Saturday August 16th saw the first leg of the 2008 Westbeach Snowflex Series roll into Bearsden slope in Glasgow, technically speaking it half rolled into Bellahouston on the Friday night for a jam session and party but I didn’t make it due to an inability to move following one too many slams at CasVegas the night before.
This was the first event of the season to have both skiers & snowboarders competing on the same day so it was a good opportunity for old friends to catch up on what’s been happening since last season.
The Westbeach Snowflex Series is the brain-child of Wayne Taylor, shop owner (AKA Snow Skate) instructor & mentor to local riders at Halifax and is in it’s 2nd year having expanded from the annual Cock of The North competition and is set up to run as a fun jam session comp, with a jam session final for the top 5 in each category culminating in the 2 run final final for the top 3 rider’s/skiers in each group. What this translates to in reality is loads of riding for everyone with a nice show-down at the end of it to see who can squeeze that last bit of energy out of their legs and nail the trick of the day to take the title. I’m not kidding when I say it’s loads of riding, practice started about 10am giving everyone 3 hours to get used to the kicker and start throwing some stuff down. There were then two 45 minute jam sessions for the Over 16s and then Under 16s and women, these saw the competitors really getting into it, working through their arsenal of tricks, in some cases (mine!) starting small with some straight airs and grabs moving onto basic spins, in others, well they started big and got bigger! It has to be said that the standard was amazing with 7s all over the place from the guys (skiers & snowboarders) with 3’s & 5’s being the order of the day from the girls.
One of the nice things about this series is that although it’s a competition the atmosphere is great, people chatting on the lift’s and at the top, supporting each other as they drop in and lots of cheers when good tricks are nailed. Without too much pressure everyone really gives it their best shot, because of the jam format no one’s put off from trying something new because they know that they can keep trying until it’s nailed and then move on to the next trick. I must admit that I only landed a few tricks in the whole competition, I could have stuck to doing my safe tricks and just spent the day working through a range of grabbed straight airs, but where’s the fun in that? So I tried to step it up and started spinning, OK so the landings weren’t great, but we’ve all got to start somewhere and I was getting pretty close to nailing an elusive backside 360 by the end of it. If it had been a simple 2 run format then I wouldn’t have bothered trying and certainly wouldn’t have got as much out of the 840 mile round trip as I did.
Once the jam qualifications were out of the way we moved on to the jam finals, the top 5 in each group went through and we started again, MC Sketch (of Syndicate Clothing) was a tad quiet on the mic as I think some locals weren’t enjoying his cutting edge vocalisation & joke stream but he was supporting the rider’s providing encouragement & letting us know when the judges were finding it hard to split riders to go through for the 2 run final, with only 3 going through everyone was really pushing themselves and the lads started to move on from 7s to 9s! It was almost hard to ride because you wanted to watch everyone else (luckily I didn’t make the final so got a chance to do just that for the final 2 runs)
Before the final final we had the fun & games of the Team comp, in this everyone gets together in teams and rides for fun & glory, dropping in one after another we saw trains, stiffies, stunts and quarter pipe action…..organised chaos doesn’t come close, in fact organised & precise chaos may be closer as when you have 5 people hitting a kicker in close succession it can be a bit nerve wracking if one of them falls!
The day finished with the 2 run final around 5pm, 7 hours after the first practice kicked off and I’m sure that people must have been getting a bit tired (I certainly was) but still we saw some amazing riding, no one held back and I’m certainly glad that I wasn’t called on to judge things!
This weekend’s comp had the best atmosphere of the season so far and I can’t wait until the next leg at Halifax on 13th September, get it in your diary now and come along…..whether it’s to compete or just to watch some amazing riding it’ll be well worth the trip!
Thanks must go to Wayne & Debs for organising it and all the sponsors for providing support & prizes!
Under 16s Skier Boys
Under 16s Snowboarder Boys
Will Smith (The English One)
Will Smith (The Scottish One)
Best Unsponsored Skier â€“ Andrew Matthews
Best Unsponsored Snowboarder â€“ Rhianna Nuttall
Endeavour Trip to Tignes â€“ Rhianna Nuttall
Technine Unsponsored â€“ Marc McClement
Team Event â€“ Team Big Nose