Not Basketball

John Hanson and Alex Foster - Freestyle SkateboardingThere’s something a little bit magical about the connection between skateboarders and basketball courts. To many people, a basketball court is exactly that – a court for playing basketball. Skateboarders however see things a little differently. A basketball court is a perfect spot to hone up flatland skating, film a video part, maybe even hold a contest. So, to everybody out there who plays basketball, we say a hearty thank you – for not playing basketball today.

It was a sunny day in the North of England. Yes, after all these years it finally happened. There wasn’t much wind and it was pleasantly warm – perfect conditions for a quick pre-NASS freestyle practice session.

John Hanson - One handed handstand flip

John can land the one handed handstand flip every single try, it’s amazing!

Skating with other freestylers is a rare and exciting opportunity to work on new tricks together and discuss happenings in the freestyle world. I arrived in Cleckheaton, a little town in the North East of England at around midday and met up with John Hanson, an incredible freestyler and former UK Champion I hadn’t seen since NASS the previous year. After a brief stop for energy drinks, John took me to his local practice spot; a basketball court.

Basketball isn’t a particularly popular sport in the UK these days; feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but most people in the UK tend to prefer playing football (soccer), rugby or tennis, if Wimbledon is on. This means courts in the UK tend to be pretty much empty most of the time and free for skateboarding endeavours.

Alex Foster - 360 Railflip

I got in on the video action as well, this is a personal favourite – the 360 railflip

This was easily the best basketball court I have ever skated. The floor was smooth and grippy, perfect for just about whatever style of tricks you’re into. John started the day off by running through the routine he put together for the 2013 World Championships held at the NASS festival, which he was never able to really do justice due to an injury that put a stop to his skating for over 6 months. After nailing his run a few times back to back, John showed me some of the more insane stuff he had been working on.

John Hanson - nococo wheelie

This is John’s “nococo wheelie” – all trick name suggestions are welcome

My personal favourite of the John’s tricks is a sort of half coco wheelie thing. It’s hard to explain, but whilst rolling, John brings the board up to a coco wheelie but keeps his front foot on the griptape, almost in a kickback position. He then glides, almost levitating, in this position before dropping the board back down. It doesn’t really have a name; I favour the “nococo wheele” but John is open to any suggestions!

Since picking up a new sponsor, local board and clothing company Jckscrwn, John has really been pushing himself. He was amped up to put in an incredible performance at NASS and has been working hard at making technical tricks consistent.

John Hanson - Cannonball

Who does cannonballs on the flatland. John Hanson does

Although it was only a short session, we managed to cram in about 20 minutes of filming before I set off. In the video, you’ll see a pretty cool opening line from John. We must have filmed the first three tricks in that line about half a dozen times but John was determined to make it a 4 trick line. In the clip we settled on, it actually ended up being a 7 trick line but it was cut short due to a twig attack halting my filming – I think I might post up the full clip on the LateTricks facebook page soon.

All in all, a great session with an incredibly underrated freestyler. With the UK Round Up and NASS Festival fast approaching, you can bet you’re going to see a lot more skating from John Hanson soon!