The annual Dead Sailor Easter Jam at Mount Hawke is a date on my BMX calendar that always gets me pumped. This feeling is shared by many – it always attracts a wide variety of riders from all across the country. The vibe is chilled, yet bangers get thrown down left right and centre. I think the chilled vibe and positive attitude of all the riders just push people to ride to that extra level.
This year’s Dead Sailor Easter jam boasted its 20th year running at Mount Hawke skatepark. The place originally started off as just a simple half pipe but has come a long way in that time, progressing to the state of the art skatepark that’s there now. With vert, street, bowl and a newly built jump box section, it’s a well rounded park catering for all riding styles.
Words and photos by Adam Lievesley
Additional photos by Ed Ballingal
Video by Martin Grainger
Competitions ran throughout the day and there was even a classic BMX bike display. The young guns bowl comp kicked off proceedings. There were some real talented individuals, all hungry to show what they could do, but also encourage each other on the deck. It then switched to the pros.
"It's really refreshing watching so many people ride the same simple bowl so differently."
I sometimes feel like bowl riding nowadays is a bit of a dying art with many riders just learning box jump tricks, but this time I stood corrected, with a whole heap of bowl shredders all creating their own unique lines and transfers.
Greg Illingworth, Jay Cowley and Kieran Reilly were all standouts to me. Greg with his big transfers and pocket tables, Jay with his technical manuals and boosted airs, then young Kieran laying down his new progressive riding with whip and bar variations. It's really refreshing watching so many people ride the same simple bowl so differently.
I then headed to a quiet corner of the skate park, where the Tall Order boys were proving that they weren't scared of the steep transitions and pool coping in the park’s old school pool bowl. Oliver Jack Jones and Tom Graves threw out some funky shapes for Bas Keep, who was filming for another vlog... I snuck in with my camera and snapped a few shots of that little side session.
The new jump box section was the next area to be graced by some talented humans – gallery below.
It starts with a choice of a lower levelled step up or a sort of long and low to generate speed for the slightly hipped second jump (with the option of a wall ride). The hip leads to one of the largest vert walls I have ever seen, sending you back towards the start. A large box and step up are the obstacles of choice on the way back, then finally you can either fly out onto the starting deck, hit a curved wall ride or an 8ft quarter if you decide you want another run through the line.
The jam was like a battle between the boosters such as Matt Harris and Casson Downing against the big trick riders like Kane Mitchell, Scott Hamlin and James Jones. It was so good to see James return to the event after writing himself off the previous year. For those who don’t remember, he bailed on a back rail footjam resulting in a broken back and neck.
The event timings became pretty casual due to people getting stoked on the new box session, so not a lot really happened on the street section. There was however an over 30s bowl jam where Martyn Tambling did a ridiculous alley-oop fufanu 180 in (above). That trick pretty much ended the jam as people started to leave in dribs and drabs before braving the long drives home.
I will definitely be returning for more Cornish shenanigans next year!