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BOARDMASTERS 2016: The Best Yet

Beers too cold - Sun too hot - And too much Fun...

Words: Seb Hejna
Photos: Adam Lievesley


I have been going to Boardmasters for longer than I care to remember, simply because it reminds me that I am somewhat of a veteran these days. But Boardmasters somehow awakens the youth in you, and although it’s a heavy few days of sun, sea, sand, BMX and beers, you come away feeling better than when you arrived. This year seemed especially good, helped along by not a cloud in the sky the whole time, it meant the sun was too hot, the beers were too cold and times were just too much fun – in a good way, obviously.

Not a bad spot for a festival. Photo: Lee Kirby
Chris Nicol, a walking party machine. And a very good rider, this is a bars to tuck no hander.
Tom Justice fufanu on the back rail. One of only 3 going near the back rail over the weekend
This should put the party into perspective. Photo: Sam Neill

With most events, there is always something for the riders to have a little moan about, and riders do like to moan from time to time. But at Boardmasters, the mixture of a simple yet fun riding setup, and the location being above Fistral beach, which is crowded with suntanned beauties, cold beers on tap and perfect waves for the duration, all make for a very good time and not much to complain about, and that’s just the daytime. When the night unravels, it brings with it more parties than most can handle, plus one of the best festival sites I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to a lot. It’s an escape from the normal BMX contest, and although the drive can feel long, it is a UK event worth getting to.

Doesn’t look real. Photo: Sam Neill
Tom Milham as only Milham can.

The setup is basically 3 ramps seamlessly put togethers, there’s a 8′, 6′ and 5′, it’s simple, but effective, and attracts a lot of different styles of riding. The ramp gets sponsored by Canna, and these things wouldn’t work without sponsorship, so it’s rad of them to get behind it, who’d of thought a fertilizer company supporting BMX?

This year Boardmasters decided to do an Under 16’s comp, the first time they’ve ever held one. It’s the perfect ramp for it, not too big, but big enough if you’ve got it, and the crowd really got behind the youngsters.

Mitch Dooley and Michael Duffey boosting in the U16’s comp.

In fact, the crowd were awesome all weekend, the grass banks were full for both the BMX and skate comps, and they were pretty responsive to us MC’s, I guess stick anyone on a cliff in the sun, with a beer watching BMX and you’re set for a good audience. People do look happier and more beautiful in the sun somehow? Fact.
Anyway, coming back to the U16’s, I think it’s important the young ones know that competing isn’t what it’s all about, it’s about having fun with your friends on small bikes, it’s that simple. But there will always be those people that enjoy a bit of competition, and it’s great that the larger comps are beginning to open things up to the younger and lesser known riders. Something interesting I heard this weekend from Webby, who is obviously one of the biggest names in BMX competition, he told me he was once approached by an enthusiastic dad who asked ‘”is there money to be made in this BMX game? or is my young lad wasting his time?” And Webbies answer was simple, “if your lad is having fun, he’s not wasting his time! Is he?” I thought that summed it up perfectly.

Fans are a full time job for Webby, but he loves it.
The Webbie Show.

Anyway, there was a comp, so lets get back to it. The riding resembled something more of a computer game than real life BMX, it was next level, the mind literally boggles. Year on year I think BMX has progressed all it can, and year on year I’m proven completely wrong, this year being no exception.

Chris Nicol with a flair over the channel.

And man was it tight, especially at the top of the table, it really could’ve gone either way for those top placing riders. With just 2 hits on the ramp and both counting for scores, consistency was key. Mark Webb and Jack Clark, looked unbeatable throughout the qualifiers and this remained so for the finals, with the likes of Declan Brooks, Tom Justice and Alex Coleborn all nipping at their heels. It’s impossible to list the tricks and highlights over the weekend, because there were too many.  But to give some idea of the tricks, Mark Webb and Angus Gough won the best trick comp. Angus won the best air trick, with a superman seatgrab indian to fakie, to whip fakie. And Webbie won best tech with a decade to tyre tap to icepick to downwhip in. Need I say more?

Best Trick Winners and rightly so. Mark Webb and Angus Gough

Check out the Best Trick highlights edit from Commit BMX.

Some of my personal highlights over the weekend, in no particular order, were as follows:

  • Seeing old friends
  • Meeting new friends
  • The Crowd
  • The Music
  • The Parties
  • Every rider throwing down
  • Every rider throwing up
  • Cliff diving
  • Surfing
  • Anything the FTL crew got up to.

Ask any rider who went, and they’ll all tell you to go next year. It really is that much fun. Since returning, I’ve seen a lot of posts on social media, all with the same message; “take me back to Boardmasters” And I couldn’t agree more. Get your tickets early and make the journey down, you won’t be disappointed. Just be carful you’re not in the same hotel as the FTL lads, camping could be a safer option.

Results: Amateur:

  1. Michael Duffy
  2. Mitch Dooley
  3. Alfie Heming
  4. Aaron Cooper
  5. David Kvida
  6. Billy Hancock
  7. Kodee Jakins
  8. Josh Bullen
  9. Lewis McDonald
  10. Donavan Hunt
  11. Ernie Overton

Results: Pro:

  1. Jack Clark
Jack throwing down a 360 double bars. He seems to be getting on quite well with his new Tall Order frame.

2. Mark Webb

Boosted downwhip

3. Declan Brooks

So much style from Dec. There’s nowhere else he’d rather be….

4. Tom Justice

If I could do this, I would do nothing else.

5. Alex Coleborn

Animal, both on and off his bike.

6. Chris Nicol

7. Martyn Cooper

8. Josh Webber

9. Angus Gough

10. Matty Ballis

11. Ollie Palmer

12. Phil Aller

Stoked.
Party People

 

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