Super ‘Sea Shepherd’ to the rescue!

Everyone apart from the finicky kid in the Kellog’s Rice Krispies advert who exclaims; “Fish! I hate fish!”, loves the slimy creatures that reside in our seas. However, everyone also knows that too much of a good thing can be bad. Consequently, on the dawn of a new decade, we find ourselves in a very fishy situation…

The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) was first mentioned in the 1957 ‘Treaty of Lisbon’. The idea was suggested to maintain a healthy harvest of fish from what is a shared (common) resource; the seas and oceans of Europe. The policy has come under much criticism from fishermen, activists and politicians; as each party looks to fight a divided cause. There are understandable shouts from fishermen that say that such policies will ruin their livelihood, yet on the other hand they are prepared to admit that the current level of fishing is unsustainable (and that prices will rocket).

In 10 years, I don’t want to take my (future) children to a fish n’ chip shop, to find that a portion of cod is the cost of a car, and haddock a house. So, what’s being done?

‘Quotas’, ‘tariffs’ and ‘permits’ are all terms familiar to this problem. They are all terms, deficiently designed in a mahogany board room in Brussels to try to solve an ongoing ‘tragedy of the commons’.  But, are a few fancy terms all we’ve got?

‘Sea Shepherd’ to the rescue! If the boys in Brussels are the brains (supposedly), then the marine-warriors at Sea Shepherd are the brawn. Combining intelligence and knowledge of the seas with “direct-action tactics”, they seek to achieve similar targets (to the CFP) of maintaining fish stocks for future generations. Having worked with many marine species, and in many areas of the world, Sea Shepherd are relentless in their quest for cleaner, friendlier and more sustainable seas. Recent projects included “ramming and disabling the notorious pirate whaler, the Sierra”, protecting the Galapagos, as well as defending Dolphins off the Japanese coast.

Their mission is serious;

“…to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species.”

With the level of fishing increasing, and the manner worsening, the problem needs to be resolved sooner, rather then later.

Sea Shepherd will be visiting X in the City in October to spread the word, so give their stand (or their website: www.seashepherd.org) a visit to find out how you can help out.


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XTC Photo competition: And the results are out…

The long awaited selection of the best XTC fan photo has finally been released. Over the last month XTC has held its first ever photo competition, and finally we are ready to pick the winners. The idea was for fans to send in their photos of themselves taking part in an extreme sport. And to the winner…the spoils (a solar powered back-pack).

Firstly the XTC Facebook Fans Favourite:

Picking up a massive 42 ‘likes’, Doug Lake, smashed the competition with this great photo. The fans favourite, shows Doug “throwing a eight or nine ft backside melon grab over a channel gap at Unit23 in Scotland”, and was, by far and away, the most popular photo that we received. Doug really rallied his friends to appreciate his act of daring, and for all his hard work, we think he deserves a much coveted solar powered back-pack. We like this photo because even though Doug is travelling at a rate of knots, the cameraman has managed to get him flying through the air with minimal blur. We also like the faces of his harem of followers that have chosen to spectate from in-between the gap Doug is jumping. Are they there to add to the extremity of the trick, or to provide a soft landing in case Doug doesn’t make it…we couldn’t be too sure.

The XTC favourite comes from the lens of Tom Quigley:

Tom entered a number of photos, and really understood what we were looking for. We wanted photos showing what your chosen sport meant to you. “Skateboarding is…avoiding the trams”, was a great little caption, with the photo showing Tom performing what looks like a “pop shove-it” over the tramlines in Nottingham’s town centre. A good reason for choosing this photo, was not only Tom’s act of daring, but also because he is showing how skaters can get the best out of their ‘natural’, urban surroundings, and don’t always have to rely on the ‘artificial’ routes that are mapped out at skate parks.

A solar powered back-pack is on the way to these two action men. However a shout must go out to Katy Turgoose (Power Bocker), Roz Tabberer (Skye Diver), and Sam Barnes (Fire man) for some great entries that unfortunately, this time, didn’t manage to pick up the prizes.

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La Forge – The Visionary

I was never a fan of sci-fi. I could never let myself get too carried away with Klingon attacks, Avatar advances or adventures of “the one”. So why was I so drawn to Geordi La Forge (from Star Trek)? Was it that his flat top was comparable to the comic prince of the time, Will Smith? No, it was his visor, of course!

Geordi La Forge

The visor was created to provide Geordi with an artificially created sense of sight, and had the added advantage of allowing him to “see” vital human signs, and therefore keep an eye on mood as well as recognize lies. Even though I enjoy being able to use my eyes for crossing roads, watching skate videos, and generally not bumping into things, I would have loved to have a La Forge visor.

I have been thinking about this quite a lot recently. Consequently I began searching for a replica that I could get my hands on. I had the option to buy a Geordi La Forge mask (£24.99…tempting), but it was his specs I was really after. Unfortunately, I could only find replicas of Cyclops’ (from X-Men) visor, and this simply wasn’t good enough.

My search took me to the “i-Scape Virtual Reality Head Mounted Display”, and this was a changing point for me… I decided I liked my eyes. I don’t need to know if people are lying to me, that’s part of life…politicians and parents do it all the time. The i-Scape would allow me to keep my eyes (very useful), watch any DVD I have in my collection, and look awesome at the same time. Revolutionary! The gadget creates a 62” screen right in front of you, and with an integrated sound system your sensory system will not know what’s hit it! Ranging from $600 -$1200, the I-Scape is pretty pricey, but looking like your favourite sci-fi character is priceless. The flat-top, however, will have to wait…

i-Scape from www.vrealities.com

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Herbert’s Dilemma

Herbert ‘The Hips’ was king of the surf. Instead of smelling breakfast in the morning, he could smell swells. No wave too big, no reef too sharp, and no curl too curly. But alas, here lay the problem. For Herbert was a man of world, he had conquered all there was to conquer, a new challenge was needed.

Late one Tuesday evening, after a hard fought victory in their regional darts league, discerning Herbert, hunched over a packet of pork scratchings, aired his grievance to team mates, Ollie and Fred “the Shred”.

“It’s lost the buzz, I need something new.”

“Yeah cus, I feel the same way too” pitched in Ollie, a master of the half pipe.

“Ok, but what we gonna do? I love snowboarding. Hey, let’s start an ATB crew!” shouted Fred. Spilling his pint of Admirals in the process.

And the rest, as we can all imagine, was history.

But what was the moral of the story? Is it that pork scratchings are not only a great pub snack, but also a catalyst to enlightenment? Or is the real story, the fact that All Terrain Boarding (ATB), is a sport that combines aspects of different extreme sports to create a unique alternative to its more fashionable siblings. Throw in the ability to ride a variety of terrain, and ATB becomes unlike other board sports.

Photo from: woodiewright.co.uk

Once a rider pads up (always pad up, kids!), said rider must strap feet into bindings, align board in direction of bottom of hill, and let gradient work its gravitational magic. With wheels that can be as large as 13”, an all terrain board is better than a Sherman Tank, for traversing foreign grounds. They are so popular in fact that a National Governing Body was created, otherwise known as the ATBA-UK.

The ATBA-UK was formed to represent and promote mountain-boarding in the UK. As an association, they source funding for issues such as riders safety and training, as well as running competitions and events. One of these performances just so happens to be at X in the City, where we’ll be having demonstrations from the ATBA boarders, and giving you plenty of time to “have-a-go” yourself.

So pad up, strap in, and roll on!

For more information on ATB, and ways in which you can help ATBA-UK as a  volunteer visit http://www.atbauk.org/.

Disclaimer: All characters and events in this blog—even those based on real people—are entirely fictional.

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The Ultimate (frisbee) Blog!

Frisbee fanatics across the globe will be mourning the loss of Fred Morrison. Morrison, not to be confused with the other Fred Morrison (a globally renowned composer of bagpipe music), was in fact the creator of the Frisbee. The idea was born in his back-yard, tossing around a cake lid with his missus, and from then on the Frisbee has flown into the hearts and minds of youngsters the world over. In 2007, Morrison said; “That got the wheels turning, because you could buy a cake pan for 5 cents, and if people on the beach were willing to pay a quarter for it, well, there was a business.” And he was right. Since then the recreational flying disc has become a necessary piece of equipment for trips to the park, beach as well as music festivals. But who would have thought that the Frisbee, previously a bit of plastic used to keep the girls entertained while the boys played football, would turn into a sport with a worldwide passion; Ultimate Frisbee (Ultimate).

Ultimate (the sport) is similar to American Football, in terms of scoring (receiving the Frisbee in touchdown zones), but obviously differs without the contact and brutality of the hard-hitting gym monkeys. However, Ultimate experts need to be agile, athletic and immensely co-ordinated to compete in a hugely energetic sport (see video, below). Ultimate stresses sportsmanship and fair play, and accordingly players are responsible for calling fouls, instead of using a whistle friendly referee…consequently Didier Drogba is not a fan. Thanks to this approach, it’s a rapidly expanding sport, and has become popular amongst students, with men and women playing on same sides. It may sound as though the sport is just a bit of fun, but you would be wrong. Boasting national and international events, Ultimate is a strong as ever.

With its growth, and individuality, Ultimate is one of many sports that we are delighted to welcome to X in the City. ‘UK Ultimate’ is the National Governing Body of Ultimate in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and they will be demonstrating and introducing the sport to a huge audience in October. They want everyone to have an excellent experience of Ultimate, whilst at the same time maintaining “the ‘spirit’ of the game as the underlying principle in everything we do.” (www.ukultimate.com)

With such spirit, I think Fred would be very happy.

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Who loves Freestyle skaters? We love Freestyle skaters!

I used to think that inline skates were a vindictive present bought for kids by their unwitting parents. Wheeled contraptions, designed to excite young minds, that for some, brought no joy, but only pain. This perception, in hindsight, was probably biased against the sport, and my parents, as I now believe my total lack of balance was key to my downfall(s). Fragments of skin would have marked my trail had I not spent time fastening my knee, wrist and elbow straps, followed by covering my crown with a battered helmet. By the end, my layers of padding had seen more action than John Terry’s PR team. But that is in the past, and I am now ready to move, somewhat hesitantly, onwards.

The UKFSA (UK Freestyle Skate Association) is the “governing body for freestyle skating sports in the UK”. Part of their mandate includes promoting and providing funding for freestyle skating within the UK. X in the City will provide a great platform for the UKFSA, allowing them to demonstrate their skills and encourage others to join in. The website www.sportsdefinitions.com, gives 46 different terms involved in freestyle skating, which is 45 more than I had. The only term I knew was “ouch!!”. However, “swizzling”, “rockering”, and “spacer” sound more like terms used at a 1970’s Woodstock festival, than at a blading competition.

YouTube videos see contestants dancing through a slalom of miniature cones, in what could be confused with a animalistic mating ritual. However, a combination of spatial awareness, agility and co-ordination make for quite a spectacle, and therefore the UKFSA can expect a lot of attention come October, when X in the City gets rolling.

Below are a few links to my favourite inline skate videos:

Check out “Asia’s number one” Kim Sun Jin (the bloke), weave his madness into our minds and through the cones: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYNyaqZ9F2w

Footage from the 1st World Freestyle Skating Championships in Milan. Some great spaghetti leg action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lE4BRPqninM&feature=related

A man “dancing” over a pack of fags without touching them: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwkG1QjIWgI&feature=fvw

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Top 20 things I witnessed at ISPO…

It was a strange start to the day. A 5am flight meant I had to wake up at roughly the same time I would normally go to sleep. Nightmare! But we were off to ISPO (the “international trade fair for sporting goods and sports fashion in Munich”), so I meant business…

Upon landing we stumbled into a cafe, and after drinking the palest cup of tea ever, we took a taxi to ISPO and these are the top 20 things I witnessed;

1. Strike at Airport (below)

We touched down at Munich airport, and on our way through the airport we heard marching, shouting and whistle blowing. The sound of a strike! Portions of the public workers’ union, Verdi, were protesting over wages. I love the smell of rebellion in the morning.

2. Rupert getting on Indo Board (below)

This meeting of ‘the international sports and sportstyle industry’ was huge, so naturally the first thing we did was head over to the Indo board stand.

3. Rupert falling off Indo Board

Unfortunatley (for us) I didn’t manage to get a shot of this fine moment because the Indo Board instructor and I were in fits of laughter.http://www.indoeurope.com

4. Free Tattoos.

The guys from Warrior skateboards we’re inking people for free! Don’t worry Dad, I didn’t get one! Check out their clip on when and where to use Warrior skateboards.

5. New snowboard technology from Manic (above)

These guys have come up with advancements in snowboard bindings, which allows for a softer landing, and therefore lowering the risk of injury. The ‘suspension’ can be altered to suit your technique or preference. Hear it from the masters at: http://manicsnow.com/

6. Mini ramp action area (below)

Moving around the show, we stumbled upon the Mini ramp section. A load of skaters were showing off their tricks whilst the rest of us looked on jealously.

7. d3o orange stuff

The super-inventive guys at d3o were promoting their latest protective technology. They backed up their safety claims with a basin filled with an orange gunky ingredient, in which one could submerge their hand and then whack it with a hammer and no pain would be felt. Check out more about d3o at their website, where you’ll find a cool explanatory video.

8. Monster girls

The company they work for wasn’t the only thing that was Monster.

9. Neff hats (below)

It was a cold afternoon in Munich, so I headed over to the Neff stand to check out there woolly hats. Check out more headwear at www.neffheadwear.com

10. PG-Bikes (below)

Onto the style winner of the day… These bikes were so beautifully crafted, I daren’t touch them, so I took a photo instead. Want one? So do I..

Check out the website.

11. trikke (below)

These threatening three wheelers are not as difficult to ride, as one would imagine. Gliding around is effortless, and they manage to turn on a penny.

12. Blackmountain (below)

The Blackmountain men have come up with ingenious modes of transport such as this little number.

13. Monorex/ Secret Wars Drawings. (below)

The guys from Secret Wars pitched up and blew our socks off with some great drawings around snowboards. Go to the website to check out what else they’ve been scribbling!

14. Icon Snowboards (below)

These Finnish blokes design and produce some great light weight boards… and the designs aren’t bad either. See more at their website.

15. Free. Sunglasses. Etnies. (below)

Need I say more?

16. Bataleon Snowboards (below)

The Bataleon boys went for an eye-catching wallpaper for their stand. But it was their snowboards that had me captivated.

17. Skullcandy stuff

Skullcandy are the kings of headphones and other cool technological accessories. For example, a belt that controls your mp3! Like the sounds of that? Check ‘em out:http://www.skullcandy.com/

18. Tobby Laces (below)

Their stand was like walking into a rainbow. Pots of multi-coloured laces were everywhere.

19. The Gauswheel (below, photo from gauswheel.com)

Walking around the hall, the whizz of Gauswheels could occasionally be heard over the hum of the crowd. The Gauswheel guys weaved around unsuspecting pedestrians on their unique one-wheelers, but I could only manage moving a metre before falling off.

20. My easyJet seat

I was knackered, it had been a long day, but productive as ever. So finally, I put on my bright pink Etnies glasses, and tried to conserve some energy so as to deal with London Transport. Send your Transport for London complaints to TfL Complaints.

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