Almost..a Crossfire Gap Jam

17th May 2007
Words by Zac

Before you get stuck into this feature, the video for this event is ready for you to download. It is 22MB so look at the right hand side of this page, right click the file and save the file to your desktop.

It’s Thursday 3rd May 2007 at 1pm and the pies have just been ordered from the piemakers from Lancashire. We know this is the most stupid idea possible for a skate jam but somehow it makes sense, especially as Love’n’Skate have demanded it!

Whilst this jam was being put together from many angles, the butterflies were always there – I mean, what if no one turned up and it became a pipe dream? It’s never happened but we all grew up never to expect everything to work all of the time but this jam had beast written all over it as soon as we decided to get it on the go, it just so happened that the Almost team were in town the same weekend so why not ask right? They are only gonna say no.

So here we are, it’s Friday 4th May at the same time, no lunch has passed into this stomach and phones are off. Where are the Side Effects of Urethane (TSEOU) people? Will they turn up on time? Will the vert wall fit? Will it fall apart? Will the Gap Ledge not fit? Will it fuck.

Those guys built wood all week long for this jam outside of the daily grind and delivered in style to the millimeter. You see, the concept of these jams are not only to bring people together for one day only. The wood that we spent all of Globe Shoes sponsorship money on will be at Meanwhile 2 until it’s burnt down meaning that you people benefit from the effort once the event is over.

At 4pm we visited the bowls to find TSEOU were already at it for 3 hours drilling the pre-cut pieces together with aid of pizza and 1664. Everything had to be cleaned up. Pete Correy was hard at work white washing the walls so he had a canvas for our piece with Alan Christensen and Pete told us a story about how he once rolled up for a sesh here and found a dead body wrapped in a carpet behind the bowls back in the 80’s. This was the catalyst that led to the infamous Smell of Death Skate Jams in London.

Hundreds of skaters, punk rock and beer fuelled these jams that were held at Meanwhile, Southbank and other London skate spots in the 80’s – you have probably guessed that these jams heavily influenced our Crossfire events more than anything else and it all started here at Meanwhile 2, a park that I once fled after a a gun was stuffed into my mouth for 3 old pound notes. The same gun that released a bullet at us as we fled for the tube….

Shattered but stoked, we all left Meanwhile at midnight with paint on our hands and dust on our faces with everything in tact and ready to roll with no pikeys wanting a knife fight. As drills and generators buzzed we were sure the vert wall and ledge would be safe overnight and so it was. It was now time to let the butterflies out….

People came out of nowhere to pay tribute to this spot and bit by bit Meanwhile 2 filled up with people spilling out all over the shop. If only the freakin’ megaphone would work! I mean, you need 4 things to run a skate jam – a megaphone, skaters, beer and a stereo. It’s not actually that difficult. At this point I would like to thank Sam who works at Crossfire HQ as he was hanging on by his fingertips as my car thumped 50 round London streets to find electrical shops. £70 later we were on…

Kevin Parrott and Simon Skipp from the UKSA managed the game of S.K.A.T.E to perfection. 16 riders were hand picked (with bribes of course) and the tedious hour long, tech wizardry session took place in front of a packed flat ground area.

Some riders clearly were going for the caravan for two in Selsey Bill and others settled for the electrical sowing kit, but most went for Bully’s special prize which was £100 green and £50 runner up. The entrants looked like this with the highlighted urchins getting through their rounds without eating the alphabet.

Tom Knox – Daryl Dominguez – Jak Pietryga – Adam Howe

James Gardner – Killian Heuberger – Ross McGouran – Street Nowik

Darren Nolan – Chris Oliver – Guy Burchard – Porno Paul

Greg Lutzka – Lewis Marnell – Awadh Mohammad – Torey Pudwill

I think everyone felt for Awahd as he was drawn out of the hat against 3 of the Almost team! But he held strong until he drew letters.

The quarter final brought out 2 key battles with Heuberger (German Globe guest rider) and Lutzka getting through. For the record Blind Skateboards team rider Chris Oliver screamed through his round without picking up a letter and Tom Knox knocked out 3 sponsored riders who manage to get coverage monthly. Gotta give it up to him.

So the level was set.

Round #1: Tom Knox vs Killian Heuberger
Round # 2: Chris Oliver vs Greg Lutzka

Heuberger had Lutzka on the ropes after Greg lost his nerve on a few tricks. Not even his trademark lucky tap of the Globes could do the trick but he fought back but then was met by a nollie casper flip that’s not on his trick list. Heuberger had it sown up and was £100 better off…

The Gap at Meanwhile is legendary and has been made famous over the years by various skaters but mainly The Gonz who has gone down in the history books for his straight ollie over the abyss back in the late 1980’s and you can see it in the Blind Skateboards movie Video Days although rumours are still floating about that a UK rider did it first and have surfaced since this jam was announced. Kingpin Mag claim that the best trick over it was Tom Penny’s blindside nollie flip. Even Geoff Rowley decided that his last Vans advertising campaign was to be shot there.

But this famous spot in danger of being demolished as the surrounding areas of the underneath of the A40 motorway are already being taken down and replaced with football pitches and basketball courts. Rumours surfaced last year that the trust were considering demolishing the skate area so we decided to host this jam just in case something rash happens but to also present the results of this event to the Trust who organise the land. Hopefully they will see that the park is still cared for even in 2007. Fingers crossed.

It’s 4pm, the bowls are now packed with people peering in to see if anyone had the balls to cross the crevasse. One by one ollies started to pour over the gap. Daryl Dominguez hucked out a kickflip, Chris Oliver got started with a backside ollie, a kid called Nathan decided that it was his day and tried and tried to ollie the beast. Then Greg Lutzka made an alley oop frontside ollie and everyone kind of figured what was coming next! After 3-4 attempts he managed to huck out the same trick with a flip and the place went off.

It was an avalanche, as soon as one went down – another was more determined. Torey Pudwill frontside shuvit, Dan Wileman was determined to land a blindside flip to fakie and made it, Ben Raemers threw a boneless over it, then Chris Oliver carved out a kickflip to fakie, frontside and backside and ended up with the only trick on the ledge (that scared the shit out of most people) and back lipped it as the clock ran to zero! It was electric under there!

But the best part of the day regardless of who you are or what you do was that the little kid Nathan who had tried all day to get this ollie over it decided to make it and the place kicked off. This is what it’s about. Not competing for money, because that is just there to pay for the beer afterwards, but just getting up and doing it in front of everyone under pressure takes balls. We salute you kid.

As soon as Raemers, Nowik and others attacked the vert wall that was built for the day, free shit rained over Meanwhile 2 and then Love’n’Skate’s Stu took over for the pie eating contest. The Almost team were all asked if they wanted to be part of this as a team and 17 year old Torey Pudwill took up the bib on behalf of his US cronies whilst Porno Paul’s team that included both Mark and Laura who had delivered these tasty all butter stomach pounders from Lancashire. All 6 people munched pies over 3 minutes by the truckload and the end result was total carnage with Porno Paul the messiest by a mile, ha, he was so covered in pie I was almost puking with laughter! People poured drinks all over them, pie was thrown everywhere and the day ended on a high.

So, all in all, if you made it along to this event, nice one. We will be back for more of this stuff in July/August at Southbank – the dates will be released when we have them.


Big thanks to the The Side Effects of Urethane, the Almost Team, everyone at Globe Shoes, Ben at Sidewalk, Kevin Parrott and Si Skipp from the UKSA, Stu at Love’n’Skate, French and Badger for the flyer design, Greg for banners, Don for stickers, Sam and Joe for their help and understanding, Philip Proctor as DJ, Mau Mau Bar for allowing us to party and everyone who made the effort to support this event!