Tag Archives: extreme sports

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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A quick guide to your next skate camcorder…

This week I decided to review three potential skate camcorders!

GOPRO HERO HELMET WIDE

The GOPRO Helmet can make even the best dressed, discerning individual, look like he is just about to take his canary down the mine. A camera that can attach to most things, enables riders to film for nearly an hour, using a 2Gb memory card, and capture a whole bunch of photos at 5MP, cannot be frowned upon. The helmet cam is waterproof and wireless and therefore demands a price tag of $299 (£191.96 approx). Designed and tested by a combination of scientists and sportsman, the camera is practical as well as robust. The fact that the camera is detachable, allows the GOPRO to double as a hand-held camera as well, thus catapulting up the video camera league and into the limelight.

PURE DIGITAL PSV-352 POINT-AND-SHOOT CAMCORDER

Next on my list… The PSV-352 Point-and-Shoot from Pure Digital. This one stood out to me for a number of reasons. Not only is it highly recommended amongst online reviews for its video capabilities, but it also has a very slick, stylish look about it. The in-built software on the camera allows users to upload skate videos quickly and easily to YouTube and therefore is a favourite amongst “guerrilla” directors. A further benefit of the PSV-352 is its size and ability to fit into your average trouser pocket. The camcorder does look a little bit like a phone, but don’t be fooled the picture quality is nowhere near as bad. The price? $179 (£114.92 approx)! Bargain

CANON GL1 CAMCORDER

Third and finally, a more conventional looking skate camcorder. This is what we think of when we see online videos…a guy holding a camcorder that, believe it or not, actually looks, sounds and tastes like a camcorder. We don’t end up looking like we’re about to dig up some coal (GoPro), or like we’re sending a text message (PSV-352), we look like we’re filming our friends skateboard…simple. The GL1 can fall back on a rich ancestry of skateboarding camcorders, although this version seems to be simpler, and more affordable for even the most ‘professional’ unprofessional director. The camcorder has all the features you’d expect, like 27 different shutter speeds, manual focus as well as digital effects. The GL1 is a little dated on the market, but we don’t care. We love the look of the thing, it’s traditional, simple and its anything but trendy.  At $2699 (£1732.79 approx), it’s a lot more expensive than the previous contenders, but you pay for quality, as well as the knowledge that you look like a skateboard director, instead of a clueless amateur. With the GL1, everyone will want to be your friend… If you do get one, get ready for your life to change. Expensive winner!!

If you would like to add to my suggestions then feel free!!

If you have any extreme sports photos (that you took yourself), why not enter the XTC photo competition for a chance to win a Solar Powered Backpack?! Check it out at XTC Photo Competition

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15 MINUTE PHOTO FORAGE

So here we are… first blog of the week. I thought this time I should set myself a challenge…an assessment if you will. With the help of a short brainstorming session, a few spider diagrams, and the inability to fall asleep before midnight, I devised a task that would not only be relevant in some part to extreme sports, but would also test my eye for a good photograph. And so, the “Fifteen Minute Photo Forage” was born and the umbilical cord cut.

My task, if I chose to actually bother with it, was to trawl the 49,261,052 (vaguely accurate at time of writing) websites on the internet, in order to find the 3 best skateboarding photos out there. And as the name says I only had 15 minutes to do this in.

Immediately doubt entered my mind. I don’t know much about skateboarding, do I? Where will the best photos be? 49,261,052, that’s a big number isn’t it? Shall I look for renowned photographers, or shall I look for renowned skateboarders? Will my kitchen tap stop making that really high pitched noise so I can concentrate? Do I have a stopwatch?

I decide to put these worries to the back of my mind. I eventually find a stopwatch above the oven and set it to 15 minutes. I fire up the internet before starting the watch. The challenge should be testing me, not my computers constant failure to respond to simple on/off instructions.

I start the “Fifteen Minute Photo Forage”. The following 15 minutes went something like this:

0 mins 26 secs: Homepage is set to BBC Sport: read about Henry escaping punishment for his handball. Think situation is ridiculous. Remember what I’m supposed to be doing.

0 mins 33 secs: Type in ‘cool skateboard photography’ to Google search. Click on first link I see: http://thehotcrew.com/2006/09/19/the-100-best-skate-photos-on-flickr/ It shows the best skateboard photos on Flickr! My hunt gets off to a good start as I find loads of cool pictures of skateboarders in mid-air. But, like Catherine Zeta-Jones I could do better, alot lot lot better!

1 min 58 secs: Nearly at the 2 minute mark. Go back to Google search. Click on surfdoggy.com, not sure what to expect. I could be moments away from pictures of a doggy doing human things on a surfboard, or humans doing doggy things on a surfboard. Turns out to be some crappy clipart photos of surfboards.

2 min 38secs: I refine my search to “skateboard pictures”. This proves to be key in my search as straight away I am directed to Matt Price’s skateboard gallery at http://theskateboardmag.com/articles/fresh-crops-matt-price/ . I rifle through the pictures and stumble across one that catches my eye. A black and white photo of Ethan Fowler grinding down a hand rail. He’s got long hair and a beard.  I like this guys’ style, he joins my shortlist.

4 mins 22secs: The clock is ticking. The noise from the kitchen tap stops. I however continue…

4 mins 24secs: The word ‘artsy’ is added to my search. I need something with a bit more class. I quickly find a link to the photos at http://www.ascartel.com/interviews/71-antton-miettinen-professional-skateboard-photographer , and rummage through Antton Miettinen’s galleries in pursuit of my favourite. I find a photo of a guy flying through the air. Another black and white, I admit. But this is a great photo showing  that cool stuff happens anywhere, anytime. Fact.

9 mins 43secs: The last search was undoubtedly a lengthy one, and time is slipping through my hands. I replace ‘artsy’ with ‘sexy’.

10 mins 05 secs: It takes too long filtering out the ‘inappropriate’ sites to make this search worthwhile. ‘Sexy’ is replaced with ‘cool’. Realise I have already searched this. Again I click on the top of the list because it must be the coolest, right? I am taken to www.snorad.com. This is decidedly uncool. I am annoyed, Google has deceived me.

11 mins 23 secs: My computer is slow to get back to the previous page. More time wasted

11 mins 51 secs: I am now using Ask.com as a search engine. Surely Jeeves won’t try to fool me. The search is repeated: ‘cool skateboard pictures’. And low and behold, Jeeves comes up trumps! I am inundated with possibilities. I choose http://www.briancaissie.com/, a gallery compiled by Brian Caissie, showcasing his photography. He’s a professional skateboard photographer, and a good one to boot. Again a quick search of his albums leaves me astounded, and personally I think I have a winner: the guy in a red jumper doing an ollie with a fag in his hand (5th photo along – Wade Desarmo). I’m surprised this is my favourite because usually black and photography gets the nod. But it is deserving of my award because, just like X in the City, the extreme sport is being transferred into an alien, urban environment, but still retains the essence of its art and purpose.

14 mins 37 secs: Feel happy. Foraged for 3 photos in fifteen minutes. Job complete.

14 mins 40 secs: Tap starts crying again. Feel unhappy.

So, you may ask what I’ve actually learnt from this. And in truth, the answer is ‘very little’. I have however helped share some skateboard photos (of varying quality, I admit), as well as finishing a challenge for the first time since the last time.

Can you do better?

'Wade Desarmo by Brian Caissie

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What is X in the City?

X in the City is an entirely new way to experience extreme, urban and adrenaline sports. Part stunning spectacle, part hands on experience, XTC brings an adrenaline rush to the heart of the city.

See the professionals in action, get hands on with cool new kit, discover the latest sports and learn “how to” from the masters.

Held in London’s state of the art ExCeL centre it’s totally weather proof, with docks for watersports, outdoor trial areas, demo theatres, 200 exhibitors of the latest gear, a retail zone and “taster” sessions and the amazing centre piece Theatre of Xtremes.

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