It’s a hard life for the freestylers in the north of England. The last contest held in the north was back in the eighties and the closest contest in recent years was the World Championships in 2006 – and even then they were down in Birmingham! So, for the fourth year running, I would be making the long drive down to the 2014 NASS festival in Bath with a car load of the finest freestyle skateboarders the North of England has to offer.
Joining me this year were John Hanson and newcomer Denham Hill from Yorkshire, along with Scaife Gooch from Penrith; three incredible freestylers with very unique styles. On the agenda this year; crazy no-holds-barred games of skate and a series of demonstrations with a world class team of freestyle skateboarders.
On Friday 11th July, the first day of our adventure got off to an auspicious start. Thanks to a mix of typically dreadful British traffic and inexplicably inconvenient illnessness, by the time we arrived at the festival we had been on the road for over eight hours and had already lost Scaife somewhere around Warrington.Finally, we arrived at the Bath and West Showground. After joining up with Tony Gale, who had been hanging out with the guys from Jimmy’Z and anxiously awaiting our arrival for many hours, along with LateTricks media team members Chris and Laker, we quickly set up our tents and headed out for a brisk skate.
We headed straight for the spot where our demo would be held in the morning, only to find the surface was uneven and littered with pot holes. It was difficult to walk on, let alone skate on, so we continued to wander until we found a well-lit and much smoother spot a short distance away.In 2013, myself, John Hanson and Darran Nolan had a little night-time session which developed into an accidental demo. With a better spot and more people milling about, it didn’t take long until we had again gathered a crowd; except this year it was a much larger and considerably drunker crowd, which turned our casual session into an epic 2 hour demo.
With people constantly coming and going, over 400 people witnessed our little session over the course of the night. For me highlights included the massive roar following Denham Hill’s railflip to rail and Tony “Demo machine” Gale’s back to back 540 shoves and kickflip variations.At one point, our freestyle session was hijacked by a group of street skaters, who started up some high and long Ollie challenges, trying to see how many people they could Ollie at once. In the end, I believe they made it up to six people and a massive super-fast Ollie. Typically, when Ollie-ing over groups of people, skaters will Ollie over the legs to minimise risk. Not John Hanson though; straight for the face! Freestylers really don’t mess around!
It was a little after 2AM when the session finally came to an end. Thankfully, Chris and Laker had booked a family-sized hotel room which came with a settee for me to crash on, so I headed back with them to get a little rest in before the real demos began!
Were you at the festival? Let us know if you had any highlights from our Friday night demo and make sure to check out the LateTricks Facebook page for extra videos and pictures!