The moment is finally here – the first official event SP8BOARDS has attended since Attack The Track last August. The weekend is 15/16 May, the place is Redbridge Cycle Centre and the event is Hog Hill - Pandemic Edition.
As I leave my house in Leeds, I have the feeling my family have heaved a huge sigh of relief. I am out of practice at packing up for skate events and it has taken the best part of a week to pull everything together. Still, I am ready now and I set off, wondering just how different Hog Hill will be from previous years. I get my first taste of the impact of the pandemic fairly quickly - my favourite services, Stibbington, are closed!!!
On arrival, it is good to see some old faces, many of which I haven't connected with in person for over 18 months (somehow facebook cannot compensate for seeing someone face to face). There are loads of new people too. Although there is no racing this weekend, the plan is two days of free-riding. There is a dance jam, a slide jam and slalom, as well as streetluging and downhill on the main track. Specifically, I intend to try out my new skateboards (the Swift and the Swallow) as well as three potential new luge designs. I am delighted with the results, especially my four wheel zero rear angled set up for the street luge (which sounded great to me in theory when I decided to build a prototype in my workshop, but I am glad to confirm that in reality, it can cope easily with the chicanes at full speed).
It is great to see new faces trying out different types of skating, reinforcing Hog Hill as an event for everyone at all levels. As usual, I am happy to let anyone who asks try out my boards and luges. A shout out to Becca and Jack for putting my streetluges through their paces, as well as Jay for trying downhill for the first time and using the Swallow.
On Saturday night, we all use the usual campsite, a couple of miles from the skate venue. It is a bit more subdued than usual as there are no live bands allowed (although the plan is to have them back for Hogtoberfest later in 2021). Instead, Sam Boneless orchestrates a singalong to his playlist, which to my delight features some old rock music. This goes on until the early hours concluding with an a capelo version of Bohemian Rhapsody (a capelo because the charge has run out on Sam's speaker.!)
Our campfire takes on a new and very welcome role - Ricardo brings and cooks 15 kgs of meat for all to share. Apologies to those who do not eat meat, but it i an impressive site - it tastes fantastic too and is really appreciated by everyone who takes the opportunity to try it.
Sunday is a chance to do it all again. As I set off for home, I am exhausted but happy. There is always so much going on at Hog Hill and despite the pandemic, this May is no different. A great start to what will, hopefully, be the first of many meet ups this summer.
Check out the video for more.
For further details on SP8BOARDS streetluges and skateboards, please check out our website.