Paul Coupé, 17th February 1966 – 15th September 2023

I felt like I had been hit by a steam train when I received the call from Nadina informing me that Paul had died. Only six days earlier we had spent the day taking a last look at the London Calling exhibition with our partners. We were talking crap as usual, laughing and joking with the other skaters there. We went for a bite to eat and parted company at the gallery where he had parked, (after another quick visit to chat with Benjyboard legend Kadir Guirey) with the customary “See you later, be good” we all went on our way. To hear that he had passed so suddenly was completely incomprehensible, like a bad dream.

Paul had been on the UK scene for a long time and used to race downhill. I first met him at Hog Hill, Sam and I were running a dual hybrid race in our usual spot. At the time we were playing music through our PA system and, being older guys, were belting out The Clash, Killing Joke etc. The next thing this big guy appeared on a six-foot longboard along with another skater (Mike Fish).  “Loving the tunes over here, better than the shite they’re playing over there” he said pointing over towards the considerably younger longboarders over on the other hill. “So what’s with the slalom then?” He asked.

We then proceeded to talk about all aspects of slalom for ages. He knew Michael (Stride) from the Eastbourne Speed Days and had spoken to him before when buying stuff from Octane Sport, but they had never chatted at any length. He was quite taken aback when Michael said he was a former Slalom World Champion.  It was easy to see that Paul was eager to have a go through the course, so with a borrowed board he and Mike took a few tentative runs through the cones, some sketchier than others!

“This is great” he said grinning from ear to ear walking back up the hill. By the time the next Hog Hill came around he had got himself a slalom set-up and joined us for the racing. The rest is history.

Within a relatively short space of time Paul became one of most recognised and popular riders on the international slalom circuit. Over the years we travelled to races all over Europe, Holland, Germany (where he took the piss out of me mercilessly after I broke my collar bone on the GS at the Stuttgart Worlds in 2012) Spain, Czech Republic etc. He loved meeting racers, talking shop about equipment and race technique, always making new friends as he went. He was quick to pick up tips from the more experienced racers and even quicker to put them into practice. This made him a formidable and competitive opponent to come up against in a head to head race. He would often attempt to wind up his opponents when they got on the start ramps but he would always have a cheeky smile on his face when doing so.

Paul’s love of dogs was well known and he would always take time out to make a fuss of any passing wherever we were skating. Teddy his bulldog would become a regular at numerous skate meets and even had his own board – a Dog Town set-up of course! I once overheard someone at Hog Hill say that if you wanted to beat Paul then you need “someone with a dog halfway down the course, coz he’d stop, get off and make a fuss of it”

Paul was always the first to volunteer help out at races and soon became Michael’s “Number Two” when it came to setting up the timing equipment or sorting out problems and they quickly became firm friends. Paul even went with Michael when he bought his Caterham 7. We would joke about the car having a “Coupé Wing” as over time Paul had become Michael’s best customer and probably paid for a quarter of the car. In a loud comical whisper Michael would say “If it wasn’t for Paul it wouldn’t have an engine”  laughing out loud.
Paul would reply “I wouldn’t mind but I can’t even fit in the f**king thing!”

He was renowned for his massive skateboard collection, and had boards from 70s through to the present day, but it wasn’t just boards, if it had a skateboarding connection it was there; and if it had a story behind it even better. Through his love of collecting he became friends with many legends of the skate world and met many more at slalom races and at the La Costa Reunion in the States.  
He would often turn up at races and meet-ups with some “show ‘n’ tell”, normally his latest acquisitions to the ever growing collection.  
Along with myself and Adrian Wink, Paul and his impressive collection where filmed by Winstan Whitter for the London Calling collectors film, shown on the first video screen at the entrance to the exhibition. Paul was incredibly honoured to have been filmed by Winstan and be included as part of the London Calling event resulting in even more friendships. 

The service for Paul was held on 23rd October at Kemnal Park, London. It was standing room only at the crematorium, family, workmates, friends and skaters alike all gathered to say their goodbyes, testament to the high regard with which he was held. Among the large skater presence were ISSA President Jani Soderhall and the new World Masters Champion Michal Subrt. Michal had a banner made in Paul’s memory which he took to the Salem World Championships and got the racers taking part to sign it. Dill Hill also designed a special sticker and these were handed out by Michal, Dill and Darren.

We have lost a real diamond. Paul’s kindness, generosity, cheeky sense of humour and laid back relaxed demeanour will be greatly missed by us all. I will miss our phone calls and would often be called after he had seen something on e-bay “Are you going for it?” or “What do you reckon would be a good price for it” he would ask.

Thanks for all the laughs and good times over the years. Roll on in peace forever mate.

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The Crackling 2023 Results


  1. Louis Selby
  2. Sam Gordon
  3. Trevor Hickey
  4. Paul Coupe
  5. Paul Taylor Crush
  6. Dill Hill
  7. Darren Miles
  8. Alex Ireton
  9. Kim Jungreuthmeyer

Giant Slalom
(Raw times, cone penalties – 0.2 secs – in brackets)

  1. Louis Selby                           22.64 
  2. Sam Gordon                         23.99 
  3. Paul Coupe                           24.48 
  4. Dill Hill                                  24.92              (2)      
  5. Paul Taylor Crush               25.07              (2)
  6. Lance Martins                       25.42              (3)
  7. Trevor Hickey                       26.10              (1)      
  8.  Will Edgecombe                  26.18              (1)      
  9.  Darren Miles                        26.11              (2)      
  10.  Johnny B.                             26.79                         
  11.  Alex Ireton                           27.10              (1)
  12.  Mike Fish                             DQ     

Official Timekeeper: Rob Ashby

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Hogtoberfest 2022 – Results

Hybrid Slalom

  1. Louis Selby
  2. Mmedo Duffort
  3. Sam Gordon
  4. Paul Taylor Crush
  5. Paul Coupe
  6. Dill Hill
  7. Darren Miles
  8. Trevor Hickey

Giant Slalom

  1. Mmedo Duffort
  2. Louis Selby
  3. Sam Gordon
  4. Paul Coupe
  5. Paul Taylor-Crush
  6. Dill Hill
  7. Darren Miles
  8. Trevor Hickey
  9. Tom Derriman
  10. Samian Trollope
  11. Ryan Swanton
  12. Mike Fish
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World Skate Games, Argentina. October 2022

By Paul Price.

I was stoked to be able to represent Team GB in Argentina in October 2022 at the World Skate Games.

This was an excellent showcase for skateboard slalom racing before possible inclusion in the 2028 LA Olympics.

Prequalification was from the 2019 World Ranking, which allowed the top 20 to compete. Then three from each nation could also race.

I was at 11th so was offered the chance to race for team GB. 

In the US they held 3 major slalom events in 2022 and the top overall racer in each race got a place on the US team. I raced at all three US events.

I was also back in London for six weeks in the summer and was able to train at Hyde Park with the GB slalom crew.

In Argentina I raced in all four events, my best result was 10th in Tight slalom and an overall 11th place. Hopefully more British slalomers will compete for Team GB at the 2024 WSG in Italy.

Race report from my Facebook:

Day 1 of 4 slalom racing at the World Skate Games in Argentina 2022.

Racing at Villicum motorsport circuit in San Juan! They had super bikes here last week. 

In racing fractions of a second separate the winners and losers.

Our slalom skateboard equipment is set up like a Formula 1 race car. Suspension, board design, wheel size, bearings and wheel durometer are critical. My best-selling signature Pavel Roadster slalom skateboard design (made of composites and carbon fibre in Germany by Donald Cambell) was inspired by classic roadster sports cars. But the engine is not a polluting V8 or straight six running on dinosaur juice; it’s literally the athletes heart!  I used to race a 1970 Datsun 240z on race tracks in historic car racing. Now I race skateboards. 

This is the future of race track racing, electric motor sport and human powered skateboards.

Today was Hybrid Slalom, cones set staggered. Cone penalty is 0.1 seconds added for each cone hit. Two qualifying runs, one on each side with the two times combined for fairness. The top 8 times raced in the final heats. A variable head wind was a factor in racing times.

I raced top racer Junji Uno from Team Japan. Racers in positions 9-16 got another run and with focus my time improved 5 places to 11th place. 

In retrospect I should also have adjusted my trucks and increased wheelbase for more overall speed.

So stoked to finish 11th in Hybrid Slalom for Great Britain at the World Skate Games in Argentina!

Here are some clips:

Hybrid orange course;…/UgkxhUI-hCrPUFqrz-U9bVxi9w02_drdUitW

Hybrid white course;…/UgkxdOpA559wn5QnUw2nSoyS6qbhG4OJ2gZX

Slow motion Hybrid course;…/Ugkx-dfyMRJUzoMY1dJxZjWcJYltrVHNNkKv

Day 2 of 4 

Today was Tight slalom, 68 cones ranging from about 6 to 7 feet apart. Cone penalty is 0.1 seconds added for each cone hit. The top 8 times raced in the final heats.

Up against Jakob Jirman, the top Czech Republic racer who finished in 4th place today. His speed and power out of the start gate is amazing.

I didn’t hit a cone all day, in practice and racing. In retrospect I should have increased my wheelbase for more overall speed.

Stoked to finish 10th in Tight Slalom for Great Britain at the World Skate Games!

Here are some clips

Tight run 1…/UgkxHE4YucxUq9p447wnUyBM0JHUYsFiMLRO

Tight run 2…/UgkxM0AV6JL8cNpgphVa2Iio697trIXMMwZE

Slow motion tight…/Ugkx8mxhVBCDijfwFf-tkHCWKfyHl_K9G_ON

Day 3 of 4

Today’s racing was Special Slalom, with staggered cones ranging from about 6 to 7 feet apart. Cone penalty was 0.1 seconds added for each cone hit. The top 8 times raced in the final heats.

The previous days were sunny and hot at 37c. Overnight the temperatures dropped and a very strong wind hit the town. There was talk of cancelling the race and going to the spare day. Luckily the wind was a little less at the track and we got to race!

Up against the 25 year old Latvian Arturs Liskovs (LAT) racer. His reactions and determination out of the start gate was amazing.

In retrospect I should have increased my wheelbase for more overall speed and a faster start off the ramp would improve my qualifying times as the clock starts after the random 4th beep.

Stoked to finish 12th in Special Slalom for Great Britain at the World Skate Games!

Day 4 of 4

Today was Giant Slalom, 40kms out of town on a mountain road down from a dam. With high speeds, cross-winds and variable G-Forces it would be a real test after my knee surgery.

It was hot and a variable wind effected race times. At one point the wind blew tents into the race track while we were practicing.

I was happy with my runs, and improved my time by two seconds on my last run,  but in retrospect I should have tucked more for better aerodynamics and more overall speed.

After this last of four races I am stoked to have finished 11th overall for Great Britain at the World Skate Games!

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The Crackling 2022, Hog Hill – 14th – 15th May 2022

Race report by Rob Ashby

The Crackling saw the return of proper slalom race at Hog Hill since the pandemic. The ramps and timing gear were back! A big thanks to Gary Hillock for the transportation of said items. We had a few chilled meets at Hog Hill last year but without the “bells and whistles” so it was good to see everything set up once again. Michael would have been happy. It was good to welcome back old faces too. Paul bought along the old Octane stock boxes and once again business was brisk.

Richard Gowers, the Competition and Events Manager, from Skateboard GB was visiting the event to get an understanding of everything that goes down at a Hog Hill event. He has been to UK Vert Series and Street League competitions but not one of ours – until now.

In all there was a field of 16 riders assembled on the hill, perfect for bracketing into two groups of 8. Once the course had been tweaked and practice runs complete. I gave a customary quick welcome and rider briefing after which we began qualification to bracket the racers.

In the A Group the pairings were, Louis vs Lance Martins, Paul Coupe Vs Dill Hill, Sam G. vs Alex Ireton and Chris Charalambous vs Paul Taylor Crush.

We started racing the A Group but after only a couple of runs we experienced a timing issue whereby the clock wasn’t stopping on one lane. This inevitably delayed proceedings but more by luck than judgement, we managed to sort it long enough to get through the first runs in the round of 8. After further tinkering and replacing a tape strip we were ready to roll again. During the downtime the A Group had agreed to let the Bs race through to their conclusion opting to run the rest of the “A” heats and finals on Sunday.

The B Group the round of 8 saw Richard “Well Suspect” Searle take on Dobie Campbell. Our relative newcomer from the West Country Darren Miles, who had travelled up for our informal post-pandemic Hog Hill get-togethers but this was his first “bells and whistles” race, and he would be racing Polina Fokecheva, Dread City’s John Nicholas would face Mike Fish and Tiago Fanha (long time no see) would be up against Kim Jungreuthmeyer.

The first heat was incredibly close with both Rich and Dobie DQ’ing a run each, just the slightest of margins seeing Dobie advance to the next round. Elsewhere despite a heavy cone count in his first run Darren went through against Polina, John Nicholas breezed past Mike Fish who DQ’d both of his runs and Tiago emerged victorious against an on-form Kim.

In the round of 4 Dobie beat Darren by 1.08 over the two legs and Tiago consigned himself to the Consolation Round after DQ’ing his second run against John.

The first run of the final between Dobie and John was very close, going into the second run it was pretty much a case of one cone penalty separating the two. Unfortunately, Dobie pulled out of the course at the bottom and so it was John that took the gold medal position. In the Consolation Round both Darren and Tiago DQ’d their first runs leaving it all to do in the second. Tiago took out a large swathe of cones at the bottom of the course while Darren ran smooth and clean, earning himself a very well-deserved 3rd place podium in his first Hog Hill Race.

Sunday began under fairly heavy skies, the GS was set, tweaked a bit, tested, and tweaked a bit more before practice began.

We had almost got through the first timed runs when the rain set in. Riders sought shelter where they could but most squeezed in the back of Paul’s van. The rain stopped, the sun teased us but then the rain came back with a vengeance and that was that.

We could at least use the qualifying times to decide the A Group Hybrid results. However, because not everyone got a first run time on the GS before the heavens opened there was not a lot we could do – “rain stopped racing”.

The Usual BIG Thanks Dept:

Sam Gordon – for his top-notch work in front of and behind the scenes, sign up etc.

Gary Hillock – for transporting the ramps to and from their stable and taking the old Octane stock back after the race.

Louis and Paul for course setting, marking etc.

Paul (again) for letting us take shelter in his van

The Crackling 2022 Results

Hybrid Slalom

A Group (Qualifying times used due to rain)

  1. Louis Selby
  2. Sam Gordon
  3. Chris Charalambous
  4. Paul Coupe
  5. Dill Hill
  6. Paul Taylor Crush
  7. Alex Ireton
  8. Lance Martins

B Group

  1. John Nicholas
  2. Dobie Campbell
  3. Darren Miles
  4. Tiago Fanha
  5. Richard Searle
  6. Polina Fokecheva
  7. Kim Jungreuthmeyer
  8. Mike Fish

Giant Slalom (Rained off)

First Run Recorded Raw Times Only – No cone penalties (in brackets) added

  1. Louis Selby                           24.45
  2. Dill Hill                                   25.48 (1)
  3. Sam Gordon                         26.14 (1)
  4. Lance Martins                       26.68 (1)
  5. Paul Taylor Crush               26.73
  6. Alex Ireton                             27.07
  7. John Nicholas*                     27 89
  8. Darren Miles                         27.93
  9. Mike Fish                               28.07 (1)
  10. Paul Coupe                           DQ

*Practice Run Time

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World Skate Games, Argentina 2022

Some of you may already seen ISSA President Jani Söderhäll’s post regarding the World Skate Games in Argentina this year, for those that haven’t here it is:

“Hello everybody in the slalom skateboard community,

As we have already announced we are about to create a new international work group for slalom under World Skate (WSK). With slalom racing as one of the official disciplines of WSK, we’re now preparing for our participation at the World Skate Games (WSG) in Argentina 2022. WSG is a multi-sport, multi-discipline event organized by WSK every second year. At WSG 2022 there will be Vert, Downhill and Slalom for skateboarding, while Street and Park will have their own separate events. The dates for WSG 2022 are Oct 24 – Nov 13 and will be hosted by the cities of Buenos Aires and San Juan.

The qualification for these Skate Games is more formal than what we are used to in the slalom community.

And with a new year starting we want to present how it’s going to work. National associations being the base of World Skate are a natural part of the Qualification, so we have integrated possibilities for them to determine who should represent each country.

There will be two classes: Men and Women, and no age classes.

There will be three ways to qualify for these classes:

a) The top 20 racers (20 men, 20 women) from the current world ranking.

b) Each national association can select and register 3 men and 3 women, in addition to the top 20.

c) Persons in countries with no national association can also participate.

The pandemic situation in the world is still in play, so it’s important that you already start to plan for national qualifications to determine the top three men and women in your country. Here’s what is needed in terms of preparation:

– Contact your national association for skateboarding.

– Prepare them for what is coming and your national slalom scene.

– Discuss ideas with them about how to make the rider selections (three men and three women) to represent in the 2022 WSK Games

– Remember that the registration for the games are done through the national association.

– To be selected you will probably need to be a member of the national association, so check how membership works locally (in your club and whether it’s affiliated with your national skateboard federation).

For the top 20 on the world rankings, even though pre-qualified, they also need to register individually, to confirm their participation. The deadline has not yet been decided but we expect it to be two months prior to the WSG, so end of August or early September. For those of you who do not have any national association connected to World Skate contact ISSA and we’ll help you check what options are available and help you register.

Finally, to clarify the roles of the different organizations and joint efforts, here’s an overview:

WSK (World Skate)

Although initially created in roller skating in 1924, it is now the official international sport organization for roller-skating, skateboarding and even kick bikes. It was needed to get skateboarding into the Olympic family and be part of the Olympic games in Tokyo 2021. Since then it has been decided to keep skateboarding in the Olympic Games for both Paris 2024 and LA 2028. Although we’d love to see slalom racing to one day be part of the Olympic Games, the road is still long ahead.

WSG (World Skate Games)

World Skate Games is like an Olympic Games every second year for all sports and disciplines in WSK (World Skate). For 2022 skateboarding will have the Vert, Downhill and Slalom disciplines represented at the Games.

Street and Park skateboarding is not attending WSG. They are fully occupied with the Olympics and qualifiers for the Olympics.

ISSA (International Slalom Skateboard Association)

Has been the international skateboard slalom association for decades. It has held together the slalom skateboard scene with organizing the yearly slalom events and world rankings. With its forum, website and social media it has kept the slalom scene rolling over the years. We are now joining forces with WSK so that all ISSA activities can migrate over to become WSK activities.

WSK Slalom Skateboarding Work Group

A slalom work group comprised of 3 people from WSK and the 7 members of our current ISSA BOD. This is the group who will speak for international slalom skateboarding into the future. The formalities of this group are being finalized and will be officially announced soon by WSK and ISSA.

World Championships

In the years when WSG is held that event is considered the World Championships for all disciplines participating. The other years “in-between” we’ll hold separate Worlds for slalom racing, starting in 2023. They will eventually be sanctioned by World Skate but until those formalities are in place, we’ll sanction Worlds through the ISSA as we have done in the past.

Continental Championships

There are plans for continental championships organized through World Skate, but it’s unclear when and how they will be organized. The continents would be like for the Olympics: Americas (North and South America), Europe, Asia, Oceania and Africa. In the mean time we will have, as before, North American Championships, European Championships and then nationals in Japan, Australia and Brazil.”

Myself, Paul Price, Louis Selby and several others from the Downhill and Street Luge community had video call with members of Skateboard GB earlier this week and one of the topics covered was the WSG. A number of issues were raised including what funds may be available for skaters that wished to participate.

Richard Gowers from Skateboard GB said that there was a lot of uncertainty about the World Skate event and currently there was not much information on it. However a number of riders on the call said that they were keen to attend. Richard added that at present there was no selection process nor finances available from SBGB that he was aware of.
Paul Price reported that the Americans seem to be ahead of the game as they have already designated some of their races as WSG qualifiers.

As mentioned in Jani’s post above, the top 20 racers (20 men, 20 women) from the current world ranking are automatically qualified which means Paul Price is in already.

Hopefully I will have more news on this shortly once Skateboard GB get back to me. In the meantime The Crackling at Hog Hill next month may be used as a WSG qualifying race? This is still subject to confirmation from Skateboard GB. Richard and other members of Skateboard GB will be in attendance to meet with us over the weekend. We may need to run a couple of other races during the year as Hogtoberfest would be too late in the year to have as a qualifier? I ask that you please bear with us at this time as there is still quite a lot to sort out. Thank you.

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So That Was 2021, Bring on 2022

So 2021 wasn’t much better than the previous year, more Covid lockdowns, social distancing etc. Hopefully the worst is behind us now, although having said that more friends than ever have been posting photos of their positive Lateral Flow Tests on social media – it’s still out there!

It was good to get back to Hog Hill again. Instead of the usual race format we held informal “Chill on the Hill” sessions. Slalom wise the May “Hog Hill Pandemic Edition” was a very small affair but it was good to catch up with people in person after so long. There were no ramps or timing gear to worry about setting up and after an initial damp start we set a dual hybrid course to get the cobwebs dusted off which was needed by all. Gauntlets were thrown down and the courses were raced, nothing serious just good clean fun.

The Summer Swine Stomp in July saw a slightly larger gathering for the fun and games, it was a lovely warm sunny weekend too. Joining the slalom throng was Darren Miles who had made the schlep up from Devon to join in the shenanigans and see what Hog Hill was all about. Again it was a good laid back vibe and everyone seemed to enjoy being out and about again.

Sam and Darren enjoying the sunshine

It felt quite weird not having Michael around for these gatherings, he would have loved the banter, his humour and bad jokes were greatly missed by all. For Hogtoberfest Paul Coupe bought along a lot of the old Octane Sport stock that the UKSSA now has. We have decided to sell a lot of it off to raise funds to install a custom made bench at the top of the slalom hills in memory of our fallen brothers. That weekend we raised in excess of £700 which was a great start. There will be more bargains to be had at this year’s events.

Wheelie good bargains
Happiness on the Hill

For 2022 we have two dates booked, The Crackling will be held 14th/15th May and Hogtoberfest 15th/16th October. We are looking for volunteers to help with transportation of the ramps and timing gear from their stable in West Sussex (near Horsham) to Hog Hill for these events. If you can help please get in touch.

So dust of your slalom quiver and get ready for the races in 2022!

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Leon Clarke 1966 – 2021

It is with great sadness to the slalom world that we have lost Leon Clarke who has gone meet his cousin, Martin Sweeney, on the great 4ft slalom course in the sky. He was a true skater and competed at the highest levels in the world achieving much in the sport. He truly loved English slalom and entered all UK, European and World Championships. He was a great friend to all at South Bank and was always there to help when we were having bad times. He was also an inspiration for us all in the Dark Days of skateboarding and inspired Martin to get the world record, he even rode the same board.

He suffered a major illness which left him in Intensive Care for a very long time and it was a long road to recovery, of which he never fully achieved. He fought on with not a bitter word or complaint, in fact I think we were more worried than him. But when the UKSSA formed and arranged the first major series in the world at that time he was there with his old board and competed like the true Pro he was. He even achieved second place in the series which was very hard fought by the UK’s top slalomers, still on his old board.

He will be massively missed by his Southbank friends and the whole world of slalom. He was a great chef, loved Punk Rock and was a true friend to everyone he knew.

R.I.P. Leon

By Chris “Clingfilm” Linford

with thanks to ISSA/Monique Soderhall

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