The blading calendar always kicks off the New Year with a flurry of events during February. Winterclash had been and gone which meant that the creation of Matthew Deardon was next on the cards. With Valo brand sponsoring the event I packed my bags and headed up to Liverpool ready for the UK’s premier blading event, Laced!
Arriving just mere minutes before the competing started I was greeting by a sight which both gave me a lot of hope and also irritated me. The massive cue to get into the park is something that I had not seen at a UK blade event for a very long time. Although being a Brit and therefore famed at being good at cuing I most definitely am not. The only thing that help me hold my patients is the fact I new the large crowed of people trying to get into the park was a sign of either growth in the scene or more confidence in UK blade events. Either way it’s all good news.
Once inside it was the standard story, many hello’s, hugs and chats with old mates as well as forging new relationship with new faces. The action was already going down on the park. The girls were already on the park. It was the best female blade competition I’ve seen in ages. Eight girls on course all shredding just as hard as the guys would be later on, in the end it was Stephanie Richer who would take the win with some incredible skating that deserved the top podium spot.
The amateurs were up next and yet again the level of riding was so much higher than expected. Matty Vella who’s latest edit dropped only that week was a force on the park, show casing that’s he’s not just a edit skater. Slap-Taps Matt Woods casually made his way around the park making some very hard tricks look far to easy. Everyone threw down hard but in the end it was local Nathan Robinson who took first, his park knowledge and some insane tricks like the 1280 up the step up giving him the needed edge.
During all of these proceeding it must be noted that sessions where going down throughout the rest of the park. The newly revamped street room got a severe beasting from a medley of different riders. Valo Uk’s Connaire Skerritt racked up a long list of killer tricks, the use UFO all the way across the big quarter wall to 80 off the end was a pleasure to view. Ollie Jones and James Pearce both killed it as well, two totally different types of skating but both guys made different parts of the park their own.
Last but certainly not least were the pros and with some huge names in the mix like Anthony Pottier, Roman Abrate and Alex Burston everyone knew it was going to be a big one. The jams proved hectic with hammers being dropped all over the park. Pottier was flowing around the park beautifully linking tricks up like on a seasoned pro can. Roman Abrate when spin crazy as expected. The surprise of the final was Jan Ebbert who put down some insane tricks and was more consistent than any other blader on coarse.
Stephen Swain was on a mission and his 540 disaster dark side True-Spin Acid on the big box got a massive reaction from the crowd. The finals ran straight into the best trick and that’s when it really went a bit crazy. There was body flying all over the place, Jack Swindles was attempting some kind of crazy flip into a grind on the box which the last try resulted in a huge unplanned super man that got a huge laugh from everyone. Rob Pruett tried to kill him self yet again with a massive disaster to the gold rail. Unfortunately it resulted in him hitting his head super hard on the floor.
Still the best trick went on and Danny Alderage who had been mic’ing the event all day was struggling to bring it too a close as everybody wanted just one more stab. Valo Uk’s Elliot Stevens managed to Topsoul up the kink rail with hopping the flat which was insane although he clearly wanted to add a 360 Soul on the flat after. It was Pottier that shut it down with a massive Soul up to disaster 360 Topsoul on the box. Best trick was given to the European rider as well as second place in the pro event but it was finally Stephen Swains day to take the first place at Laced.
All that was left now was to head into Liverpool to celebrate an awesome day of blading at the now infamous Bummper. A huge thank you is due to Rampworx and Matt Deardon for hosting another stunning rollerblading event. I personally can’t wait for the next one!
Video – Ryan Tait
Words & Photos – Sam Cooper