Everything about me pretty much aches today, from soles of my feet to my neck I feel battered and bruised, but I’m still happy.  Yesterday was the first leg of the Southern Freestyle Series at Bracknell and I headed over there despite my hatred of the Permasnow surface that covers the slope because I miss the atmosphere of dry slope competitions and because I wanted to support the local scene, even though it’s not that local to me!  Bracknell was the slope where I learnt to ski, back in the days of TechMat2000 (kind of like Dendix) and I actually wish it was still covered in that as it would have been much easier to ride.

Permasnow is like riding ice, it’s hard to get an edge on and almost impossible to stop or speed check without falling over and it took me about 5 runs before I could find the biting point (I find it much easier to get used to Snowflex & Dendix if I haven’t ridden them for a while).  It was quite funny seeing the non-local riders making their first runs as we were all falling over and looking like beginners.  We soon got the hang of it though, and the weather was pretty much perfect for dry slope, light drizzle meant it was running at a good speed and the cool temperature meant my board didn’t get melted and ruined (as happened to my brand new board a few years ago).  I’m really impressed with the base the guys at Humanity Snow have put on my Plastictastic, it rode well throughout the comp and I was really glad it’s sturdy base coped well with the surface.

The comp itself was quite quiet on the snowboarder front.  The Chatham crew were in Las Vegas so there were only 9 of us.  This was more than made up for by the skiers though so overall there were about 40 competitors, cheering each other on and laughing at the slams.  It was definitely the most fun comp I’ve been to in ages though, it was great to be back on dry slope where people are supportive, encouraging and welcoming to all (something I think can be lacking in the indoor snow scene).  It was also great to have a comp that ran to time, had riders briefings and a structured judging system.  For once it seemed that riders felt they shouldn’t have been placed as highly as they were rather than all the other competitors questioning the positions of the winners.

The comp was run as a 90 minute jam session giving us all a chance to ride the multiple lines of the course and try and get a good mix of tricks down.  It was great to be able to try some new stuff without worrying about falling over, just getting back up and trying again until you’d got it nailed and then moving on to the next bail.  Then it was the fun trick throw down with the judges handing out Haribo and other prizes in exchange for some good tricks on each of the sections.  I wasn’t sure that filling Jake Terry with sweets was a good idea but it seemed to have done the trick, not only did he win the under 14 men’s category but he made it through to the top six eventually finishing 2nd overall out of all the snowboarders.

The final itself was run as a best of two run final, giving those that qualified the opportunity to show if they could perform under pressure as well as in a more relaxed jam format.  The top 6 skiers and top 6 snowboarders regardless of age or sex made it to the final and it was great that out of the 6 boarders there were 2 girls in the final.  Unfortunately I slammed on both my runs so despite finishing 2nd in the over 14 girls group I failed to beat the boys and finish in the top 3.  I’m not going to complain though, I think the right people ended up in the right positions and we all had a great deal of fun doing so.  A big shout out has to go to Sabrina, the girl I was up against, as it was her first dryslope comp and apart from a session at Calshot (which if you’ve been there will know it doesn’t really give you a chance to really get that dry slope feeling) her first time on dry slope.

The prizes were brilliant, ranging from boots to helmets & jackets and I came away with a helmet, shoulder bag and snowboard bag, so that combined with the fact that I got 5 hours riding for my £15 entry fee made it more than worthwhile!

I had a really great day so thanks to everyone involved in the organisation, sponsorship & judging.  I’m really looking forward to the next legs at Chatham (22nd May) and Warmwell (12th June).

I have just one request, please can we have less drum and bass and more hip hop in the decks?  Thankfully I was wired for sound via my iPod and i360 headband but I know that the majority of riders and spectators I spoke to didn’t really enjoy the tunes.

Thanks to Brian Miller (Dad) for capturing some of my slams… you can see I haven’t lost my touch!!

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  1. Jeff Menday

    Cool review Kat, Sounds like a lot of fun and very relaxed, loved your comments about questioning judges about results . I also agree that the indoor scene can be a little clicky! Although that is something both BeXx and I try and strive against at MK. BeXx was gutted she could not come to this as both Jane and I had to work. She should be at Chatam with out a doubt, and will bring Cerys her new riding buddy at MK as well. Hope you are well and might see you on Saturday at the Maverix night??

  2. Hey Jeff, yeah it was a great comp, really looking forward to the next two. It’ll be good to see Bexx and her friend at Chatham if you can get down there,
    We’ll be at MK on Saturday, Jools is doing the photos now he can lift his camera again. Should be a fun night 🙂

  3. Darren – it really was fun, despite all the slams….then again if you’re not falling you’re not trying!
    I’ll definitely be letting everyone know about the next 2, it’d be good to get a few more one-plankers there

    John – thanks, see you in Chatham

  4. Tristan

    It was a really good event and that was a good honest review kat and yeah you rode well, it would have been nice to see a few more, for the record there were 9 boarders, don’t want my 7th place looking too rubbish! Tristan

  5. Kat, we at Southernfreestyle thank you for your support on Saturday (
    We have been striving to introduce the fun element back to the competition scene, it’s just great to hear your feedback. The next two legs of our series will be equally as enjoyable. Spread the word it’s cheaper to sign up in advance and save £5.
    Probably right about Jake Terry and all those E numbers!
    See you on the 22nd of May at Chatham in Kent.

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