BUDS 2011 – Dryslope, Dancing and Double Frontflips!

BUDS 2011 – Dryslope, Dancing and Double Frontflips!

The Oxford Cambridge boat race is probably the most prestigious and well know inter-university sporting event in the world. It’s the ultimate test of strength, stamina and skill for the rowers taking part. And maybe watching the offspring of Citibank CEO’s with names like Rupert and Tarquin, swan about on the Thames is your cup of tea, but I’m going to take a shot in the dark here and presume that it’s not.

I reckon that because you’re reading Board-Mag.Com you’re more into powder slashing, rail slaying and freestyle snowboarding, right? Good. Well forget about the Oxbridge boat race. There’s a much more exciting student event in town, and it involves a shitload of snowboarding.

The British Universities Dry Slope Championship is the highlight of student snowboarding in the UK. Over 2000 students from across the UK descended on Edinburgh to snowboard, party and hopefully end up in their hostel with a member of the opposite sex. This year BUDS took place on the 11th-12th of November at Hillend dryslope and the standard of snowboarding on display was better than ever before. Check out the video and then read the article to find out what went down!

Things kicked off on Friday with a bit of old school slalom action. No baggy pants, gangster steeze or gnarly rails, just good ol’ fashioned turns, slalom poles and lycra cat suits. Birmingham’s Andrew Logsdail soul surfed his way to victory claiming the title of best-student-snowboarder-at-turning-around-poles-real-fast-on-dryslope.

Although the slalom was good fun, most people were at BUDS to enjoy the slopestyle competition, and this year no one was disappointed. The course consisted of Hillends famous snowflex kicker, an A frame battleship rail and then a 20 foot S box which even the likes of Jed Anderson would find tricky to nail on dendex. During the qualifying heats it was obvious that the standard was higher than ever before. Backside 720s, corked fives, huge backflips and backside rodes were a common occurrence. If riders had any hope of getting into the final they had to stomp their kicker trick super clean and get gnarly on the boxes at the bottom.

As the Red Bull DJ’s got the crowd dancing, the riders in the final were throwing some insane shapes of their own. Andy Flynn threw down a backside 540 stalefish and hit the A frame box with a switch nose switch up front board and rode off into the distance with a bronze medal. Edinburgh local Kyle Wise went all kinds of upside down with a massive corked backside 540 mute and stomped a switch tail to 270 out on the A frame, then hitting the S rail switch. Despite stiff competition, it was up and coming UK shredstar Danny McCormick who stole the show and was crowned BUDS Syndicate Slopestyle champion 2011. Danny went into outer space with an absolutely massive, uber corked backside 720 stalefish to a super stylish switch run on the boxes. In the ladies category, Clare Bevis just slid out on a 360 and had to settle for third. Breezy White took second after going for a huge frontflip and not quite sticking it. It turns out that she broke her wrist in the process but that didn’t stop her from front boarding the A frame and S box! First place went to Anne Beswick from Bradford who stomped a backside 360 super clean on the jump and shredded the rails better than the boys.

With the riding over for the first day, everyone headed out to party. Record amounts of Jager, Tenants and cheap wine were drunk and needless to say on Saturday everybody was feeling a little worse for wear. However, that didn’t stop the boarder-cross racing from being as epic as ever. Bails, riders pushing each other over and some super speedy riding entertained the crowd of hung over spectators as Glaswegian local Andy Flynn held on to his title for the second year in a row. The racing didn’t end there though and as the day went on the dual slalom got underway. Teams of 4 raced each other down the dendex slopes and after months of serious training regimes, early morning jogging, board waxing and edge sharpening, Birmingham stormed to victory.

The Rome Big Air is the highlight of BUDS for obvious reasons. Everyone loves watching people throw themselves around in the air and even the most die hard of lycra clad ski racers (yes, they have events for skiers at BUDS too!) can appreciate a good bail or backflip. For the first time in history the weather stayed nice for the Big Air final and the riding was taken to a whole new level by the riders who qualified.

Anne Beswick won gold by raising the bar for the ladies after stomping a no grabbed backside 5 with more style than you’ll ever have. In the Mens category Benn Venn took bronze with an impressive back 7, but Matt Simpson went bigger and snatched silver with a back 7 mute. Once again Danny McCormick was on fire and had the crowd going mental for an insane array of tricks which included a cab underfilp 720. Rightly so, he walked away with the gold and the glory.

With the snowboarding over, everybody headed to the BUDS ball where Scotland’s biggest sound system kept everyone dancing into the early hours. Another year, another epic BUDS where the standard of snowboarding has been pushed to dizzy new heights. Who knows what we’ll see in 2012, double corks perhaps?!

As the government takes access to affordable education away, I’m sure that those snowboarders who do pay the nine grand to go to university will still rock up at BUDS and throw down. If Braveheart was around nowadays I’m sure he’d be screaming “you can take away our education, but you can never take our freedom to shred and party hard!” All whilst downing a pint and stomping a seven on the snowflex kicker at Hillend. Or something like that.

If you’re a snowboarder and a student make sure you go to the BUSC Main Event in Saalbach-Hinterglemm this March. If you’re not a student then check out the video from BUDS 2011. I promise you, it’s way more exciting than watching Tarquin, Rupert and Harry row around on the Thames.

Check out the BUSC website!

Words by Rhys Crilley

Video by The BUSC Media Crew

Photos by Stevie Mckenna, Rich Bennet and Ross Henrys

Kitesurfing in the Uists

Kitesurfing in the Uists

Mutiny Team Rider Ally Beaven in UistMutiny Team Rider Ally Beaven recently went on a kitesurfing trip to the Uists in the Hedbrides. Not normally the top of the “must visit” list for kitesurfers but it turned out to be pretty special. Here is the trip report from Ally:

One of the most amazing parts of our recent trip to South Uist is that you very rarely hear it talked about as a kitesurfing destination. Tiree is well known in this regard, largely thanks to the attentions of our sail boarding friends at the PWA, but it seems that most kiters are unaware of the amazing riding to be had in the islands further north. Looking at the enormous choice of beaches, sandbars and lochs and the incredible range of conditions they provide you would expect the outer Hebrides to be overflowing with kiters (and windsurfers), when in fact we didn’t see a single one the whole week we were there.

Of course, this is in part understandable. It’s a three hour drive from Edinburgh to Oban then five hours on the boat to Lochboisdale, those coming from further south having to add on even more time in the car. It’s easy to see why people pass up the opportunity to spend a day or more travelling to Scotland when EasyJet can drop you off in Egypt in four hours. The amount of driving involved can also cause people to think of the trip as being fairly expensive for something most would consider a cheap option. That said, it can certainly be done a whole lot cheaper than most package trips to farther flung, sunnier climbs, especially before and after peak season.

Our accomodation bill was £30 each for the week and my total spend was under £200 round trip from Edinburgh. Plus, seeing as petrol prices and ferry fares make getting to and from the islands the most expensive part, it is more economical to stay for longer. An added incentive to extend a kite trip is always welcome.

People may also question whether they want to spend their money and time going somewhere they still need to wear a wetsuit and where the wind isn’t as predictable as the thermals found abroad. Firstly, the Hebrides are ideally located to catch the Gulf Stream, so while it may not be as warm as it is further south on the west coast, it is not significantly colder and certainly warmer than the east coast. It is also worth remembering that in addition to wind, the western isles are famed for the amount of sunshine they get. Everyone is familiar with “Tiree gets more sunshine and more wind than anywhere else in the UK” statistic which gets thrown around, and to a certain extent whether or not it’s actually true is beside the point. The combination of wind, sun and excellent choice of riding conditions puts the western isles right at the top of table of UK kitesurf destinations* and arguably up there with standard go to places like Egypt and Tarifa.

Regarding reliability of wind, in our case we were riding 7 days from 8 and my biggest kite was a 9. Our stats loving friends over at Windfinder add their empirical heft to all the anecdotal reports which suggest that we didn’t just get freakishly lucky; year round the percentage probability of force 4 or higher sits in the high sixties or low seventies (December behaves exceptionally at 54% but as an islander I can confirm that should you venture north at that time of year your 7 will definitely serve you better than your 12). Add in the prevailing SWs and things start to look pretty good. Bear in mind that this is frontal wind, not the thermal stuff you get elsewhere so you’re still not guaranteed to be riding every day, and certainly not riding the same kite.

Even with the number crunchers on side, a choice between variable Scottish wind and the consistent winds of southern of Spain and north Africa may sound like a no brainer but to me it’s actually part of the appeal. A significant appeal of kitesurfing compared to other sports is the variety that it offers, variety which I fear may be lacking somewhat in some popular kiting destinations. For me, a kiting holiday in which I ride the same kite and the same board every day in the same water conditions is only one step up from a no wind kiting holiday. I want big kite wakestyle sessions in flat water or kickers, smaller kite sessions in waves, tiny kite boosting and kiteloop sessions, wakeskate sessions, chop and open ocean sessions . . . you get the idea.

The Uists offers all of them.

Those of you who read Dom Moore’s blog (Ed. See our interview with Dom Moore) will be aware of his recent Project Green Grass started as a 7 day surf trip at home but ended up being 29 consecutive days (last I read) in the water in Cornwall. Dom’s take home message was that if you want to get out consistently, you maybe don’t need to look as far a field as you think; February in Cornwall was more consistent than Hawaii a few weeks previously.

Dom’s sentiments regarding surfing in Cornwall are ones I’d reiterate regarding kiting the the Uists. Sure, if you have your heart set on holidays where the bar is a stone’s throw from the launch area and your wetsuit stays firmly in the garage at home then maybe you’ll be a bit disappointed. But if you can see past the lack of discotheques, karaoke and other trendy things that The Kids enjoy then there’s a very real possibility of some top class, crowd free kiting.

A couple of times during the less clement spells of the week one of our number observed that were we in Tarifa we wouldn’t have to ride in the rain. There followed several discussions of the relative merits of southern Spain vs. the Outer Hebrides; for four out of five of us the Hebrides came out on top.

* – with one possible exception which, if you’re lucky, I might telll you about in a week or two.