BY Sim Bradley
ThinkTank 2009… where do I even start?
It’s been a very long 14-day process from start to finish, but this year’s ThinkTank has honestly been one of the best weeks of my life. The original concept for ThinkTank (and The Harbour Project) was always to simply bring everyone together for some riding and hopefully push the boundaries in the process, but I was not prepared for just how much everyone got involved this year and how it all paid off as a result.
First of all, wakeskating in the UK is no longer small. There are hundreds of wakeskaters around the country and a lot of kids out there who are killing it, especially at the cables. This really showed through this year with the open qualifying session on the Thursday and all who qualified really took advantage of the situation and stepped things up a gear. The fact that a 14-year old kid who nobody had ever heard of (Will Bradley) was the first to get a shuv off the hubba ledge, says it all.
Over these four days we all witnessed a huge turning point in the sport. We’ve been pushing the use of bumps & nugz for a couple of years now, but this year people really embraced them and we saw a lot of true locked-in skateboard rail tricks. Si Powell, Louis Floyd, Matt Crowhurst, Liam Smith and Terry Hannam really pushed this side of rail riding, and with it was the skateboarders Liam, Si and Terry who really took it back to the streets with feeble, blunt and smith grinds. Out on the Jet Ski course Jan Kissman, Louis Floyd Crowhurst and Taylor Dell raised their game and destroyed the Nike 6.0 Euro Gap, a feature that we had been a little apprehensive of due to it’s high gnar-factor, but everyone over the week hit it and made the step-up with ease, particularly Zander Jones, another of our qualifiers.
I’m not going to spoil too much for now, but I will tell you that the prize of a custom Nike 6.0 Monkey Wench winch went to the best trick performed by anyone over the four days. It was a hard call to make for myself, Jordan from Nike, Ben from Goodwood, my colleague Tim Woodhead and OG of the sport Pat McGucken to make, but in the end we all agreed that Terry Hannam’s frontside 180 to switch Smith grind on the steel handrail was the sickest thing we’ve ever seen done on a wakeskate in Europe. We built the stair set to resemble a skateboard spot, and it’s only fitting that a skateboarding trick won the Best Trick award.
In closing I want to say a huge thank you to everyone that came down. We had a huge list of helpers who without their efforts and willingness to contribute to the wakeskate community, the event would have never been the outstanding success that it became. Special thanks to Martin Gary, Ben Hannam, Tim Woodhead, Liam Smith, Ollie Woods, Terry Hannam and Ollie Dunn; you are all legends and we appreciate you more than you could ever know.
Thanks again to Nike 6.0, Goodwood, Liquid Force, Suso and especially Ten-80 and the West Midlands Waterski Centre for letting us use their outstanding venue to enable ThinkTank to be everything that it had the potential to be.
We will be back next May to kick off the season in style – I’m trembling with excitement already
“I love it when a plan comes together”