A couple weeks ago we took a trip almost as far south as we could to the seaside resort that is Newquay, Cornwall, for Boardmasters festival. The folks at Vans were kind enough to invite us down for 5 days to experience all that the festival had to offer, and it’s safe to say that we weren’t often sat looking for something to do …
The festival itself encompasses all manor of extreme sports, including surfing, skateboarding and BMX, but it’s not just about the sporting action, because there’s also a full music festival to accompany the beach-side activities … like I said, we weren’t short of things to do.
Our first afternoon was spent getting to know the Boardmasters site and getting our head around what we’d be doing for the following four days. Fistral Bay was our first point of call, a huge open bay where the weeks surfing action would take place. On land, a short walk from the beach were both the Vans mini ramp and vert ramp. The vert would be home for the skateboarders in attendance, with plenty of practice sessions and skate jams leading up to the competition at the weekend. I was pretty amazed by the age of some of the talent dropping in on the huge vert, with many of the skaters under the age of 16, and definitely more skill than I’ve ever mastered in my 21 years on a board.
The mini ramp was where the week’s BMX action took place, with riders from across the UK and Europe making the trek and pushing through the weather to put on a spectacle of a show. Vans riders Ben Hennon and Tobias Wicke stole the show, tearing up the ramp (and beyond) after taking only a few minutes to get used to the ramp.
The music festival at Watergate bay, a short journey from the beach at Fistral, contained a whole variety of delights of a different sort. The Vans tent played host to some of the biggest and best young rock and hardcore bands from across the world. Highlights for us included Sacremento, California’s Trash Talk, Chicago boys Madina Lake, and of course, some UK representation in the form of London’s We Are The Ocean. Madina Lake peformed without bass player Matthew Leone, who is currently recovering from a head injury, but with the performance they put on even with a man down, you’d be forgiven for thinking they were always a three-piece. Vans did their bit to help Leone by donating all profits from sales of their trademark waffles to his recovery fund, while also helping to keep those in attendance well stuffed. Other highlights on the Main Stage included the likes of Example, Chase & Status and festival headliners Leftfield.
The sporting action continued all weekend down by the beach, with finals taking place on Sunday to end what had been an incredible week. French surfer Marc Lacomare scooped the surf prize, taking away with him a nice $16,000 sum. Alex Colborn took the BMX prize, closely followed by Tobias Vik and Ben Hennan in 2nd and 3rd place, and over on the vert, Vans man Sam Beckett stole the show, winning the top prize.
As a newbie to Boardmasters, and action sports festivals as a whole, we were completely and totally impressed by everything we experienced while in Newquay. There’s definitely something for everyone at a festival like this, as those who are into their sport (whatever that may be) can spend all day by the beach, and if it’s music you’re up for, Watergate bay has everything you could want. We came back to London suffering severe party withdrawl symptoms after 4 nights in a row of Boardmasters action, and we definitely can’t wait to get back to the beach next year. We were lucky enough to catch up with a few of the surfers, skaters, BMX riders and musicians who were responsible for making Boardmasters happen, so check out our video feature which goes a little to explaining what the festival is about, and how much fun we had.
Until next year!