This is what it’s like to enter a skate competition for the first time…
Written by Jazz Gordon
I attended the Skateboard GB National Championships on the 11th April 2021 at Graystone Sports Centre in Manchester. This was my first experience of a skate competition, having only skated for a year and a half. I was invited as a reserve for Park. There were two types of events: park and street, with both male and female categories.
I was stoked that I was even invited to attend, given the short amount of time that I have been skating. I was so super excited to be invited. Told all my friends and family, however I knew the chances of me actually having to compete were slim, I was just grateful that I had been invited.
THE LEAD UP
I received my invite on the 6th April. It was pretty short notice, but I had nothing to do, so gratefully accepted the invite to skate as a reserve.
I was sent all the information about the competition the next day via email. I had to upload a photo and also write a rider profile, which included things such as; Stance, how long you’d been skating, how many comps you’d entered, even random stuff like favourite food (I only realised I had to fill this in on Saturday night, oops). I submitted the information and hoped I hadn’t submitted it too late.
During that week, the competition is all I had talked about, I had just started a new job and also bought a new car. I was full of positive vibes and high energy all week.
Sunday morning came. I got up a 05:30 and left the house at 06:30. I had to be in Manchester at 9am (an hour before our practice time). This allowed time to take a covid test, receive goody bags from tech deck and have portraits taken.
The layout of the day stood as so:
I had never skated a Greystone before, so once I had my pictures taken, received my goody bag it was straight to practice. I was super excited to skate Graystone, it had been on my list of parks to visit.
When I arrived at the main park, it was explained to me that I was only skating in the bowl. This was a surprise to me, as I thought park meant the whole park and not just the bowl. I was not expecting this, all I could do was pump around a bowl, and maybe get a little front air… but that was all.
Walking over to the bowl was so daunting, a lot of these girls had been skating for years, they were absolutely shredding the bowl. It was amazing to watch but also daunting, as I knew I was not on their level. For most of the practice I froze and just stood there, I maybe had 5 runs of the bowl if that… I just felt like I should not have been there, this knocked my confidence, and made me feel a bit low.
It was so great to watch the other competitors shred. All the girls were super supportive to one another. They were all cheering each other on, it was a good vibe all in all.
Due to covid, once we had finished our practice, we were not allowed back into the park until the competition was due to start. A bunch of us went and hit a few parks outdoors in the local area, it was great to skate with such talented skaters, who had such awesome energy and vibes about them!
The weather was hit and miss, sunny, snow, then sleet, then sun. So, retreating into cars to cover from the rain happened often. The day went by fast, as soon as we knew it was nearly 6pm, and nearly time for the girls to compete.
The whole competition was being broadcast on BBC Sport. There were cameras everywhere. The other competitors (women’s street, men’s park and men’s street) were allowed to watch the competition from the balcony, providing that we all had face masks on (unless exempt).
The girls had worked so hard, now it was their time to shine! No one knew the order that they were going to be competing in, until the announcer, announced it. They had 5 mins to practice before the first competitor stepped up
to the bowl for her first run.
The reserves for the competition also watch from the balcony, this was great as we could see first- hand as to what was happening in the competition. It was only when I was watching the competition as to how daunting that this may have been for the girls competing. They all looked like they were having the time of their lives, everyone looked full of energy and that they were enjoying every moment of the competition. It was so nice to see! People on the balcony cheering them on also. As this was my first skate competition, I did not know what to expect.
Everyone skated so well, it was amazing to watch skateboarding at this level, as much as I was overwhelmed, it was a great experience to be at the competition. The event went on way past the time it was due to finish! Everyone was still on high spirits, and still shredding.
1st Bombette Martin
2nd Lola Tambling
3rd Miriam Nelson
ADVICE FOR COMPETITIONS
I was given lots of advice from different people in case I did have to compete, the main advice that was most consistent from various skaters was:
Do your most consistent tricks first!
Play to your strengths.
Stay ON the board
Save your hardest tricks until near the end of your run.
Have fun and relax!
I was also advised that competitons are usually full of more energy, and a LOT louder. I was stoked I got to attend, it sounds like competitons were awesome pre covid. I hope to attend one with the full atmosphere of the ground!