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.
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).
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!
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!