area too. When it did though, Baystation 666 was subjected to technical madness at its very raddest. Drawing Boards’ Isaac Miller took his opportunity to front 360 and backside heel as fluidly and nonchalantly as one would nollie over a crack in the pavement. We originally had some doubts at how many unsponsored kids could tackle the new Euro beast but in just 20 minutes we had our uncertainties handed to us on a plate as Jamal Breniss tore the gap a new backside (this kid can also stick a mean sticker around; the decorations you see in these pictures before you are courtesy of myself, Jerome, Jamal and a couple of other helpful gents… next time you see them around, high five them for braving the cold. Except for me, I’m a scumbag and probably deserved it.). It was Harry King who took the biscuit though who with his solo late-flip fueled demonstration that left even Cloete’s head spinning.
In a year where ADHD ran riot over the Firefox generation we felt it right to conclude the unsponsored jam on whatever obstacle they wanted to skate, providing it was on the big driveway and me and Brewster could see it. So as we strained our eyes over the fog of fried chicken in the spectators stand many of you took it to the rail, manual pad and hubba ledge and we realised that judging this one could be a little difficult. Luckily Jamie ‘Arghhh’ Morley was saving his game changers for the pro comp and the unsponsored crowd stuck mostly to the rail like slippery glue. Though a few sneaky sponsored sorts tried to blag themselves a Blueprint deck it was John Howlett who impressed us with his consistency and extensive bag of tricks; no matter how many great feeble grinds were on display, no one trick wonder was walking away with this particularly awesome Nick Jensen deck. Look out for Howlett leaping out of a taco in a Mile End near you.
Below: New moves, same ol’ Smithy. (Seq: Dom Marley)
After a short breather (Brewster went out for some fresh tobacco scented air while I stayed in getting high off the fumes from the fried chicken boxes) it was time for the sponsored jam. First up, back to the mini-driveway and as the guestlist continued getting checked off it was those that got in early that were obviously warmed up enough to smash it. Daryl Dominguez went straight in and hammering down all the tricks he has on lock – 360 flip, lateflips, hardflip, all perfect. Isaac Miller was busy snaking all the unsponsored kids on the Wembley gap but his lofty heelflip to flat literally came out of no where, then dusted off like it was nothing. 2011 will be his year for sure. Now, this paragraph cannot be complete without mentioning Gav Coughlan, who sped through the park and landed on a monster frontside flip too many times without rolling away. When he finally conquered the beast we had already moved onto the next obstacle after drill sergeant Brewster announced time was up, but big up Gav for sticking to it. We were stoked on what the Irish powerhouse brought to the event. This obstacle was Daryl’s from the beginning however, he sleepwalked his way to the first batch of Crossfire pounds dished out.
By the time we hit up the hip again our massive guestlist was more or less fully checked off apart from a few notable names (Korahn Gayle probably thought he was supposed to get on a plane or something and missed it) so things were about to take a turn for the awesome. The entire spot got attacked from all angles; Crayon’s Paul ‘Barber’ Cooper got things going on top with that frontsmith of his that’s one of the finest in this country, Witchcraft’s Jamie ‘Arghhh’ Morley took a different route and boardslid his way into the jersey quarter the hard way (the only way the pirate knows) and Smithy shutdown the actual hip with that nollie bigger spin heelflip he was stoked on in his Reflections. The hip got a thorough seeing to but a face-off emerged between Kill City’s Jake Collins and Blind’s Chris Oliver. Chroliver could have shut the day down with his balls-out backtail and mach-ten kickflip 5-0 across the entire ledge (and if you haven’t got off your arse and seen Chris skate in person yet then sort it out, it’ll change your life) but Jake just kept pulling out bangers that we had no choice but to give him the Crossfire pounds. Crooks to regular, ninja finger backsmith, backtail, backlip and a ‘proper’ mayday in under twenty minutes? This guy is amazing.
Below: Dan ‘270’ Wileman getting paper. (Photo: Tom Halliday)
Now, originally our schedule was intent on taking a Delorean back to the 90s with a recession-friendly best trick over the smashed up bin but given how many gnar-hunters were on the scene we had a little re-arranging session and decided to conclude the sponsored jam on the behemoth that is Bay 66’s famous vert wall. Firstly though, we took it back to the ADHD-encouraging driveway and let the sponsored heads run riot. The rail was tackled by the Blueprint crew with ease as Nick Jensen cruised around, Tom Knox summoned up a hurricane and Smithy boardslide-shoved his way into a few high fives. Daryl got tech on the rail with a ninja-catch flip frontboard but took one for the team while trying a trick front shove boardslide. I couldn’t sleep for days after watching that unfortunate credit card disaster. Yowzers. Good thing Jamie Morley and Dan Wileman were on the scene to remedy pain with gnar. Jamie took a break from photographing the dead animals near Portobello Road to catch a ridiculous kickflip out of a perfect 50-50 down the hubba ledge. They don’t call him ‘Kickflip’ for nothing kids. Dan Wileman doesn’t have a nickname yet but considering how many times I’ve seen him earn money from these variations I’m gonna start calling him ‘270’. No one does it better. £50 each, now on to the vert wall.
As we hoped, shit got REAL on the vert wall. Luke Jarvis was obviously waiting for this moment to arrive and we’re already taking bets on whether he has some sort of telekinetic speed device in that green hat of his… no one can move that fast naturally. Before we could even set up flashes he was there killing it and setting the bar high. As high as the Westway would allow anyway. Amidst dogpissers aplenty, Alex Lally got some training in for the following mini ramp jam, Ewan Bower got amongst it and Daryl fucking Dominguez confirmed his position as the undisputable ruler of BaySixty6. After playing around with what looked like a potentially groundbreaking hardflip he stomped down a kickflip fakie from the quarter (serving under the bloody reign of a severed pig’s head courtesy of Lee Dainton) and grafted away towards and elusive but eventually rewarding alley-oopbackside flip straight into the gullet of the beast. To quote the editor of the official Crossfire Xmas Jam edit Alan Christensen “best trick of the day hands down”. Like all the hammers, it was just outside of time, plus who else could have taken the vert wall monies but the young Sam Beckett. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, Sam is one of the best skaters in the UK right now and you should all recognise this. Floating a backside flip across the entire wall and not missing a single air in twenty minutes? Deny it if you can.
Daryl Dominguez shutting down BaySixty6’s vert wall. Utter madness. (Seq: Dom Marley)
Below: Nowick breaking the necks of observers. (Photo: Tom Halliday)
By this point and despite the cold we were all starting to get a little sweaty, so it could only mean one thing: time for one full hour of Slayer and bodies flying around in Baystation’s famous miniramp lovingly sponsored by Flip, Ricta and Mob Grip. And fly they did; an increasingly smashed Brewster called for high flyers and blunt 360 flips in, which combined resulted in a lot of smashed shins and tooth chippers. Or was that the product toss? Either way, shit was going down and the riffs were kicking off so there I was, standing on the corner with a notebook trying to make sense of what was going on while occasionally getting out the way of Jed Cullen’s nose-scratching airs. Judging by how illegible my notes are, it’s safe to say that everyone killed it.
Alex Lally got his post-Ben Nordberg miniramp moves on (bigspin back disasters, pop into sugarcane) and generally just ruled the liptricks, Sam Beckett continued his reign over all things transition, Barber got involved with some smooth operator lines and Kill City’s miniramp shredders Sam Pulley and Jake Collins more or less ran the ship for the first half hour with Jake getting the first ‘proper’ trick on the awkward extension (frontside disaster… mad!).
But once again, the miniramp jamp nearly turned into the Greg Nowick show, not that we’re complaining… that miniramp is absolutely his, but Jed Cullen avoided the snakes and and pulled some bonkers stuff out of his deep trick bag, all miles above the coping and so the MVP prize purse was split between the two. Best trick could only have gone to whoever first landed the elusive blunt 360 flip and since Daewon wasn’t around this took a little longer. Eventually Chris Coombs snuck a perfect one in between runs and walked away with £50. This year’s jam was the business!
Zac, Brewster and the miniramp rulers. (Photo: Tom Halliday)
Just gathering what I can recall from the day is getting the blood flowing again, what an absolutely terrific day for skateboarding in London. No matter how many kids were stuck inside playing Call of Duty or clogging up skatepark traffic on scooters the turnout for this year was nothing but skateboarders down for skateboarding and the atmosphere proved it. The good vibes flowed throughout the day and out of glasses at the unplanned and very messy afterparty. It was a great thing to be a part of. Big thanks to all of you that came down and had a good time with us, thanks to all the sponsors and support from the great companies that make this country so rad, all the riders they brought with them, Brewster for strong MCing, all the good folk at Bay 66, the friendly staff at Mau Mau’s, Tom Halliday and Dom Marley for capturing souls and Alan Christensen and Nick Richards for watching the entire event through a viewfinder. And of course, big thanks to Zac for not letting a gnarly spinal injury stop him throwing one of my favourite skate events of the year.
Try and spot the product they’re fighting over. (Photo: Tom Halliday)
Enjoy the rest of the photos not included above in the gallery below and stay tuned for the official edit coming VERY soon (little bit of technical trouble and logistical nightmares delviering it all thanks to that bitch Mother Nature). Oh, and if you thought you were safe after the night raids feature dropped last week, sorry, but Tom Halliday took a whole bunch more. Scroll further down for messiness and bring on Xmas 2011, but remember, if we don’t act now it might not be at Bay 66. Sign the petition here if you haven’t already and let’s keep our favourite park in London.
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Photos by Tom Halliday and Dom Marley. Double click to full-screen.