Words and photos by April Whitlow
The first thing you’re all going to ask after this is…’So what did you do with all the downhill pics?’ I’m just going to get this out of the way and break your heart…I didn’t take any, as a side effect of deciding to take a side-step this year and enjoy the stoke in a more chilled fashion. But don’t worry, I’ll include links at the end to a bunch of awesome galleries by some of the talented photo-snipers who camped out at every bend of the chicane.
Any of the events created by the unstoppable team of UKSSA and DASindustries are part of the backbone of the UK longboard scene in my opinion and in my personal skate journey. They put so much time an energy into making these things happen and ensuring that they are enjoyable events for folks of all skill-levels and spectators alike to enjoy and get involved with.
Every year is different and sometimes I have a tendency to stress myself out for no reason: be it competing or documenting. So, how did I go about it for Razorback 2016?… I took 5 easy-cheesy steps:
Step one: Chill
I spent the better part of both days catching up with all the people I haven’t seen in sometimes over a year. That’s one of the best parts of these events! It’s kind of like an unofficial skate-family reunion that brings people together even if they live in the same city and just get too busy or shredders from around the world who make the effort to find there way to Redbridge Cycling centre just for the weekend.
Step two: Make Friends
I put on my leathers and took some runs with my old friends…as well as with a few new ones. It tends to happen like that, you chat with people when you’re walking up the hill (that shared misery ha ha) or chat over gear etc and boom, a new friend is made.
Step three: Observe
We all had to start somewhere, and where you end up is all up to you and what you find yourself stoked on. There’s a lot of things that still have me in the noob category. Maybe I haven’t practiced enough, maybe i’m scared; who knows, who cares… I still enjoy watching the stuff just as much as participating in other things.
This years Razorback games saw people throwing down a lot of great tricks and moves from the slide jam and slalom to the dance comp and downhill etc.
A meander down to the giant slalom hill showcased some really epic wiggling as top riders made their way through the cones. These guys started the whole Hog Hill skate show back in the day; so next time you see a slalomer at one of these events; make sure to say thank you!
Step four: Participate
Go on, throw your hat in the ring! It’s not all about the winning, sure, but getting out there in a competitive setting does all sorts of good. You test your limits, have fun, learn some humility when you go a little bit further than you’ve done before and bail; all of that stuff.
Yeah, i’m going to go all warm and fuzzy on you all! I remember one of the first games I actually entered in a race…and my real race was against myself…hanging back and trying only to make it to the bottom of the hill. This year I saw a lot of people who were in that same boat and a note to you guys- don’t worry, you’re doing just fine!
The fear back then was so huge- I had a rabbit’s heart (and that little rabbit comes back to say hello before each race even now), but I can’t even describe the feeling of accomplishment and stoke when I got to that finish line and was greeted with fist-bumps and smiles whatever the result. I can’t thank events like this one enough for providing the setting for this.
So, if you have this voice inside your head that says ‘Damn, I wish i could do that!’ This is the sort of event where you can go for it, no matter what skill level you are at. And if that day is just not the day…then so be it, there’s always next time. These guys will still be stoked you’re there and there’s plenty of ways to participate with out hurling yourself down a hill or over a hippie-jump pole, believe me.
Step five: Celebrate the stoke!
Congrats to all the podium standees who placed in their disciplines!! I was super stoked to nab second this year in women too! But also a huge round of applause, smacking of boards et cetera, because it’s all of the attendees from racers to observers, and you guys- the readers who keep this event going and the scene alive-each in some way big or small!!! And we can’t forget all the organizers, event staff, EMTs and volunteers; all of whom kept everyone safe, smiling and the stoke rolling.
No matter what I encourage you guys and gals to consider that if there’s one thing to take away from any event; it’s to look back and celebrate the stoke you felt, and let that push you towards your next skate. That’s the general vibe i got from this year’s Razorback games and I’m super glad for it. Razorback 2016 reminded me how to enjoy the ride!
Thanks for reading! I know this was a little different from my usual event post, so feel free to let me know what you think. Should do more personal accounts like this?
Love you all and stay stoked!
As promised here are some gallery links:
There are still more on their way, I’m sure. For those, just keep your eyes trained on the event page.
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