Newquay is, in the words of the Newquay tourist office, “king of the UK surf scene”. According to the same source over a quarter of a million people pick up surfboards and head to the coast to partake in the Granddaddy of all board sports every year in the UK. I could be wrong here but judging by the crowds at the Relentless Boardmasters festival I reckon all 250000 of them do it in Newquay in the space of a few days. As well as being a lot of fun, Boardmasters was very busy.
Boardmasters has been running for 30 years now and the event has a special place in my heart as it kick started my passion for action sports when I first attended it 10 years ago. Back then I was a wee lad who couldn’t kickflip, surf or DJ and Boardmasters was a small beach party with a couple of stalls, a vert ramp and some guys swanning about in the surf. Nowadays I still can’t kickflip, surf, or DJ whereas Boardmasters has grown and developed into a massive festival that can kickflip 20 sets, surf waves bigger than your house and DJ like Fatboy Slim.
Ok I lied, the festival can’t do any of those things but the skaters, surfers and DJ’s there can! Boardmasters is now home to a 6 star ASP surf competition, an international vert skateboard competition, BMX midi ramp jam and huge headline acts like Fatboy Slim. Supported by Relentless energy drink for the third year in a row, Boardmasters has come of age.
I was there for a full week and caught a bit of the skate and surfing action for your viewing pleasure. I neglected to take my camera out to see any bands/djs/festival folk due to the fact that my camera is well heavy and takes up more room than a 4 pack of beers. Accordingly, I had myÂ prioritiesÂ sorted and took the booze. Sorry that I didn’t get any “festival” type shots but you’ll be happy to know that I had a great time frolicking around the festival site whilst a little bit intoxiccated with Aldi’s finest lager.
Luckily for you guys, Relentless have got my back and here’s what pretty much everyone at the festival looked like:
This is what Fatboy Slim looks like in case you forgot:
And yes, he does look like your mates dad. Funny that he’s drinking Red Bull, I guess there just wasn’t enough Relentless on site and please don’t ask me what that can of WD40 is about. I haven’t a clue but if you want to know the secret to being a superstar DJ please send me Â£450 and I’ll get right back to you. Maybe then you’ll have a light show this good!
Before I move back to the actual boarding at Boardmasters I’ll fill you in on how to get free beers at a festival:
1: Have some kind of non-punter wristband (front of house/site wide will do)
2:Â BE NICE (to everyone, especially to the girls at accreditation)
3: Act like you know what you doing (worked on getting into the hospitality bar, didn’t work on getting on to Fatboy Slims coach)
These 3 simple rules enabled my buddy James and myself to spend next to nothing on Saturday night, we also made a couple of friends and felt like big deal pro skaters/djs/industry types. The key here is to be really, really nice to people.
We lost all our friends and decided to be nice to people who looked like they needed help/a friend. We helped a guy get a lighter, we helped a guy and a girl get some fags, we entertained a couple of girls, helped a really bored security guards shift go a bit better (we think), we even managed to get the girls at the accreditation office some free cider. Happy days.
In regards to the fags and lighter, someone we told about this pointed out that essentially we were just spreading lung cancer around the festival, which I guess is a fair point. However I think the karma Gods like a bit of a smoke and they sure looked after us!
This fella didn’t have to worry about lung cancer though, he’s far too young to smoke and spent all week skating the vert ramp. Little man, big ramp; we wish we could skate vert when we were his age!
In the Vans Vert Vompetition, The UK’s very own Jake Anderson walked away with 3rd place. Marcelo Batsos made the trip all the way from Brazil to claim 2nd place by getting super tech on the coping and looking super stylish in the air. Here he is emitting some godlike aura during practice.
Despite the skill of the lad from Brazil, the talent of Paul Luc Ronchetti shone through on home soil. He walked away with the top spot and a big novelty prize cheque for a shitload of cash! Not bad for a days work of doing stunts and grabbing your nose.
Before the comp I watched a bunch of juniors shred the ramp. I’ll let you decide if this kid was doing it wrong and ended up lips 2 da floor or whether he rode away.
As I headed to check out the surfing I bumped into the guys at the National Trust. They tried to flog me this snurfer without bindings, but I wasn’t having any of it. There wasÂ absolutelyÂ no snow and the graphics kind of suck so there was no way I was paying a yearly subscription just to ride that thing. They then tried to say it was an old school surfboard. Yeah right, who’s ever seen a surfboard like that?!
I finally made it to the beach to check out some surfing. To be honest I had no idea what was going on, The tide was out and you either needed a telescope or a cameraÂ lensÂ the size of a power station cooling tower to actually see what was happening. I guess a bunch of guys with floppy hair were splashing about riding waves, doing cutbacks and whatever other turny tricks you can do on a surfboard. Some of them will have won some money and spent it on some nice things (I have no idea what surfers spend their money on, surf wax maybe?).
Once the tide came in I took a couple of shots of people surfing about, this is one of them. It features a surfer, a boat, a seagull and a rocky outcrop. If there was a lighthouse on the rocky outcrop I think I’d have all the major seaside occupations covered: surfer, fisherman, seagull and lighthouse keeper. You’ll just have to settle for three of them.
I soon wandered back to my hotel and hired a surfboard to have a ride around. I’d been bodyboarding (or dick dragging as those in the know call it) for most of the week and feltÂ embarrassedÂ being the micro scooter kid of the sea.
I”d like to say that my surf experience went like this:
Alas me hearty shipmates, it did not. For me surfing is always more of an experiment in paddling, falling over and nearly drowning. I managed to stand up a couple of times and felt like Kelly Slater but I don’t think I stand a chance of winning next years Boardmasters comp. Stranger things have happened though, so watch out you floppy haired, fat willy wearing surf punks I might be in with a chance!
On my way home my feet were aching, which would have really sucked if it hadn’t have been for a nearby chiropadist. One with a sense of humour no less!
With my feet fixed I was well up for some more exciting things and what is moreÂ excitingÂ than…
Not a lot really but I’ll tell you what is a lot less exciting than dinosaurs. A bunch of plastic, lifeless dinosaur models inside an amusement arcade, that’s what. Newquay this is, Jurassic park this aint. Needless to say I didn’t check it out.
What I did spend some time checking out was this place though…
“Oh, a nice house on it’s own island. Lovely. Kinda cool but not that great.” I hear you say. Well let me tell you a thing about this house. This house is f***ing awesome. This house is the perfect hideout in the event of a zombie apocalypse.
Whilst you’re getting devoured by the undead hordes, I’ll be chillaxing in my impreganble surf fortress, riding waves and living the dream as a solitary soul surfer in Newquay.
So thanks Relentless Boardmasters. The surfing, skating and music was really good fun and I now know where I’m headed in the event of the dead rising from their graves!
For more info about Relentless Boardmasters check out the website here.
Whilst your at it check out these vids from the skating, surfing and bmxing.
Words and photos by Rhys Crilley.
(apart from the photos by Relentless)