Sebastian Keep and the whole squad at Tall Order are no strangers to crazy spots. If you follow their Youtube videos you will have seen them ride some of the most ‘out there’ spots in the UK, such as the sound mirrors in Kent and a sketchy full pipe up north.
Words and photos by Robin Pearson
Bas Keep comes from the school of Owain Clegg – his contemporary, widely regarded as the master of finding and riding remote and wild locations in the UK. He’s been doing this for years, often down drainage channels and pipes that exit reservoirs. Why? Because it’s this sort of engineering that produces some of the most impressive spots. We’re talking about big concrete transitions, full pipes and strange shapes in the earth that direct high volumes of water. If you think about it, square edges have a weak point for water erosion whereas transitioned walls lend themselves better to helping water flow smoothly and efficiently. That must be a reason why there are often trannies to ride in these kinds of locations.
“Not publicly accessible, a little bit of trespassing, ropes and bikes and cameras down into the earth… This is a wild kind of street riding!”
Anyway, Bas decided to take some of the Tall Order crew over to Portugal to ride one such spot – the ‘Whale’s Stomach’, as coined by Paulo Martins. This is a place that has to be up there on the list of the world’s wildest spots… A huge full pipe and a steep downhill transitioned channel, like a giant half pipe. Carving at the walls off-camber will never feel safe, especially in the wet… But that’s what makes it so rad. It’s an incredible spot, gnarly as hell, very intimidating and scary to ride, with a unique structure that makes it super photogenic. You spend a lot of time there just staring at it, and then when you take your camera out it’s pretty hard to shoot a bad photo.
“Carving at the walls off-camber will never feel safe, especially in the wet…”
I was first shown this place by João Soares, in much drier conditions with better preparation. When Bas showed up with Charlotte Worthington, Kieran Reilly and Oli Jones, it was seriously hot, around 34ºC, but recent rainfall meant that the spot itself was far from dry. Plus, we forgot ropes so we had to scale the (sketchy, broken) ladder with bikes and bags and it was a full team effort to make it all possible. I was stoked to show the crew this spot, and even more stoked on how they reacted to it. What a day… Read on for some insights from the boss man, Bas Keep.