We asked Ed Leigh if he would like to come back and write some more great reviews of Championship Snowboarding for Season 2 and he did! Read this for a comprehensive insight to the world of UK snowboarding from one of the best….
“Yes we’re back! I’ve really been looking forward to this, CSS is the best way to see what’s going on in the dry slope and indoor scene and the first round of edits are bangers, congratulations to everyone who’s riding, you’ve done yourselves proud.
A new season and a new slope in the shape of Warmwell and we’ve got a new look team for Tamworth who have benefitted from a mass exodus from Castleford where the management strangely refused to back a team so their loss is Tamworth’s gain.
Both of these teams faced each other in first round and it was a great opening round for Warmwell, the Dorset snow flex slope have a decent kicker, pipe and flat bar set up that the crew there have put to good use. The stand out for me was Mason King, his fs 720 switch up on the flat down bar is lovely and he shows great control to lock it out and finish the spin on the bar and he looks relaxed doing it. Kai Luke deserves a quick mention though for his Chicane come hand plant transfer over the hip, for me it’s creative use of the slopes like this, essentially the closest thing we have to freeriding on domestic slopes that really gets me stoked. Back in the day Si Brass did a bomb drop off the corner of the conveyer belt at Tamworth that would be well worth revisiting… Anyway with that seamless segue lets move to the Midlands where the UK’s first ever dome, Tamworth looks like a very different crew this year. The kicker set up is still the smallest of all the slopes so will hamstring them slightly, but the rail game for everyone here is very strong. Mia Brookes at 10 years old is the youngest rider on CSS, but she is competing not as a young gun but as Tamworth’s female. She is best described as a natural, already her repertoire is a sight to behold, but her cab 1 to knee slide backside 180 will strike fear into the hearts of all the slopes and is the stand out of the Tamworth edit. Ross Needham closes the Tamworth edit and his back 5 stale is tidy, but it’s the simple but very effective mirror image on his rails that caught my eye. Both the boardslide 270 and switch boardslide 270 are very stylish, so remember it doesn’t always have to be huge or super tech to score well. Tamworth take the win here and having been beaten in every round last year this is their first victory.
Aberdeen vs Braehead saw solid all round performances from both slopes, if you were lining the women up head to head I think Abby Greig clinched it with the confidence and size of her back 1, but it was very close. Fraser Jack had a lovely clean section for Aberdeen, but across the board Braehead had just that little bit more finesse, Angus Malloch had plenty of wang on his frontside 5 tail (the slow mo was used to good effect here) he then backed it up with a hard way nollie bs 270 boardslide to 50/50 360 out. Sounds hectic but it worked really nicely. Secret weapon, young gun Leon Drynan looks even stronger this year and his cab 7 was a lovely attention grabber to open. Cam Smith his opposite number for Aberdeen was a worthy adversary, especially with the frontside Handplant on snowflex, if he can get a solid grab on that and stall it on the lip then it’ll really give the judges something to think about. It was a solid first round victory for Braehead, but they need to make sure the filming is in focus next time. Equally plenty of positives for Aberdeen to build on.
The third and final match up is – I’m going to come out and say it – it’s the highest standard of domestic riding I have ever seen.. These two slopes have some incredible riders at their disposal and this match up is best represented (but not limited to) the clash of the titans that is Matt McCormick for Bearsden and Jamie Nicholls for Hemel. Both of them are elite level riders with Matt having stepped up to the highest level of competition last winter. But it’s great to see these two riding on home snow and really pushing to try and take the bragging rights. McCormick gets the upper hand on the kickers with a switch back 9 and an early grab back 3 melon, Jamie answers with a lovely cab 7 off the toes but unsurprisingly his real strength comes from the rails with a beautiful cab 450 to boardslide and backlip 270 out on the curved rail and despite McCormick’s creativity I had Nicholls ahead. So it is a testament to the rest of the Bearsden crew that they pulled this one back. Go and watch the edits carefully and you’ll see just how hard it is to split these slopes. Lewis Moore and Liam Tynan the Young Guns are both so good, both start with back 7’s, but Moore’s is bigger using every centimetre of the landing. On the rails it’s Liam’s tech vs Lewis’ show and the cannon boardslide to mute backflip from Lewis takes it, but Liam’s half cab into the whale tail, frontflip out probably takes the third trick, but it’s a little too late.
Hollie Smith vs Cerys Allen is much harder to call because of the variety. Hollie has kicker, rail and transition and the classic front 3 on the kicker is huge, but both the rail and transition are simpler tricks. So Cerys lost out on the front 3, but then steps up on the rails with a front 1 50/50 to switch back 3 out! But the fact that she then goes for repetition with a front 3 off the cannon rail might have seen her drop points, so I would put this down as a tie. The way I see it this battle came down to Ciaran Tucker and Jake Binnee, Jake is solid, stylish and creative with his tricks and lines, but Ciaran has all those attributes combined with a bigger bag of tricks, the back 9 to open and the toedeo 7 to close essentially put this match up to bed and it could be a bitter pill to swallow for Hemel because on the strength of these edits I think it will be one of these teams that takes the win this year…
Great first round, so entertaining can’t wait for Round 2!”