This week I talked to one of the people who makes it possible for us to race at IGSA events. If you’ve ever been to an IGSA sanctioned event her face should be familiar to you. Dive into this great interview for great advice about organising your own event.
Hello Liz, where are you from ?
Hey there! I am from the sunshine coast of England, Eastbourne.
Is that where you started skating ?
It is where I first got involved with the downhill scene, an IGSA world cup race was held here, Go Fast Speed Days, which my Father organised, I helped out during the event. That’s where it all began for me.
Does your dad skate ?
He has spoken about learning. He once had a try at ‘street turtle’ and failed miserably, it was most amusing.
How did he get involved with organising an IGSA event ?
He was in charge of tourism and events for the local council, he would look for new ideas for events. He found out about downhill skateboarding, did some research, attended the Rock and Roll event in Austria. He had a famous local road in mind, Beachy head. A famous tourist spot. Its well known for suicides. But has a good road, which he managed to get resurfaced for the event.
What was your role then ?
Hmm.. For the first year, pretty much just sign up.. give riders the Go fast energy drink.. Watch the event. Make friends. Watching the athletes come down the hill was amazing. After the first year I knew I wanted to do what I could to help this sport grow.
Was there a repeat of the event ?
Yah, it started as a small event in 2007, the event ran yearly until sponsorship was lost in 2010. We also realised that the hill was frankly not good enough to be part of the world cup tour anymore, riders improved, better hills were found and Eastbourne was no longer much of a challenge.
Where did the race move to in 2010 ?
It didn’t, a series was in the works, but unfortunately it had to be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. But all is not lost. I managed to find another local hill, again it will never be a world cup, her name is Bo Peep, her first IGSA event happened in 2011 ( Bo Peep Crash n’ Burn) as a regional…but I plan for it to be a continental event for 2012, and she is jaw breakingly delicious.
English people have the most interesting names for your events. Tell us a bit more about this hill and the upcoming event
The 2011 event was a big success for all involved, everyone seemed to have a great time, a lot of crashing was involved. Bo peep has a quick acceleration, it’s a steep bumpy ride into a tight hairpin, breaking is a must! This is where the crashes happen,(costing us a fortune in bales!) Riders then need to maintain their speed through to the next corner and try not to crash on the way to the finish line. Its pretty gnarly, and all about staying on the board anyway you can.
What was the toughest thing about organising this event ?
Closing the road was pretty tough, I had to convince council and police that it was a great idea. Which I did! Other than that I would saybales. Sourcing bales was tough, we had a bad season for the farmers and the price of straw increased a lot, but luckily we managed to get enough to cover the course, I enjoyed the whole aspect of organising the event, so much so I plan to study Internation event management at University. I’m also already preparing for next years race - http://www.lugeschool.co.uk/crashandburn.html
Nice. Aside from planning this event, how was this season for you ?
My role changed this year, I first started out just lending a hand if any IGSA officials needed me. But this year Marcus Rietema (IGSA President) asked more of me, I attended three events in Europe, where I learnt how to manage the race software and how to run the timing system among other things.. I then went over to Canada with Marcus as a race official for the Prince Edward County event.
Marcus has now had a baby(aww) so he has taken a step down from attending the IGSA races and plans to work more behind the scenes. So he offered my Father the job of race director for some of the events, and for me to work alongside him as a race official.
Our first event together was the world championships in Teutonia, Brazil.
Congratulations. What were the Euro races like in comparism to Teutonia ?
Well, there was no rain. That’s a good start! In fact it was hot as hell. But too many evil mosquito’s. Teutonia is probably the scariest hill I have ever seen. Watching the riders on the hill was exhilarating. We had a few difficulties with the language barrier at times, but in general it was a great event with a bit less drama than some of the events in Europe.
I was a bit nervous to start with, not having Marcus there for support was pretty strange. But everything worked out really well, the event was a great experience for me, but it had no after party. Europe is well known for awesome parties!
We do know how to have a good time ! What is your favourite European event ?
Now thats a tough question. I’ll base it on this year. Obviously mine! Probably Kozakov. There was a lot of rain this year but everyone was still in good spirits. Hopefully next year there will be no rain! I also liked Teolo. Apart from the thieves. They had jumbotrons. And a bar at the top.
What’s a jumbotron ?
A massive tv screen, they have about 5 cameras on course connected to the top and bottom via jumbotrons, so you can sit at each end of the course, with some beer (If you’re not skating or working the event obviously)
When you’re not busy organising events what do you do ?
Well, I own a horse, so I exercise him pretty much everyday, hes pretty awesome. It’s good because when I get sick of the horse I can go have a little skate, when I’m tired of talking about wheels and setups I can go chill with the horse. I also like to do the odd bit for charity.
Longboard related charity ?
Um yup, for 2011 I created and produced a charity calendar entitled the Ladies of Longboarding calendar, featuring some on the world best Female riders, In aid of breast cancer research. It sold out! Did you not buy one? Shame on you.
I unfortunately have not. Will there be a 2012 calendar ?
Afraid not, we did the previous shoots for the calendar on the Euro tour, I struggled to find time for it this year, but I plan to create another for 2013.
What do you ride ?
I managed to get my hands on a Rayne Isis thanks to the lovelySpencer Smith
What’s skating in the UK like ?
The scene is getting pretty big, riders seem to get better and better, we just lack insane hills for people to practise on.
Do you have a local crew ?
The Southern Banditos! Bo peep is their local hill, Watch out for them! Especially Giovanni (Juan Griffiths).
Who are the Southern Banditos ?
They started out as three young boys, Oli, Aaron and John, they got into downhill after watching the Speed Days event. They reside in the South East, Their local hill is Bo peep, they drink too much beer, swear to much and shred fucking hard. Watch out for these boys!
So where do the rest of the English people ride?
Well I’m pretty terrible, and still in beginner stages so I skate up and down the seafront when I get the time, but I guess the next step isHog hill, then Bo Peep.. Then I plan to give racing a go. If I don’t need to be working the event.
Will this be your first race/freeride ?
Yup! I guess it’s strange to have a race organiser who hasn’t raced yet. So that’s the next step.
Good luck ! Aside from your event are there any other freerides to look forward to in the UK next season ?
Well I believe there are a few rumours circulating, I guess you’ll have to wait and see!
Tell us more about these UK events ! Will they be open to the continent ?
I really can’t say much… But I’m pretty sure they would be, it would be idiotic not to let other nationalities come!
That’s what we like to hear. What else do you have planned for next season ?
I have been asked to attend Newtons Nation, Australia in April,I won’t quite believe this till I see a ticket though! Bo Peep Crash n’ Burn in June (June 2 – June 4), hopefully Canada, and of course the European circuit where I would like to compete in one of the races. It’s going to be a good year:D
Yeah! Any advice for people who want to organise a freeride/race ?
Yeah, Go and watch a couple of events, lend a hand, get an idea of whats involved then do it! It might seem like a daunting process, but at the end of the day, its an awesome experience, and so worth it to see the sport grow!
We look forward to seeing you on the track (or in the bar).
Choose 3 NUMBERS between 1-11
1, 3, 5, 9, 11
3 – What impact has longboarding had on your life? My life has changed massively in the past 3 years, I never thought I would get to visit all the countries I’ve been to, be given these amazing opportunities, and to meet so many awesome people. Its changed my life for the better.
5 – Who is the best skater you’ve met ? I dunno, if I go by the Best ranked by IGSA. I’ve met the top 10
9 – Favourite song to listen to when you skate
The Imperial march (Darth Vader’s theme)
11 – What’s your favourite sandwich filling ? Meat.
Thank you very much for your time, it was a pleasure speaking to you.
Always a pleasure.