Happenings – Stair Set Sessions
Text and photos by Ben Howells
Our destination was Langenfeld, wedged in between the two large German cities of Duesseldorf and Koeln (Cologne as we know it) in the middle of Germany, which is surprisingly reachable from England, only 4 hours onward drive from the ferry. The site is pretty amazing, with 4 full-size cables, a System 2.0, Liquid Force shop, full restaurant and separate bar/pizza shack, camping, a McDonalds, Burger King and Aldi just across the road, and probably more that I’ve forgotten.
Our crew started out small, consisting of myself, CTRL rider Deano Warboys, James Harrington of new UK wakeskate brand Aesthetic, plus Princes local and all-round lad Mark Ovens. However, this grew considerably with the addition of 2 Harrington family members, WMSki-reared Chris and dad Nick, UK wakeskate prodigy Ollie Moore, and Northerners Mike Bibby, Marcus Jackson and Si Powell.
We were at Langenfeld for the yearly Wake Up event, a long weekend across all 5 cables with parties to match, this year including a rather special addition in the form of a contest on the new floating pool and stair set from UNIT, with wild-card places at Wake the Line the up for grabs. The obstacle was also open to all throughout the weekend, a great chance for those to try a pool gap who would not normally have the opportunity to hit something so unique.
Upon arrival we were amazed at the setup – it really is quite unlike anything in the UK, with the main cable packed with well-constructed and positioned obstacles, such as a huge curved wallride, S-Box, flat bars, kickers, and heaps more. We were initially a little disappointed by fairly long queues and 3-lap limits, however with a total of 5 cables to choose from running pretty much all day, every day until 10pm there was always quiet times when all of us got to go out and ride together – the highlights being when the whole crew were riding cable 4 Saturday night, and Deano and myself having cable 1 pretty much to ourselves Monday night at the end of the camp for a great copycat sesh.
Wake Up isn’t just about riding and the parties were nothing less than epic. I slept about 8 hours in total from Thursday to Sunday and most of the boys managed about the same – Friday went off with a good atmosphere around the campsite and a packed out dance tent, and Saturday night was one of the best parties we had ever experienced. Things kicked off with an epic lightning storm on the horizon, everything gets a little hazy from there but the party went into the early hours with many campers not retiring to bed until past 6am.
The blissful hungover sleep didn’t last long as this is a campsite and when one person is awake, everyone is! Less than 2 hours after retiring to bed, we were up and awake for the Relentless Stair Set Session. Taking place on the UNIT pool gap, the competition saw some incredible riding. One of the highlights which really stood out for me were Trevor Bashir’s Nosepress backside 3 out on the right-hand rail. The UK skaters were representing in force, with Ollie, James and Si all taking part. Ollie and Si had already been shredding in practice and got through the initial round easily.
In the semi’s it was a close-call – we thought Ollie was through, with a solid backside 180 down the steps. However, he failed to stick the frontside lipslide he had been stomping so consistently in practice, and with scores based on the best two out of three hits for each rider, he was beaten by an ollie and a regular 180. Pretty frustrating to say the least! Si’s heat was a little later, and having learned from Ollie’s misfortune, he made sure to put down a safety ollie before stomping a clean backside Shuv down the steps to get through to the finals. With a repeat performance in the super-final, and the other two finalists failing to stick their tricks, Si emerged on top, with a wildcard ticket for Wake the Line this weekend and came away €300 richer, although we think most of this may have gone on flights back to Germany for Wake the Line!
With the comp wrapped up and most campers too tired to party or ride any more, Monday was a quiet affair, with a few mellow photoshoots and chilled cable rides, plus relaxing with some of our new German friends before our reluctant return to England on Tuesday morning, eagerly planning our return trip later in the summer for more good times. We’ll definitely be returning for Wake Up next year, maybe staying that extra week for Wake The Line to avoid the long drive home and subsequent 8-hour return journey back to Cologne a few days later!
Wake the Line Wildcard Winners
Wake – Kaesen Suyderhoud (US)
Skate – Si Powell (UK)