I was flippin knackered AS HELL! ‘Best night in London by far’, I thought as I stumbled home at the end of the day. We had taken over the streets on skateboard or bike and shut the city down! Raved in the middle of Oxford Circus, took up some causes, and raised our boards in freaking chaos! My badges: a scraped up arm, knee, torn jeans, worn down shoes, and a body that was going to ache like none other in the morning. Critical Mass–done!
We amassed randomly, some at the train station and some at Southbank. It was a mix of costumed get-ups and regular clothing as it was Halloween weekend and we all got ourselves a fair share of stares as we glided along on longboard. Getting closer we found ourselves dodging tourists along the Thames-walkway and the wheels of our boards clicked noisily over the tiled paving. They commented in curious amazement at this group of skaters in their midst, and the whispering stirred my anticipation.
Finding the other skaters everyone hugged, said hellos and checked out the crowd that was milling about. There were hundreds of us! Hundreds of skaters, cyclists and who knows what! Gradually the crowd shifted to the roadway next to the National Theatre. I waited there anxiously awaiting the go-ahead. Suddenly I hear a series of voices yelling out “Go! Go! Go!” and we were off!
From here began a series of flashing memories fuelled by adrenaline, Redbull and pure excitement. I pushed along trying with all my effort to keep up and stay on. Having only begun to learn to skate just a few months ago; It was skate or die (at least in my mind it was), and skate I did. Bikes carting speakers and ghetto blasters filled the night with club beats and we filled the streets, forcing posh looking cars to a crawl as we passed by. We laughed with our newfound power in numbers as the vehicles helplessly sounded their horns.
In a blur we passed by famous monuments: Big Ben, Euston Station, Saint Pancras Station, the Fleet Street statue, and countless others. As we rounded a steep downward curve on a dark London street I realised I had been there just one week earlier in my mate’s car. I thought suddenly with a thrill that these were streets I had only ever passed by on foot or by bus, and this time I was flying down them on my campus v-tail cruiser board.
I had just gotten going when suddenly a board clipped my wheels and sent me diving to the street. As we tumbled I scraped my arm, knee, and tore a massive hole in my jeans. In the shock of it I didn’t feel a thing and only wanted to get back up and continue on. The guy apologized profusely but I assured him it was ok and laughingly called the bloody red patches my badges for the night, my souvenirs even.
At stoplights, friends reunited and the drink flowed freely. Through the course of the ride I somehow ended up with a can of beer and a can of cider both! A cheerful man on bike offered to let me rummage through his backpack for a can of whatever I could find. To my delight I dug out a can of strawberry flavoured Magners Cider. “my favourite” I thought with glee as I thanked the man and popped open my drink. I clutched the open drink as we approached a killer steep hill and tried with all my might to keep the can up and not completely eat pavement as we hurtled down.
Critical Mass is known to be somewhat political, and though I knew it, I heard a variety of causes being spouted. Most said it was a night to raise awareness of cyclist and boarder rights. One cyclist told me as we waited for the group to make their way in a ridiculous mass through the McDonalds drive-through that it was to remember a girl who had died recently after being hit by a London bus when on her cycle. Many people I found though were just filled with the excitement of doing something this crazy in a large group. I took all of this in as part of the experience and found myself filled with a vague sense of purpose alongside my giddy enchantment with the event.
As we kept on we stopped randomly at intersections and roared, raising our boards and bikes in the air. The bikes carting music blasted as we danced in the middle of the street. Shutting down Oxford circus round-about, we raved and yelled as car-horns sounded around us. “you little rebel” my friend, Rob, commented with a grin as he saw me hoist my cruiser board in the air with a loud shout and smile.
A guy dressed as the cookie monster ran about saying; “Cookie! Cookie!” with cookies on offer in his paw. I took one with a slight doubt in my mind about the safety of this cookie but ate it anyway. Just after this our young Jorge, who was dressed as Pedo-bear (the web-famous Japanese viral icon) found himself tackled to the ground by another boy dressed as the infamous bear. The two comically tousled and chased each other down Oxford street and we laughed at the random hilarity of it all.
We skated and skated for hours alongside the cyclists. Passing by Buckingham Palace my legs were turning to jello and it was getting harder and harder to keep my board straight with the uneven pavement and walkways. Bruno, a friend from the skate society, came along dressed as Mario and offered his hand for a tow. I held on as he pulled me along and slung me past him. The cyclists were also extremely kind and helpful and offered their bikes to help tow some weary boarders up hillsides.
I happily bathed in the camaraderie as we pushed along for the last few miles around to St. Paul’s Cathedral. The infamous tent village that had set itself up on and around it’s steps (thus forcing the cathedral to shut its doors for the first time since the war) shouted happily when they saw us approaching. Our two crowds merged together in that night as we came to a stop. Wearily we picked up our boards. I felt my legs stumble as if with drunkenness, but only so because the muscles felt completely worn through. “To waterloo?” became the question as the people who needed to catch last trains home contemplated their departure, and we hopped on our boards for one last stretch.
Each square of pavement felt like a boulder underneath my wheels and the stairs we climbed to cross the pedestrian bridge back to the station felt like Mount Everest. That adrenaline and excitement that had kept us going was waning and everyone struggled up the stairs, laughing and complaining playfully.
Three of us wandered down to the station’s McDonalds and picked out greasy fries and carbonated drinks. Hungry and exhausted we dug into the junk food, said our goodbyes and scattered as each person took different trains home to their London suburbs. When I found my train I sank into my seat exhausted but with memories that would last me a lifetime circling underneath my eyelids, memories of the best friends anyone could ask for and one of the craziest nights in my life: skating, dancing, raving, and shouting our hearts out into the night.
Is the Glode Prowler Cruiser Longboard a good Longboard in relation to its price? what do you think of Madrid longboards and losee longboards?
I’ve just had a look at it. It comes with stock (globe?) wheels and trucks, and sells for double the price of a mindless board with similar quality hardware. You can get a second hand top of the range board for a little more money. So no, it’s too expensive for what it is. Madrid longboards look well made, I haven’t ridden one so I can’t give an objective review of their boards. One of our members won some stuff in their last prize draw - http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=NZ0ZotnVjZg , so they are awesome for that.
Yes his name is Frosty. Londoners have the best names
That was awesome. Absolutely amazing. People really took the star wars theme and ran with it. Highlight must have been the race/lightsabre battle between boba fet and obi wan kenobi.
Ah and the girls. haha. I won’t say anything till you see the pictures. Love coming back to London and going straight into a critical mass. For me this is what longboarding is about - a nice cruise through your city.
Hit up a lot of new routes/spots tonight. Skated uphill to kings cross for about 5 minutes and we were rewarded with a GNARLY run on the other side. Apparently it killed 2 longboarders. I will be sending flowers to their unborn children. The last statement was a classic example of jesting.
We had louis and bruno (#1 and #2 slalom skaters in the UK) come as mario and luigi, cristina was princess peach. Jealous you weren’t here yet ? We only pushed for about 4 hours but I feel like someone beat me with a lot of plastic straws filled with liquid lead. A few months ago I wouldn’t have been able to get up to skate the next day, it’s 3am now and the ninja skate starts at noon. Yeah. I will not be posting anything for a while. I’ll be either dead or dead. From skating. Not to be confused with being deceased.
Oh wait lowpoint of tonight’s mass. One of the sound systems started playing my favourite artist - Fela Kuti and I jumped up in glee and accidentally handled a nice lady’s mammary glands, then the guy CHANGES the song. Oh, I was living. Like really what kind of dirty tease is that ?
We must have had 70-80 skaters tonight. Epic in many proportions.
Big love to the southend pirates who came all the way from essex in large numbers to skate with us. Love those dirty scoundrels.
It’s that time of the month again. And for the second time in a row - the sun is blazing in post summer London. Really looking forward to the skate tonight. And my faith in this social network is now cemented as one of our stalkers/followers/minions is now posting on the event page every 5 seconds. I didn’t think anyone from England read this blog. Or that anyone who would want to partake in our awesome awesomeness. So yay for internets and for tumblr. My costume for tonight. It will be epic. As it is star wars theme, and as I am, you know - the one, I will be going as THE FORCE. Yes. I will be going as an ideal, as an abstract, ubiquitous in the galaxy. Like gravity, only nerdy. The pictures from this weekend will blow you. Away. Fingers crossed for at least one princess lea.
so im going to germany next summer and i have 2 longboards. a 32 inch one and a 38 inch one. im only bringing one of them, but i really wanna bring the 38 inch one. is it possible to bring the 38 inch one as carry on?? or would u recomend that i bring the 32 inch one?
Normally the maximum dimensions of carry on luggage is 22 inches by 10 inches. So unless you’re a girl in a short skirt, I can’t imagine you being able to get away with carrying your board on. Options
- check it in using a kitesurfing bag, or a big gym bag. - get in touch with a local crew through Longboard Europe (www.facebook.com/longboardeurope), if you attend one of their sessions you can loan a board while you’re there. Depending on how long you’ll be there. - check if your airline has special allowances for sporting equipment. You may be able to put it in the hold.
PS, London isn’t that far from Germany ! Come skate with us too !!!
Did your plane let you take your board on as a carry on?
When I went to madrid, I took my haleiwa. It’s about35 inches, so it fit in there fine. Virgin Atlantic lets you check in sporting equipment for free, so it’s worth checking with your airline to see what the rules are.
So if you live in Europe or on Facebook you’ll have heard of the awesome initiative we European riders are starting this halloween (and hopefully forever). The gnarlliest halloween ever - Gnarlloween
So right now about 20 crews all over Europe will be putting on sessions next weekend and everyone will be doing it in fancy dress. As you all should already know, we are putting on 2 awesome sessions in London.
Gnarlloween critical mass on Friday
And a ninja skate on Saturday.
We are running a little competition as well for the best Gnarlloween costume and the best Gnarlloween crew video. Send both to our email -firstname.lastname@example.org and we will post it on our fanpage - www.facebook.com/LongboardEurope
This will be AWESOME !
Big thanks to Ra and the rest of the team for the hard work!
So I went out to the mall to buy a board for my buddy. He wanted a sector9 player. I went to a different mall to last time. There were NONE. The gods of skateboarding must have read my last blog entry about shops in America and thought “screw this guy”
So at this point I’m royally screwed. I now retract my statement. I need a shop that stocks lots of sector9 boards before I go back to London. Have mercy oh god of thane.
So I missed the broadway bomb this year. Major bummer, I guessed the weekend wrong, but hey I’m still here. I’ve spent the last week subscribing to the american version of a healthy diet. I am now 3kg heavier than when I arrived. I blame jetlag and rain for my not skating. If you skate everyday and you stop for a week, without reducing the amount of food you eat, you will get fat. Fact. Let my story be a lesson to you.
As you do when you’re on holiday - you go shopping, and like most normal human beings, you get excited when there are longboard outlets in the mall and you don’t have to pretend to be interested in the overpriced, impractical over hyped shiny objects. So I went into a Zumiez, they had longboards, loads of them. The shop assistant asked me what kind of board I wanted, as you should all know, I already ride a sector9 with sidewinders. I love it to it’s individual bamboo strands, but one cannot live on bread alone. As it turns out there were loads of copies/variations of my board. So back to the quirky little shop girl. Turns out she doesn’t even skate. Well not that much. She rides her friends board once in a while ‘around his campus’, I’m guessing that means once while he was out shopping. Anyway she was most unhelpful/ill-equipped to advice anyone over the age of 5 about what to buy. Although she did recommend the duff beer simpsons board, which came with a can opener. Awesome. I was also met with this same great level of knowledge and service in all the other mall outlets. Which all just happened to stock the same brand in different colors (spelt wrongly for solidarity with our cousins on this side of the pond). After a few hours of not being able to find anything suitable for anyone who already had a sector9, I was a tad bit frustrated. I now understand some of the stigma normal Americans receive from people who don’t longboard. All they see in their malls are shops selling one brand of board, but not helmets of this brand, or gloves or pads (at least not in any of the outlets I was in). With the blind selling to the blind in a country as flat as the arctic is cold, it’s no surprise longboarding ‘bros’ are perceived how we in London perceive people who live in East london and ride fixie bikes. Refer to THAT YouTube video.
With this awesome reintroduction to the mall skate shop, I finally unpacked my board and made my way downtown to the Longboard loft, home to Bustin Boards and Push Culture news. Oh my bloody goshtastic mess !! Manhattan is beastly. I walked one block, and once again had my definition of push culture redifined. They don’t have double decker buses, but the crazy taxi drivers more than make up the death factor. The west end bomb (hyde park to trafalgar square) takes about 7 minutes skating very fast. There is absolutely no comparism, no parallels to broadway. I thought about skating all of broadway. Alone. Without first telling my friends how much I loved them. It didn’t happen. Madrid was awesome, the roads are massive and they all go DOWN. NY trumps this. Ok so I didn’t skate it so I can’t make an accurate comparism but I know hills when I see them and there were very little flats. I feel like I just realised the earth isn’t flat. Oh yeah, I left home without my board. Because you know… they sell them in the loft !! So as a tech savy young longboard literati, I sent @bustinboards a tweet warning them of my arrival. I arrived. I was acknowledged at the door. It could have something to do with my Longboard Europe tshirt. Maybe. Oh. You’ve heard about the longboard loft ? It is beautiful. Name a board. any board. No really do it. Yeah they had that too. Ok I have a flair for the dramatic, they had every brand. Every style of board, some really nice old school skateboards on display as well.
Racks on racks on racks.
Had a really nice chat with Solomon. I thought I was the eccentric outgoing longboard dude. Ha ! The dreaded bustin man is the one. Had a really good chat and tried EVERY single bustin board, even those ones you haven’t seen on their sit yet. Yeah that’s how I roll. On 4 wheels. Boom. I left with a beautiful new bamboo baby. Mine. All mine. This really saved my perception of american skate culture after the abysmal outing to the mall. I am not a teenage girl, I will not be returning to the mall. Oh and I noticed a skatefurther trophy on the table at the loft. UK representing ! Next year there will definitely be a london contingent doing the broadway bomb, but with no illusions of it being easy. People will die, but not my people. Already so stoked for next year, going to have a lot of special European sessions.
Peace and gnar, G
Note: Oh and I got a free bustin tshirt. My plan is to have a tshirt from every crew/shop in the world by this time next year. Can swap a london longboards tshirt for your local crew tshirt or a longboard europe tshirt for a shop tshirt. Or however.
So the month of september has just finished (sort of). And it was amazing. Straight after the most epic summer of
Longboarding London has ever seen. There was a bit of pressure to make sure the stoke levels remained high. So what did we do ? A LOT of bloody good Longboard sessions.
So as most people who skate in crews will know, over summer you skate with a load of new people but never really get to sit down and get to know them, so the first thing we did in september was an “end of summer” BBQ.
In typical London fashion, it rained. It rained a lot. But the people still
Came, oh they came a lot. Giggidy.
We met in Victoria park in east London. There’s a cafe (Pavillion Cafe) in their and the people who run it have a massive love for our group and offered to sponsor this whole event. For free. No strings. So we turned up, drank their alcohol, ate their food, skated and left happy.
So that was the first weekend, September 10 was the day of the annual board meeting, where everyone turns up in a suit and goes longboarding. This session was part of one of the UK’s oldest longboard traditions - the Bath to Bristol, organised by lush Longboards. We all payed a £10 donation to McMillan cancer support to take part and over £5,000 was raised for a really wonderful charity.
The skate was amazing. Only 19 miles from bath to bristol. Shorter than critical mass but done in a 6th of the time. Definitely the hardest long distance push I’ve done.
Every single crew was representend, from Plymouth to Southampton to Aberystwyth. Got to talk to a lot of old friends who I would love to skate with more. We had about 200 people turn up. Oh yeah did I fail to mention, the London boys were the last to turn up, so we had to race to catch up.
And yes of course it rained. But only a little.
After the big push came the slide jam and BBQ. On a totally unrelated note, there’s a girl in Plymouth called Fiona. She rides a Bhangra/demonseed. Remember the name. That is all.
We may have been pulled over on the drive back to London for speeding.
A really nice touch were the tshirts made for everyone who came. I will definitely be stealing this idea and making one off tshirts for events.
Next weekend skated local, ballet it rained. we slid. It was good.
Fastforward to 22nd - 25rd. Madrid. Best. Ever. Already written 3 posts about this. Find them. Read them. Be jealous. Don’t miss out next year.
As if this wasn’t epic enough we had the best critical mass. Ever. Great end to an epic month.
Coming up in October - Slide comp (done, it was epic), Hogtoberfest. (downhill madness, it will be epic), Gnarlloween. (you already know - fancy dress critical mass and a very special session on Saturday 29th October. )
So to those of you who keep wondering if we close shop after summer. No. Never. Skate all year !