Father and son duo Rich and Brad sykes

I've been riding boards of some kind, for most my life. Got my first skateboard when I was about 10ish. I was never really into the tricks and stuff, I just wanted to go down hills,and do fast as possible without wobbling off. In my early 20s I went on a couple of snowboarding holidays and i absolutely loved the feeling of freedom I got on the mountain. I wanted to do it all the time. But in reality I would only get chance once a year if I was lucky.
I'd seen a feature on TV with these guys on big boards with big wheels shredding a grass hillside. Think it was Pete Tatham,the founder of nosno but it was a long time ago,so could be wrong lol. I knew this was ideal for me,as snowy peaks are not found in leeds..but hills and woodland everywhere. I bought my first board and with my skateboard and snowboard experience I tought myself to mountain board. I messed around in the woods and local hills for four yrs before I entered my first comp in 2007. Me and my pal Andy went to court farm (now Hereford board and bike park) for my first boardercross race. I must admit,when I got there and saw the track I thought shit..what am I doing here? We had a wander and felt like a small fish in a pond! Walking through the campsites feeling like a real stranger a voice boomed! "Oi oi new faces" I looked over and saw a bloke larger than life walking towards us. I thought here we go this guy is the top dog tell this pup how it is... I couldn't have been more wrong. "Nice to meet you my name's Andre. "Nice to meet you. Masters?" Yeah,I said pretty nervous tbh. "You'll be fine,you're a skinhead right?" I felt at home from that point,so welcome into the mountain board family. The whole story of my story of Andre is a whole other story...sadly Andre passed away before we ever got to ride together again.. My in your honour tattoo is mostly about this warrior of a man..but like I said it's another story. As is the skull mask and the race number13. So.....from 2007I took part in boardercross comps in the UK every year. Meeting some of the best people I know along the way. Meeting people who I hope to be great friends with for the rest of my life. Riding alone is always cool But riding with real pals is the best ever. Over the years ive managed to get a few podiums,a couple of superb sponsors (Morley glass and Trampa boards) great memories and a fair few scars lol....i crash good crashing is what I do with the most style haha. I love boardercross I've done a bit of freestyle but I've got to admit I'm not really keen on doing it tbh. It's just not my thing,..and i suck at it! hahaa boardercross is for me,what I'm all about when it comes to mountain boarding. bRad is the same,loves it all and a better all rounder then me. But he loves racing with his grom pals in boardercross the most.

he wanted to go riding with me. When he was a baby I would stand him on my board and hold him and roll up and down the hallway. His face would always beam with happiness when ever I did this. Once he was around 2ish I'd take him to the park. I'd step into my bindings stand him between my feet with my arms wrapped around him. We'd roll down small grass hillsides together and he loved it! I knew from then he'd want his own board one day. At 4yrs old he had is first solo ride and not the same grassy hill. I was a bit nervous as any dad would be in that situation. But he showed me and i was so proud. Still to this day I'm always nervous everytime he rides. Especially in boardercross everytime he's in the gate I feel like throwing up with nerves. But he always shows me he can do it every time. We've both had our fair share of stacks and crashes. when bRad takes a slam it's the worst feeling ever for me. But I must say very rare he doesn't get back up and try again. He'll never tap out....ever. When he was 9 we went down to court farm opening weekend. His first time at a big centre. We had a great time and bRad decides to try the freestyle jumps for the first time in his life. My guts were in knots and filled with shit,I tell ya haha. Well he dropped in and popped over the third jump and landed no problems! A great cheer went up from the small crowd of people gathered. He was buzzing I was buzzing. Such a proud moment again. It was then I think he caught sam Nicholas attention who thought he'd be a good addition to the trampa army one day. A year or so later he was asked to rep trampa in the team challenge. He was asked by trampa rider and his mountainboard hero,James wanklyn. Imagine being asked to join your hero's team by your hero? Yup he was super stoked haha,as was I. He joined the official team a year later..before I did! lol. And has been since now joined by myself as well. It's brilliant both of us riding for the same team. There have been a few father and son/daughter teams over the years. But the pair I admire the most has to be Steve and James Morris. Father and son who both race in the masters! You do the maths! I hope me and bRad can achieve the same one day. But will have to wait another 18yrs to do that. Not sure if my body will be up to it by then. It's pretty bust already.... I'd like to thank Raph laroche,my longtime sparring partner for help along the way through the tough times and great times. Our sponsors Trampa boards and Morley glass. For their continuous support over the last few years. We really couldn't do what we do without your help. And thank you and big love to every person who have been involved in mountain boarding. We love you all! In Your Honour Rich and bRad X

An insight into a boarders life

So I asked 3 boarders the same 4 questions and this is what they had to say. I'll start with the youngest boarder first and a lad who is already making an impact on the scene. Mr Mark adams.

When did u first strap a board to your feet and who inspired you to and what keeps u doing it ?

I was 9 when I started. I wasn't inspired by a particular person but by my first competition watching the pros doing flips. I keep doing it because I enjoy it more than any other sport and it's easy too get to for me.

How much has changed and what more could be done to help promote this sport ?

I think the quality of the riding in the sport has changed loads. Since I started it's really progressed especially with Matt's nitro circus edit. I just think it needs more internet coverage than it's getting at the moment so people understand what it actually is.

Out of all the rider you compete against who pushes you the most as a rival and why ?

I think the person that pushed me the most in the last couple of years too ride my best in competition was Antoine both in the Mitsubishi competition and the Uk championships.

With the world champs only 5 month away who do you see as being the stand out riders from young to old ?

I don't know who is going or what the place really is like so it's hard too say who will stand out from the rest. If they're stylish and consistent with good tricks they'll stand out.

 

Next up we move along to a man who needs no introduction and is already a strong favourite for this years world champs in france Mr Matt Brind. Here is what he had to say.

When did u first strap a board to your feet and who inspired you to and what keeps u doing it ?

I first got on a board on 9th April 2005 - the day after my 14th birthday. Originally I saw it on Top Gear, and then when I saw some people riding boards in my local woods I decided to put my paper-round and birthday money towards my first board (a Kheo Air-S). Many riders have inspired me over the years, the first was Tom Kirkman and most recent is Kody Stewart, but really I love to see others enjoying the sport - when people are riding with a smile on their face and joking around, that inspires me. What keeps me going - riding a mountainboard puts a smile on my face like nothing else and gives me a tonne of confidence.

How much has changed and what more could be done to help promote this sport ?

Huge change since I started. Most notably, there is no longer a published magazine and attendance at competitions and meet-ups has dropped off massively. It’s not all doom and gloom though! There has always been a comradery within the sport and I think it’s stronger now than ever, with riders travelling across the World to attend competitions, more for the social side than the competitive side. What can be done? Start a local club, grow the scene in your area but most importantly have fun riding - keep yourself entertained.

Out of all the rider you compete against who pushes you the most as a rival and why ?

I’ve had many ‘rivals’ over the years, but as it currently stands the rider who pushes me most is Kody Stewart. I have to be in top form and often go to a level beyond what I pull out in the UK to beat Kody - we only ever compete against each other at the World BoarderX Championships. He’s always been an idol of mine and he inspires me to get foot loose and pull some of my craziest tricks - he was there when I was learning my biggest tricks and helped motivate me to get them dialled in the foam and take them to a landing the next day. It’s funny, we have two sides to our ‘relationship’ - a fierce competitive side where one of us goes home a World Champion, and a super fun, supportive and friendly side.

With the world champs only 5 month away who do you see as being the stand out riders from young to old ?

See my blog 😉 (http://mattbrind.co.uk/world-champs-faves-long-range-forecast/) It’s early days and hard to say, but for BoarderX, excluding myself, there 2 big names - Kody Stewart and Andy Brind. Freestyle wise, excluding myself, the big name is Antoine Gambier with Nicky G, Krzysztof Dybczak and Mark Adams the dark horses. ‘Old’, i.e. Masters, I’m backing Leon Dove - it’s his year, he’ll finally be able to give 100% on this track and I think he’ll hulk-smash it. Freestyle, Dave Steivater and Jeroen De Booser will be very tough to beat.

On the Ladies side, it’s hard to say who will attend. If she attends, Lisa McLernon could do a clean sweep, if not I think Chloe Hirst has a strong chance (if she gets back on a mountainboard for some session before the event) as well as Senka Bajic. The Ladies is a very open field, I’d love to see Em Thrower come along as well as I think she stands a pretty solid chance! Of course, you have the perma-favourites in Sonia, Simo and Marti. Freestyle is a whole other kettle of fish and I really can’t call it at this early stage. Perhaps Natasha Chernikova, Simo or Marti. I’d lean towards Natasha right now.

Now to a good friend of mine and a veteran of the sport and someone who has taught me a lot in such a short time in this sport Mr Scott Leadbitter.

When did u first strap a board to your feet and who inspired you to and what keeps u doing it ?

I bought my first mountain board in 2000 after getting frustrated with wet weather ruining skate sessions , I was also flying kites at the time and was told to try getting used to the board before trying to kite board, my local spot was Greenwich park so off I headed with my new board (biohazard Kevlar deck , steel trucks ) no pads , no lid , I stood on the board on a moderate hill and just rolled in and as I was heading down I heard some whooping and shouting from behind me as I came to a stop a few lads on various mountain boards pulled up and started asking how long I'd had my board for ? This was my first meeting with LARD ASS ( London And Regional Dirtboard Association) we all headed over to a wall section and Clive Gallaway attempted to Ollie over it catching his wheels and headbutting the ground knocking himself out , we spent the rest of the day bombing hills and jumping a small plastic ramp as well as taking a tumble or two , I was completely stoked that day and met some great people. I still get that feeling nowadays.

How much has changed and what more could be done to help promote this sport ?

over the past 17 years the obvious thing is the boards , ply constructed oversize skate decks with clunky steel trucks have been replaced with lightweight multi composite decks and many different truck styles using the latest high strength metals and injection mouldings as well as a good selection of different tyre types which can take higher pressures and cope with more abuse , also Trampa have brought out a kick ass battery powered board that I tried out last year , very quick and fun to ride . Mountain boarding in general is changing constantly as at competitions you have Board X , Freestyle and timed downhill being a relative new discipline. We are now seeing a lot more street style riding popping up on you tube as well as foreward thinking skatepark owners allowing mountain boards to use their facilities especially foam pits thus eliminating injuries which does drive away riders if they are unlucky enough to have a few injuries in a row especially if you're older and working , mountain board centres are also catering for other sports like slack lining , mountain bikes , jump bikes and getting decent canteen facilities sorted so families can spend a day their or parents dropping off kids tend to stay around and it does not become a chore for them , Add in all the above and mountain boarding will progress.Progression can be given a firm kick up the arse if we take things into our own hands , Team NEAT (North East All Terrain) have had a lot of success at mountain board comps over the past few years due to the fact we ride mainly flat BMX pump tracks which rely more on technique and stamina, last year we rode a local BMX track in Willington that was downhill and quite quick and lead to us organising a race event called Guerrilla Jam , the format was similar to boardX and had a timed solo run followed by 3 person racing leading to a final where winner takes all so no 2nd or 3rd places this was to make the jam more competitive and encouraged riders to overtake and ride harder , this is something any group of riders can do on a public track , this brings us on to the Demo that Leon Dove organised with mid Lancashire BMX club , the demo was held during the break at one of the regional BMX races in front of a large crowd and the feedback was encouraging as most people hadn't even seen a mountain board before however more information on this will be revealed as most riders will have heard about the test racing at the National Cycling Centre in January, keep your eyes peeled on Remolition for an article coming soon with more exiting news , Also last year Roger Swannel kindly drove the length of the country to show us how to set up a mountain board school and give lessons, this has probably been the most rewarding thing I have done as three of my students have bought boards , one of them has competed in the British champs , if I can double those figures this year and everyone in the riding community does the same the scene could be thriving with fresh talent , I have also lined up a couple for a dual lesson to showcase the difference in riding styles between male and females as I think with a lower Centre of gravity females have a great advantage and style on a board just look at our female snowboarding GB team members . So we can all do our bit to push mountain boarding foreward and get a new and older generation riding , there a a few events this year including the World Champs in France , the British Champs , Guerrilla Jam will be back in October and the chance to take the GJ trophy off Andy Brind and that ain't gonna be easy , also late on this year the first indoor freestyle event will be held in the north east more info on that soon , so come on you riders let's get out there , let's get riding and try getting a few more people involved.

Out of all the rider you compete against who pushes you the most as a rival and why ?

Ha ha easy , Leon Dove , I've beat him in Board X before and he knows it I just haven't beaten him in a final ... yet , my tussles with Harry Jessop are also epic and back in the day I was always schooled by the Legend that is Mr Steve Berbeck , I've been second place in BoardX finals that many times I even call myself The Bridesmaid.

With the world champs only 5 month away who do you see as being the stand out riders from young to old ?

World Cup predictions Board X James Wanklyn (putting money on it marra) Freestyle Antoine (Rad dude , sick tricks , backside disaster on vert, Draws glasses on drunk people).

 

Well thats it for now folks and a quite interesting read from 3 very different aged riders. i hope you all enjoyed my little chat to all 3 boarders and i'd like to take this time to thank all 3 of them for taking time to answer the questions i asked them. I'll be back hopefully in a few weeks with a new article for us all.

 

peace out chaps and keep on boarding.