As the original indoor shred facility in the UK, and one of the main hubs for some of our best indoor rail riders, it was always going to be exciting holding a Whitelines Rail Jam at Tamworth SnowDome. Quite why we’ve never held an event there before we’re not sure – there’s a first time for everything though right? The November Knockout combines the laid back jam format of our previous Whitelines Rail Jams with an exciting new knockout twist, and offers a shed load of cash money and prizes in the process. In terms of the turnout, park setup, level of riding and overall atmosphere, the oldest dome in the UK certainly kicked off our rail jam tour with a bang.
With a bulging prize purse of £700 cash money and a whole load of high-end action sports cameras from our title sponsors iON (on which the entirety of the above edit was filmed) to be split between the top riders, everyone was keen to impress the judges right off the bat. Tamworth’s shaping crew had done a stellar job of pulling together a banging park setup in a matter of minutes rather than hours (yeah, we couldn’t believe it either) and the riders were frothing to hit the brand new wally down flat down Shred Collective rail. The rail was funded by the UK snowboard community thanks to a joint effort between Whitelines, FBBB and clothing company Moog Royale, who sold special Shred Collective t-shirts to pay for the costs of the rail. And what a beast of a rail it is. Because of Tamworth’s relatively thin layer of snow, the rail ended up towering rather intimidatingly above the snow. The drop at the end was a good 5 feet – enough to challenge even the most experienced Tam locals. Mikee from FBBB and Lucas Brammel were on mc duties getting everyone pumped and before long, everyone, including the girls, were throwing down tricks on it.
The hour and a half long jam session was more than enough time for the riders to get used to the whole course and start putting down hammers in a bid to make the final eight. Andy Nudds, who was feeling slightly weary from a late one at the Westbeach In and Out at Milton Keynes the previous night (and at which he claimed first place in token Nuddsy style), was looking impressive from the outset, sliding frontboards through the Shred Collective double kink. Calum Paton was throwing sick cab 180’s on-backside 360’s off and Will Smith got a bolts backside 180 on cab 360 off. The girls were also sending it – Alise Balode and Helen Pigka were both giving the rail a good go and Alise in particular took some nasty slams in the process. Becky Menday, Orla Doolin and Rio Peterson were also looking really confident on the rail, sliding all the way through its kinked twelve metres. There were so many tricks going down around us that the photogs and filmers were struggling to know which direction to point their lenses in! Throughout the jam session, spot prizes from Stance, Dragon, Mons Royale and Monster were being chucked out to riders for everything from the steeziest front board to the best bum slide on the rail.
As the jam came to a close and the judges put their heads together to place the top 8 male riders and top 4 female riders in qualifying order, the giant tournament stye board was dragged out onto the slope ready for the knockout stages. The highest qualifying rider was paired up with the 8th qualifying rider, the 2nd with the 7th and so on… and each would have two runs per stage with the best run counting. With riders spending most of the time hitting the Shred Collective feature in the jam, riders and judges opted to hold the knockout stages on that rail. A separate mini knockout comp was also held for the women because the standard was so high. Orla, who took a nasty slam to the chest in the jam, was perhaps still feeling a little shook up and wasn’t quite able to put down a trick that could better a 50-50 to frontboard from Rio. Helen wasn’t quite able to make it to the end of the rail either and was knocked out by a confident Becky Menday. Becky and Rio then had a further three runs to determine the women’s champ. The contest was heated, but Becky’s final hit – a steezy as hell frontslide noseblunt through the whole rail, was enough to secure the £100 prize.
The men’s knockout stages were equally exciting with a bit of a who’s who of UK rail riders making the cut. Si Foster, Jonny Russell, Andy Nudds, Matt Higson, Will Smith, Josh Ogden, Calum Paton and Ollie Dutton all hopped onto the rope tow to the top of the slope to try and battle their way to the finals. Si made it to the semi’s with tricks such as solid front board through the double kink, as did Andy with an equally bolts front board. Will couldn’t quite stay on the rail until the end but did enough to knock out Josh who was going for a mental backside 270 off the flat part of the rail. Ollie was also looking ridiculously solid, managing to oust Calum.
The first semi pairing saw Si and Nuddsy go head to head. Si couldn’t quite put down a solid trick and was eventually bettered by a backside blunt 270 from Nuddsy. Will Smith put down a clean boardslide in his semi which wasn’t quite enough to top a bolts frontside boardslide from Ollie Dutton. However, both Will and Si stepped it up in the 3rd/4th playoff with Si landing a 50-50-front 180 switch up-switch backside 180 out and Will stomping a textbook backside 180-switch backside 180 out that the judges deemed worthy of third place. We were a little cheeky with our edit here as the tricks you see of Andy and Ollie weren’t actually their final hits. The reason why? They didn’t land any! The pair had three runs each in the final but weren’t quite able to stomp their tricks when it mattered. Nuddsy was going for front board pretzels but couldn’t quite ride away, while Ollie was going for a switch bluntslide switch up to front board. The judges ended up opting for Ollie’s attempt, and he walked away with the £300 first place cash money and iON Air Pro camera.
After the finals were wrapped up there was one final jam on the central plaza style feature in the centre of the slope with an iON camera up for grabs for the best trick. Si Foster, despite just missing out on the cash prizes managed to secure himself a consolation prize by winning this one. A pair of Dragon goggles was also awarded to Helen Pigka as the most progressive female rider, while Ronnie Organ won a Head snowboard as the best unsponsored rider.
With the standard of riding being as high as it was, we couldn’t have asked for a better first leg for our November Knockout tour. It was also great to see riders finding the new Shred Collective rail a challenge – even those that usually stomp tricks eight out of ten times! It’s what we need to ensure our riders can keep on progressing. The Shred Collective rail will be at each stop on our tour and rolls into Castleford this Friday for the second leg. We look forward to seeing you all there – if Tamworth is anything to go by, it’s gonna go off.
A big thank you to Tamworth SnowDome, ION Action Cameras (www.iontheaction.co.uk) and all the other event sponsors – Monster, Dragon, Stance, Head, Mons Royale, FBBB and SSX for making the first leg such a success.
WHITELINES NOVEMBER KNOCKOUT TAMWORTH RESULTS
1st: Ollie Dutton: £300 and an iON Air Pro Plus and board kit
2nd: Andy Nudds: £200 and an iON Air Pro Plus
3rd: Will Smith: £100 and an iON Air Pro
1st: Becky Menday: £100 and an iON Air Pro
BEST UNSPONSORED RIDER:
Ronnie Organ: Head Snowboard
MOST PROGRESSIVE FEMALE RIDER:
Helen Pigka: Dragon Goggles
iON CHALLENGE WINNER:
Si Foster: iON Air Pro