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Slacker report

Winter has officially arrived and with it all the usual horrible-ness – well that was until Autumn made a bit of a come back and meant that I could go out riding last weekend! Stoked! I also finally got round to writing something…result.

I’ve racked up a good few sessions now on the Subsonic GT and it’s low-ness has been misjudged three times, resulting in the pristine look being exchanged for a slightly more rugged one:

Last weekend I went on a nice leisurely skate towards Morges:

The cool thing is that I discovered that the bike route 1, section 6 actually carries on a lot further than expected although I had to run for about a kilometre to get across an unpaved section. This is awesome as it means that in theory I could get to Geneva without too much difficulty by just continuing the route.

I’ve also started using Endomondo to track my outings whereas previously I’d been using Runkeeper. All in all Endomondo seems to be a little more feature-packed, it certainly appears to be more social-media orientated. You find the same notion of ‘friends’ as on Facebook against which you can compare performances.

I actually started using Endomondo because over on the French forum Riderz there has recently been an upsurge in LDP/distance related talk. This is really good to see because for ages it was just Alex Bangnoi and myself yapping on as we tend to do. In the distance related thread there has been a couple of friendly challenges using Endomondo app and personally I’ve found them to be a really good way of motivating myself.

I turned 28 a little while ago and this event coincided with the arrival of a package from Pritchard Skate Designs. It is a slightly taller and pimped out (read coloured) version of the FWD+ short:

Look out for more tasty footstop treats seeing the light of day in the coming months. I wanted it to be a litle higher to be able to really push my front foot into the stop, I haven’t done many sessions on it yet but so far I’m really liking it.

In terms of gear, the following will probably be old news to most of you but I still think it is worth a mention. In all of my trucks I have never used the stock bushings as I have always found that the aftermarket bushings to feel a lot better. Also, I bought my trucks back in 2009/2010 before truck companies had really started to think seriously about the importance of the squishy bushings. Therefore I have run up to some obstacles: finding the right washers and almost always  having to stack them because they weren’t the right height – that kind of thing.

These puppies are a dream come true:

They are the Axcelspring washer cups by Griffin Skateboards‘ mastermind Thane Magee  and this is what they’re all about:

People are snapping their kingpins on their trucks left and right. The grade 8 washer and grade 8 kingpin in combination with bushings that are too soft are hanging up the kingpin and snapping it. Old, traditional washer cups surf around on the bushing and on the kingpin too much. It’s about time we have a state of the art washer cup that works to help the rider be safe. We have been working on solving this problem since 2009.

Why Are These Better?
The center sleeve puts the pressure on the center of the bushing, giving it more energy. The facing on either side of the washers gives extra grip to help grab onto the baseplate and the bushing. No movement equals straight power. It’s made in the USA in a one inch size and is machined from 303 stainless steel.

Whilst we’re on gear, the following caught my eye last week: Num cups

Some information from the thread:

Why?
Because your stock pivot cups suck. Chances are if you loosen up your trucks, you can wiggle the hanger back and forth in the pivot cup. And if you can’t, you most likely will be able to in the near future. This is because so many truck manufacturer’s keep using that same crap black plastic for their pivot cups that deforms are provides no compression of the hanger pivot which leads to slop.

How do these make my trucks feel better?
I’ll sum it up short for now: A pivot cup that provides compression of the hanger pivot does not allow for slop in the pivot cup area. This in turn moves all of the turning focus to the bushings. With these you’ll probably want to go down a duro or two from the regular bushings you’re using because of this.

I’ll be following this idea closely…more information on the Silverfish thread.

Bustin have also been busy and recently announced their latest lineup of reflective apparel for the winter:

The above is my favorite design. Here is some information into the thought gone into these new products:

This time around we had three focuses as we redesigned the gear;  (1) Improve the reflective safety gear (2) Incorporate some of the dopest board graphics into some shirts and (3) Make a hoodie that you can’t live without.

Sweet as!


Adrenalina – watching from the outside

It’s 1pm (GMT+1) last Saturday, the 30th July 2011 and I am sitting in the Pschorr brewery in Munich, Germany, eating würstl and Fass-sauerkraut accompanied by a glass of their refreshing Helles beer.

 As nice as this all is, beer, smiling mädchen and all, my mind keeps on wondering how is everyone getting on at the Adrenalina marathon in NYC. I’m pretty sure that two names will be on the podium but as we all know, these events often bring surprises. When I finally saw the top three results I was not disappointed:

1. Jeff Vyain – 1:31:41
2. Paul Kent – 1:32:10
3. Robin McGuirk – 1:38:07

Both Jeff Vyain and Paul Kent’s times speak for the themselves, this was no doubt an epic race at an amazing location, perfectly described by Alex Bangnoi:

 Ideal (weather) conditions…a gorgeoous setting! Imagine: the starting and finishing in front of the Statue of Liberty! Classy! What better motivation!

Alex Bangnoi went on to set himself a new personal best time (I think!) of 1:48:20, placing him in a solid 30th place out of 110 starters in the male category.

With around 6 minutes separating 2nd and 3rd place this was clearly a dual for the last lap or so as apparently both the front racers were working together to maintain pace…the following pick captures this:

But the race was worth it from the expressions at the finish line:

1st place Jeff Vyain:

2nd place Paul Kent:

All this makes for a great podium: Epic!

Adrenalina photo credits: ShRED Magazine

Let’s not forget the women – woop!:

1. Cami Best – 1:59:16_Bustin
2. Sara Paulshock – 1:59:48_Bustin
3. Priscilla Bouillon – 2:04:42

The full results are available here – only one rider from outside the America’s…there’s bound to be more hidden talent out there!

Those of us who couldn’t get to the race got to have the next best thing, a live report by PushCulture News, all the videos which were broadcast live can be seen at by clicking here. There are great interviews with the winners and many racers including  an epic 5 mins with Alexandre Bangnoi at 14m32! Bravo!

Other noteworthy people who were also interviewed are Dan Gesmer of Seismic and Jack Smith, the first person to cross America on a skateboard, and founder of this wonderful sport.

Another thing which has stood out is the amount of attention that this event got from the media, national and international alike:

Yahoo:  Bustin’ Boards Jeff Vyain wins Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon’s maiden NYC run
ESPN: Skateboarding meets marathoning in NY
Sports Illustrated/CNN: Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon

Also, what could be better than a picture in Times Square!

Congrats to all the participants, the organisers and everyone who is playing their part in making what distance skateboarding is what it is today and for continuing to push things forward. Bring on the next races, with hopefully one in Europe! Failing that, I’m going to get out there to the States in 2012 for sure!


The sandwich lived up to expectations! Thanks NYC!

As it is about three weeks since I last posted on here, I needed a recap of what I had written about last time around when I was just about to go to NYC. That’s when I was reminded about the snack that has had the greatest influence on me for as long as I remember. The Katz Pastrami sandwich.

Anyway, this blog is supposed to be about longboarding, not food, so back to business.

That last paragraph wasn’t totally irrelevant though, as a about a mile away from Katz’s is the Longboard Loft at 132 Allen Street in the Lower East Side. It lives pretty well to it’s ambition of being “the headquarters for longboard enthusiasts in NYC and all over the world. With New York City’s largest selection of longboards and longboard components, you won’t find a better place to get your longboarding itch scratched”. I certainly left the shop feeling completely un-itchy, for sure!

Walking in the area around the shop already felt familiar, almost certainly from having watched videos that were filmed in the neighbourhood. Another, pointer was that I started to see a couple of people on longboards – suddenly, there is was! Once I entered I was amazed by how many boards there were, it truly was a refreshing experience to see so many brands represented: Earthwing, Tutone, Landyachtz, but also rarer boards such as Subsonic, along with the the full Bustin line up. News has it that perhaps some Swiss ones will also be stocked too…

Not forgetting the wheels, too.

I got a really good vibe from the place and it really was busy. All the staff were super friendly and I was super happy to meet Jeff Vyain and have spend some time talking to him. We talked about his wheels, the Atobe Wigglers,  the upcoming Adrenalina marathons, The Chief Ladiga Silver Comet Stage Race, Skatefurther, PSD, some things cooking in the Subsonic pot and about Pavedwave and Ultraskates. It was really nice of him to take some time out of the busy-ness of running the shop – Thanks Jeff! Although I was mostly doing touristy stuff in NYC since it was my first time in the city and in the States, the visit to the shop was definitely a high point for me.

Needless to say that I didn’t leave empty handed:

These puppies are going to go on a rather special new setup which will be the subject of a different article…

My girlfriend and I walked around NYC a lot. Like any major city it is huge, and in my experience, if you want to get a feel for the place then you have to just walk around. Having lived and longboarded in Paris, I couldn’t help but look at the city from a longboarder’s point of view. My opinion is that you have to be pretty hardcore and especially focused to skate and not run into trouble.

First off the pavements are often narrow, much narrower than is the norm in Paris and often crowded and of varying quality. There is no choice but to skate on the roads, making use of the numerous cycle lanes that are on offer. Even then it is at a level of hectic-ness that is rarely seen in Paris. I’ve found myself having a lot of the respect for NYC’s longboarding scene because of this. The result of this urban riding certainly has proved it’s worth in the many pushraces and marathons that the city’s crews have owned.

Then you have Broadway, which we walked most of the way down in sections during the week we were there…I was trying to picture being part of the front of the pack during the Broadway Bomb. Calling it challenging is the biggest understatement you can make. It is the least practical and ridable course that could be thought up, but I know that I just have to do it at least one time in my life! Wow! Central Park is the obvious exception to all this…but once you’ve skated there you’d need a little bit of calmer riding.

Too bad that I can’t make the Adrenalina Skate marathon held in NYC (Govornor’s Island) on the 30th June. As for who is going to win? Well we’ll all just have to wait and find out…one thing for sure is that Alex Bangnoi will be representing once again. Go Alex! Oh, and Jeff Vyain just posted a sustained pump at 18.5 Mph (29.7Kph) for quater mile intervals…to put it into perspective, during my final training last year I was getting about 21Kph, and averaged 22Kph (13.6) on the day itself. I’ve got some work to do!

New York – I’ll be back!


News this week

So, last Monday I ended up going for the first session in a while. I firstly met up with Christian Schlumpf and we got down for some LDP action, he hadn’t ridden an LDP setup before so it was interesting to him go from curious to stoked! I’ve been playing around with the new Siesmic truck that I’ve recently acquired and I’m loving the kick (return to centre) that it has…

We then met up at the Vallée de la Jeunesse with Arrash and ended up meeting two other locals (including Matthieu) who seemed to really know what they were doing. They were totally nailing the DH sections, unlike me!

Since, then the weather and time constraints have meant that I haven’t done any more boarding so this post will be kept pretty short. Tomorrow I am off to visit the home of Bustin, Longboardloft, Unclefunky’s, Earthwing, Concretekings, the Broadway Bomb and Pastrami – I cannot wait!

After that week of debauchery in the Big Apple, it’ll be a relaxing few days of farniente in Spain where I’ll be mainly enjoying the playa so don’t expect too much action here for the next fortnight…after all that I’ll be back and raring to go with some reports of my adventures!

Big shout out to the people who continue to read this blog…I’ve received some really nice comments recently so thanks for reading!


STHCME or Stuff that Has Caught My Eye

UDMag
The dream finally becomes a reality and a French longboarding mag is born.  Loads of great coverage, Romain Bessière, Blackkross and scenes from accross France finally get the coverage they deserve. The magazine which is set to come out every two months is free to read online for the moment, giving each reader the chance to save around €5 (the price of a Kebab, a pack of beer, etc…).

Awesome!

Dylon Production:

A Group of French guys I’ve ridden with has come out with a great video showcasing their talent and giving us a tantalising taste of what is to come.

More information on their Facebook page and their blog

Push / Bustin’ Boards by Thornberg & Forester
A great video showing some amazing footage from NYC – I can’t wait to go there!


Hereandla sponsored by time at work

So today is officially my last day of paid work in Paris for some time to come. What better way to spend it then trawling the web picking up the tastiest and most interesting (in my opinion, anyway) bits and bobs.

Long distance
First up, the “Long distance” section of the Whoisadamcolton site. This is an oldie, but it is a goodie and is often overlooked. On there you’ll find many answers to some of the more difficult questions surrounding a distance trip, all in Adam’s unique style. From why go on a trip to five simple steps which are sure to help you succeed and get the most out of any trip.

Protection
Everyone knows that it’s better to be prepared for the worst and wear a helmet. The problem is that sometimes the choice of brands to choose from can seem pretty limited. Poc Sports, a Swedish company has just released a new line up of helmets that will certainly help you stand out from the crowd. Their Receptor+ line are perfect for those want a helmet to used in various conditions and sports.

Companies
Through reading my various news feeds, a good few pretty impressive smaller companies have caught my attention, amongst them Uncommon Boards for their original looking shapes and BCLongboards for their clean lines. Remember the time when trying to find a new longboard brand was like trying to find a needle in a haystack!

No wood, no foam
I love carbon. I love the look and I love the fact that perfecting a deck making technique using carbon is a difficult thing. The skills needed to make something black, shiny and ridable are pretty impressive but yield beautiful results.

It’s impressive that so many small workshops have turned their engineering and manufacturing processes to the small the welcoming sport of longboarding. And people have said that skilled craftsmen are a thing of the past. Thank you Skunktech and all the other small brands for keeping the dream alive.

Keep up to date
We are lucky to be living in times where the growth of longboarding seemingly knows no limits. This can make it difficult to keep up with latest news and developments. The Longboardism site is one of my favourites at the moment, it is well laid out easy to use and integrates nicely with my Greader. Check it out!

The Bustin IBACH
Like them as a company or not, Bustin are part of the reason why NYC riders are placed firmly at the top of list of quickest marathon times. The ability for them as a company to really spur on the growth of their scene is inspirational. This organic growth has seen the birth of PushCulture, LongboardLoft and now this collaborative board designed with BozBoards Mike Bozinovski.

The IBACH will push Bustin further and ensure that 2011 goes to a next level:

We’ve heard your cries for a board that is built for speed, and this is our answer. A collaborative effort with Mike Bozinovski of Boz Boards in Toronto, the mold is built to lock in your feet so you feel safe and secure when even the tiniest mistakes are unforgivable. To top it off we’ve added a little Bustin innovation in the form of our new Slide Rail System, designed to keep the board under your feet through high speed, big slides. Every inch of this board has been tweaked by the scientists here at Bustin Brooklyn and we’re as proud as ever to release this new deck to the world.

Well done guys!

King of Parking on TV!
A little while ago I described the King of Parking event that was help at La Defence at the end of January. It turns out that we had some journalists at the event and the result of their work can be seen here.  Enjoy!


Starting off January with a bang

Happy New Year folks!

The good new is that I made my flight! Yay! It only took around 7 hours instead of 1 but we made it in the end, perhaps with a hint of raindeer power. 2011 is looking good so far, despite now having a slightly rounder figure thanks to the obligatory feasting. It was all worth it though!

It looks like Paris has made the headlines in the latest Concretewave Magazine scheduled to hit the shelves at the end of the month (thanks for spotting this Bustin):

For those of you who aren’t subscribed, it is usually possible to find online versions of the newest issue. I’ll post up a link once I receive it.

In other news, some big races are already being talked about state-side. The date of next stage of the Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon in San Diego has been tentatively put forward as the 19/03/11. If the Miami event was anything to go by, then this race will really go off!

A special three-day stage race in Georgia-Alabama is set to see the light of day in May – more information also here. This multi-day race is not for the faint-hearted (it’ll be around 200 miles in 2 days) but should take place on one of the most beautiful Greenways in the USA: The Silver Comet Trail.

This ‘Tour de France’ style format is yet another new direction for long distance skateboarding and testimony to the creativity of people, like Marion Spear Karr who is heading the organisation of Georgia-Alabama event in May. By the sounds of things, along with marathons, this is set to catch on as there is already talk of similar events in Holland and Wales later on this year. Let’s wait and see…

 

 


The growth of longboarding…

Below is a rather interesting video which no doubt most of your have already seen. Hosted by the Bustin Family, it gives a personal insight into the reasons longboarding is growing exponentially in all big cities. What better place is there than NYC to showcase longboarding? From what I have seen, there are few other places that are as forward thinking in terms of both board companies (Bustin, Earthwing) and events (Broadway Bomb, Warriors Race)…

A nice touch is that the insight comes through personal interviews with the riders themselves whilst the images of urban riding roll by. This results in a brilliant feeling of being almost personally shown around NYC from a longboarder’s perpective. To non New Yorkers like myself, almost all of the spots are unrecognisable. The tourist areas are missed out leaving only what I’m guessing is the cream of the crop of longboarding spots. If a similar video were to be made in Paris, I’m guessing only the Trocadero would feature…the rest would be the more secluded, secret spots.

The original question “what is the biggest enemy of the New York City longboarder?” gives extra depth to the unique aspects of travelling round NYC using push power, but the ‘Community’ section of the video highlights things that can be found around the world. The fact that longboarding attracts and embraces all different types of people with different abilities, the way each longboarder’s movements make for a ride so unique it’s almost like a signature. These two examples are only part of the reason I find this sport so addictive, but can also explain why creativity in all aspects of longboard can, as Solomon very nicely puts it “go forever”.

Some of the comments on Youtube ask why the riders aren’t all seen to be wearing helmets. This is a good question and appears to have been already addressed by Bustin via their Helmet Wearing Initiative.

I can’t praise and encourage this idea enough. As this sport grows, it is important for companies and individual riders to be aware of the influence that have on others (including the media) and that they should portray themselves as being responsible as well as gnarly.


Strike tweaks – a revelation

I little while ago I wrote about my experience of the Bustin Strike. Last weekend I had a revelation…brought on by these bad boys – RII 42° baseplates:

Finally this board is behaving as it should be – it’s now nimble, ultra carvy (for that favourite sport of ours ‘Pedestrian slalom’) and mega responsive. Okay, so the more pernickety of you out there will say “it’s all about the bushings” and you wouldn’t be wrong but I’ve even had to take out the Sabre X-type cone bushings and use the purple Sabre barrel combo I’ve grown to love, It was just too turny otherwise. Thanks to Alpha Longboards for sourcing and getting these to me so quickly.

Quite frankly, I’m confused as to why are these boards sold with the 50° baseplates. This might also be stopping other riders from getting the best out their boards. I’m also wondering about the Maestro, it seems to have similar angles…this is by no means a dig, but I’m just curious as I’m sure that this must have come to light before now!

 


Bustin Strike – my personal experience

It doesn’t feel like very long ago but it’s now been six months since we met the Bustin crew at the Trocadero which kicked off what was to become Bustin France/Urbandrift. Not long afterwards, the first shipment of demo boards arrived.

In order to get the word out several simple meet-ups were organised. During a carpark session I was lucky enough to try out some of Bustin’s boards including the Spliff, Cigar and Strike. Being an instinctive type of person, I got a good feel for each board after testing each one for a couple of minutes because I knew what kind of ride I wanted.

What was I looking for?
– a board which would be low to the ground (you guys should know by now how much I love my LBL Pusher) and therefore easy to push.
– it should be more manoeuvrable than the Pusher, which would also mean smaller and easier to carry.
– most of all I wanted a board which could handle the various terrain encountered in busy cities seeing as I would use it in Paris.
– it should be suited to tricks such as stand-up slides and speed-checks, things I want to be able to practice and master before the end of the summer.

Board specs:
Length: 97cm/38″
Platform width: 22cm/ 8.6″ (max) 14cm/5.5″ (min)
Construction: 8 ply Canadian maple

Setup:
I initially bought this Strike with the aim to set it up as low as possible. When I put this idea to Brian at Bustin he told me that he would drill some extra holes as for some trucks the ‘normal’ holes (new school) don’t always work well. The result is my board has both the new-school and old-school drill holes to avoid the potential issue of the bolts rubbing against the trucks. In addition to this he sent over some think riser pads (5mm) that I could use to lower the deck even more.

I decided to set the board up with some Paris trucks as I’d tried them on a friend’s board but not really ridden for any considerable time and fancied a change. In addition to this, I put on some ABEC 11 Strikers in 78a (75mm) to enable a more varied riding style to give me the option to perhaps ‘bust a few slides’ if I wanted to.

Setup tweaks – bushings and risers:
Perhaps it was the fact that I was going from a very low deck to a slightly higher deck of a different construction but I wasn’t blown away by how the deck felt, especially having heard people speak of the Strike so highly. From this I came to the conclusion that this initial disappointment was down to the set up I was using.

The first thing I tried was to change the stock Paris bushings and play around with some different ones. Here are the different ones I tried:
– Sabre 88a Purple (barrels)
– Venom SHR 88a Sea foam  (cone and barrel)
– Venom Standard Purple 87a (cone and barrel)
– Sabre orange cone 86a and purple 88a barrel combo (my favourite)
– Venom SHR 88a sea foam cone and purple 88a barrel combo (2nd favourite)

Sabre F/X type combo

I also changed from the 5mm risers to using normal thin (~2mm) shockpads because I didn’t want the turnier set up to risk getting wheel bite. However, this is me being a scaredy cat as the Strike can easily cope with bigger wheels – on silverfish it was reviewed with 83mm wheels.

The result was much better, the quality bushings really helped both when initiating and coming out of turns as well as making them deeper.

Setup tweaks – trucks and angles
The ride had improved considerably but I was sure that I could still get more out of the deck. By it’s shape, it’s built to turn since the Strike is wedged both at the front (13 Degrees) and at the rear (7 Degrees). Having exhausted all my possibilities with the Paris trucks, I decided to swap them for my Randal and the difference was considerable. I’m currently using 50° baseplates but after reading up on the subject it is recommended to use 42°. I’m going to order these baseplates at some point to see what difference they make. Still Randals are the trucks I would recommend with this board and they make for a very lively and enjoyable ride.

Another thing, I’m going to try is to flip the hangers on the Randals and see if it makes any difference.

Bustin also recommend Bear Grizzly 184mm for the Stike. Although I’ve not had the chance to try these myself, I’ve heard really good feedback.

Deck shape and flex
One thing which sets the Strike apart from the rest is it’s unique shape. I’m pretty sure that it is safe to say that this can be said of all the Bustin boards. As can be seen in the picture below, the Stike is a little narrower at the back than at the front. At first this change in width felt a little strange, but now I’ve spent some time getting to grips with this board I’ve found an advantage to this shape: control.

I think I’ve got average sized feet (USA 10/ EU 43) and my rear foot when placed on the board is a little bigger than the deck. This means that when cornering, I have an edge to either ‘grip’ with my toes or push down on with my heel. This creates a very safe feeling of being completely in control as well as helping to initiate more powerful turns and slides.

The camber, which is set towards the front of the deck is there to help propel you along when pushing. It flexes after the push giving you a little extra ‘omph’ and rebound to help with that next push. It’s a pretty clever idea but not really surprising given that Bustin is championing PushCulture and the ‘screw the train, just Push’ mantra!

Although I’ve yet to spend much time practising manuals or dropping off curbs, the nose and tail both are both very inviting. Another small modification which I can recommend is to add a small piece of grip tape to the nose – I’m not sure why no-one thought of doing it at the same time as the tail because it seems obvious to me…

The flex is very discrete and works perfectly with the purpose of the board in mind. It’s definitely in the stiffer category but is also forgiving and rougher surfaced road vibrations are absorbed nicely making for a comfortable ride. The stiffness is also key to the general feeling of stability and dependability I feel when riding the Strike and probably comes from the all-wood construction.

As I’m pushing myself somewhat the board has taken a fair few knocks and I can say that it is tough! All the marks are purely cosmetic and the general construction seems to be of a high standard. Proof to me that good quality wood is used in making the deck.

Graphics
Bustin are well known for the customisation possibilities offered by their website and I can confess to becoming pretty engrossed in the process of working out the various colour and graphic combinations which were available. I ended up with a pretty simple, yet effective design in black and white which contrast nicely with the maple used to make the deck:

The signature which can be found on the bottom right of the board add as welcome human touch which completes the custom feel of the build.

Parting words
Having now worked through the setup niggles, this is a board I’m finding myself coming back to time and again. It’s a very fun deck and it has helped build my confidence to improve the more technical aspects of my riding such as slides and stand-ups. It’s not a deck I would choose for a long distance journey or when wearing a heavy backpack, but that is clearly not what it is designed to do.

This board performs best when it is in the environment it was born in – the city. Weaving through pedestrians, accelerating away from traffic lights and ripping it up on quieter stretches of town are where this board shines. All in all the perfect urban machine…

 


Event Report: GreenSkate Paris 2010

For the first time on 18/04/10, Riderz organised a GreenSkate that took Paris by storm. Under a beautiful clear blue sky the warmth of the spring sun drew longboarders from around the Paris region to take part in this international event.

There were two sides to the The Paris Greeenskate. Those wanting to test their knowledge of the city and their legs could take part in an orientation race taking in many of Paris’s sights.

All together, more than 50 people took part in the race. Here are a few of the early starters:

In order to participate in the race, travel cards and metro tickets had to be given to the organisers for safekeeping. In order to confirm passage as a checkpoint, a photo had to be taken:

The race participants really gave it their all with the fastest completing all the checkpoints in around 2h30m for a total distance of around 35km. Proof that the longboard is a fast, environmentally friendly and sustainable means of urban transportation as well as being good exercise for the body.

Those wanting to spend their Sunday in a more relaxing fashion could just soak in the atmosphere around the start/finish area on the banks of the Seine.

Boards were on offer to test both from Bustin and Blackkross who played a big part in making the day a success with their team and providing a much needed apéro:

At the end of the day an impromptu slide contest also took place with over 100 spectators:

Overall the event was a huge sucess which brought together more longboarders than I have seen together at any event in France outside of the 2008 Paris Slalom World Cup at the Trocadero.

It is important to note that the event was born from the collaboration of many people who were all brought together by the motivation that Paris as a major capital city should have it’s own GreenSkate – we did it and it rocked, proof that the Paris scene longboarding scene can rival any other.

A big thanks to all who made this possible: Riderz, SkateFurther, Longboardskate, Blackkross, Bustin and Hawaiisurf. For all photos from the day, check out the Facebook events page here

If you haven’t organised your GreenSkate yet there is still time! Check out the official website http://greenskate.org/ for inspiration and all information.

Thanks to Fantom and Niko for the pictures!


Event report: Skaiti

My head is still fuzzy  with the many wonderful memories from this weekend and my aches remind me that it wasn’t some crazy longboard-filled dream. Longboarding for me has always been a way testing myself both physically and mentally – I try to learn from the experiences I have and I can safely say that Skaiti is up there with the best of them.

When this event was made aware to me back in February I was instantly convinced that I should go but was plagued by doubts. Would it be ‘fun’ enough?, would I physically fit enough?, do I really want to skate for 24 hours? I managed to persuade my collegue Thomas that it would be fun and despite the niggles we booked Eurostar tickets.

More and more people were signing up, the fund-raising goal had been smashed, people were coming from all over Europe and the USA to be a part of this – I was so glad that I’d booked! A little training, some good advice from James Peters from Pavedwave on nutrition and we were ready(ish).

Upon arrival at the hotel on the Friday we said a brief hello to those still awake at 10.30pm, it was great to be greeted by some friendly faces…the Bustin guys, Brian and Terron, who came over from NYC for barely 48 hours were the last to arrive around 1am but were stoked to have finally finished their journey. Here was the motley collection of boards in our room:

We travel lightly!

After some sleep and an all you can eat English breakfast buffet, we made our way to the track thanks to my good friend Tim who came down for the day to support us. Keith also helped by offering a lift, making two trips. We set up camp:

Representing with the Riderz.net banner – 1st time in the UK?
Camping American style – the Bustin guys carbo-loading

After rather frantically getting the camp ready and scoffing some energy bars we were ready for the off:

This was the start of long day of skating around a really smooth and gorgeous track. It quicky became apparent that the track had two personalities. One side (above) was slightly downhill and easy. The other, a massive straight meant riding into a 35kph headwind:

It was not good for the moral and hard work, luckily I got to ride with some pretty special people to help keep up the stoke whilst out on the track:

Tim Pritchard (on right)

 

A big ‘Merci buckets’ for helping make this weekend great. Thanks to Tim and his girlfriend Corrine, both Thomas and I had enough water and food to skate our best.

Laura Hatwell

Thanks for the your great bringage of stoke, encourgement both in French and English, swag, and amongst many other things, the Illuminati test board which will no doubt smash up the Parisienne streets (review to come asap).

Ben Colchester-hall

Great to see you again and skate with you especially during Sunday morning as the wind had returned. I think that physically we were both in the same place and it was nice to have good banter with you as the miles passed by.

The Dutch Crew

I had an awesome time skating and sharing stories with these guys. I was happy to be able to finally put a face to the ‘Jochem’ on the SkateFurther forum. It is partly thanks to them that I kept going until 1am after which I finally hobbled off to my tent to collapse. They stayed up until 4am (I think)…well done for your respective distances and hopefully I’ll be seeing you guys all very soon.

James from Pavedwave

Meeting you was really a high point of this trip. Your achievements are really awe-inspiring and I thourougly enjoyed the laps we did together during Saturday evening. I never got to try that crazy juice blend that seems to give you infinite energy – how did you describe it? Oh yeah, something like raspberry flavour spinach…lovely!

It was also a pleasure to fill you in on such English delicacies as Pork Scratchings.

Plymouth crazy boys

I lost count how many times I got lapped by these guys, Matt (on right in pic) managed 100 miles in around 9 hours (total 161 miles at the end) – an incredible achievement. The whole team in total managed a staggering 385 miles!

Make sure you support these guys in their bid to break the standing record from John O’Groats to Land’s End: www.justgiving.com/orsumjogle

Kieth O’Leary

Awesome to see you again after meeting you at Goodwood last year. Thanks for helping both Thomas and I as well as the Bustin guys get to and from the track. Things would have been much trickier without your kind help!

Thomas ‘Russel’ Roussel

It was fantastic to come over from France with Thomas. Before Skaiti Thomas last longboarded back in 2005! Fueled by Burger King and coffee, Thomas took Britishness and the curiosities of  longdistance in his stride managing a really respectable 63 miles – the round figure of 100km to keep things European. Your sense of humour was a great motivator – especially upon arrival back in Paris when it took you a couple more hours to get home…which is better SNCF or British Rail?! Hmmm…

Overall, what made Skaiti for me was meeting up with so many lovely people – all doing something challenging, not to mention fun for a great cause: Shelterbox. As well as the above, meeting and riding with Brian and Terron from Bustin, Alex Irton, Gav Mc,  Sam Read, Dangerous Danger (never got this Derby girl’s real name) and many others whos name I forgot (I’m bad at names at the best of times!) all made Skaiti really special.

Night-time skating was a great experience during which thankfully the wind died down – the track was beautifully lit by the runway lights:

In the end I reached my aim of skating for 100 miles (160km). I skated from around 12.30 until 1am and then from around 6.30am until 11.30. I’m really happy to have made this distance and things are looking good for future trips. I was really happy with my setup and used the Longboard Larry for the whole event. Brian from Bustin summed the ride up nicely saying something along the following lines:

“You can’t do any thing with this board, it doesn’t turn – absolutely perfect for this event though and awesome to push”

I’d dropped it to around 30mm off the ground with flipped RIIs, Rockin Ron’s Stage 3 bearings and 70mm Retro ZigZags…I got a few more scratches on the bottom though when I tried to pump it…

Finally, I want to thank Jo Coles for organising such a wonderfully run event. The atmosphere was awesome and before and during the Skaiti family were always smiley and helpful. I really hope that this event is going to be held next year!


Ready, set, GO!

Skaiti is almost here and the total money raised has really exceeded all expectations which is great news.

In terms of personal preparation a very busy weekend schedule mixed with some bad weather has not helped to get my strict training regime off the ground. It hovered a little for a moment but then collapsed under the weight of many English cooked breakfasts…still, from what I’ve read, a 24 hour skate is as much about the mind as the body.

Last Monday I managed a nice little outing with my girlfriend for company who was on a Vélib’ , which itself is a great achievement as those bikes weigh in at around 25kg! So we went along this Greenway, out to Sevran past the different gypsy camp-sites and back again – so around 30km.

My food, is pretty much sorted – an assorted mix resulting from a decathlon raid and comfort food:

Camping stuff is sorted and the parcel we thought would never arrive did – behold the Skaiti steed (top right in pic) that I’ll be Bustin out on the track. Apologies for that really awful pun…this is all the gear I’m taking:

The boarding is in the traditional Pirate colours, it’s as low as possible, set up with 70mm Retro Zig-Zags, flipped Randal RIIs, a motley collection of riser pads and a clean set of Stage 3 Missiles. At the moment it stands around 70mm off the ground…hopefully I’ll take to it like a duck to water – I’ve not ridden it yet!

I’m also taking my LBL Pusher as I’m feeling like I want to have the option to swap back to a board I’m really used to. It’s the same setup as the Bustin except that I’ve got it down to an almost underground 30mm – any more and I’ll be scraping the deck!

Skaiti will no doubt be amazing…the turn out is going to be fantastic. Expect a full write-up about both the event and the board as soon as possible! Bring on the Eurostar at 19h13 and the next two meals of pasta!


Grab youself a piece of push culture

The guys at Bustin have added some funky new headwear to their apparel line. This is a limited edition run so get them whilst they’re around as stocks are limited!

They’re specifically designed to make you go faster* and get the sun out from behind those clouds! At the moment we need all the sun we can get!

If you’re wondering about sizes you can check out a chart here which’ll sort you out. Interested? Just drop me a line…

*than a slow thing


Bearing cleaning tutorial

I stumbled across this video tutorial from the kind guys at Bustin. During the rather cold weather that we’ve been having, especially with all the grit that has been put down to stop the ice, bearings are taking a good beating. Whilst the quest for the waterproof bearing continues (watch this space) the best thing is to keep them running smooth.

 

The paint thinner (white spirit) can be substituted with 90% (rubbing) alcohol or if you’re feeling green some citrus cleaner. I cannot stress how important it is to get the bearings 100% bone dry before re-lubing.

Go out and enjoy some cold winter sunshine – it’s a glorious day here in Paris.

I didn’t realise at the time I added it, but the picture in the last post is actually feeding from a live webcam – at every page load the picture changes.


They’re coming…

It’s old news now but I can’t help but write this post as I think that this is just the start of an amazing leap forward for the French scene.

Antoine and Marvin from Bustin France are off on a road trip from Paris to La Rochelle this afternoon to deliver a special parcel full of goodies to New Way Surf Shop. Yummy!

Congrats guys –  and 2010 has only just landed!


It’s still Winter but we’ve got carparks

As far as longboarding goes 2010 has been rather frustrating weather-wise with pretty much non-stop snow and rain. However, despite the wet pavements, this weekend presented me with another longboarding first.

Marvin from Bustin France organised a test session at one of the carparks in the La Defence business district. The idea had crossed my mind before but I’ve always gone for the option to be outside if possible. As I’d been getting itchy feet from lack of riding I jumped at the opportunity to see what was on offer.

I wasn’t disappointed as it was cavernous, empty and complete with classical ambient music! There were slightly downhill sections , followed by pumpable flat repeated over four levels:

Alternatively, a more direct corkscrew affair (weeeeeeee!) was also on offer even if it was pretty sketchy due to dampness, making the ride was closer to snowboarding than longboarding:

To top it all off, a nice lift ride back up to the top which is the ultimate in session elegance! Lines can be discussed and banter exchanged:

This place has got to become part of any future visit to Paris. Big thanks to Marvin for showing us this spot!


Push culture – a new concept?

Happy New Year! Yeah!

Now that’s over, back to business…

Definition (best one found so far here): “It’s about the push culture–a whole mainstream sport based on pushing and the ease of that, as opposed to going slow and not moving far”.

I’ve come stumbled upon this term on a couple of sites now and from what I can tell it results from a variety of elements:

1/I first came across in an advert from a magazine (another version of which was kindly captured on the Skatefurther main page back in August 2009).

It’s quite clever marketing but still has a serious message which made me think – yeah, they’re right. It would be great if more people reached more for their boards and less for their car keys. However, I’m digressing slightly.

2/ Now recently, I came across the new line of Bustin t-shirts with a similar message:

I think that we might be in the early stages of a new trend here, where both longboards and skateboards are being seen more seriously than before, at least by their users as a real mode of transportation, mostly for getting around cities but also as a means of commuting.

3/ Push races – this another trend linked to this movement. 2009 has been the year when, for me at least Push races have taken on a new more independant character with more and more events being organised both abroad and closer to home. Hopefully with some in mainland Europe too…

Perhaps, I’m talking jive here and I’m certainly not trying to assert myself as an expert on the matter, but it seems to me that this new ‘Push Culture’ encompasses both the love of pushing (ie: skating) and the need to try and give culture the push it needs to try and change. I for one am glad to be a part of it…


French happenings – something to be excited about…

Ever had one of those completely unplanned evenings that turns out to be a corker? A little while back a normal Riderz meeting about future events took a little unexpected turn. Word was about that the guys from Bustin Boards were in Paris and we decided to go over to the Trocadero and see if we could catch them.

The word on the street was indeed true – and we had a fun time chilling with them.  A couple of the team riders were there and it was really was nice to meet them and talk about the Broadway bomb, distance skating, that kind of thing and get some gossip from the other side of the pond.

As it happens a collaboration was started that night to help get the French longboarding scene moving. There are quite a few longboarders here in Paris but access to equipment is pretty limited to online shops or completely overpriced Sector 9 boards. Out of this Bustin France was created with the aim of bringing a little more stoke to the French capital. More info here, straight from the horse’s mouth…


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