European Slalom Skateboarding Championships Hog Hill, 2nd – 4th August 2013


Louis vs Janis – Photo by Franck Pannetier

 This was the first time that the European Slalom Championships had been held in the UK since Warrington in 1986. The 2013 Championships would also be the largest ever international slalom competition held in the UK with some 95 riders from 13 different countries, including USA and Russia, taking part over the three days. 

It doesn’t matter how many months of planning and preparation goes into an event of this size, the weather is the one thing you have absolutely no control over.  After a blistering hot day on Thursday setting up at the track, Friday morning couldn’t have started any worse. As well as our smiling faces, T-shirts and goody bags, our visiting skaters were greeted with a good old British torrential downpour which soon turned into a full blown thunder storm. With five classes to race in each of the three disciplines Tight, Hybrid and Giant Slalom, every hour lost to the rain was putting us further behind schedule.

Finally around midday the rain stopped and the sodden tarmac began to dry in the warm afternoon breeze. With just over half a day lost, the crew rapidly prepared the hill for the Pro Tight Slalom. The Pro’s would be running their own TS course on which, although not especially technical, many would find hard to dial-in on the buttery smooth, fast surface. Almost half of the field double DQ’d in the qualification rounds, leaving only twelve riders to battle it out in the eliminations. Despite this the quality of the racing was amazing and perfect for spectators.

A spectacular fall just over the finish line in an earlier run by Latvia’s Janis Kuzmins left him bloodied and bruised as he raced for the third place spot against Joe McLaren. The Final was fought out between Swedish father and son Mika and Viking Hadestrand, Viking taking the first European 2013 trophy when mistakes forced his usually cool father to double DQ.

With time fast running out we just had time to run the Women and Juniors Tight qualifying runs. In the Ladies, Germany’s Kathrin Sehl took a bad fall over the finish line, but like Janis, carried on regardless. After the two qualifying rounds Kathrin was in first place ahead of Lienite Skaraine of Latvia. In the Juniors, the top contenders were Petr Matous (CZE) and Zaccaria DiGiorgio from Italy. 

In an attempt to catch up with Friday’s schedule, Saturday began with the continuation of the Tight qualification for Ams and Masters. Sadly due to time constraints, these qualifying times would have to be used to determine the final positions for the Tight Slalom for all divisions other than the Pro’s.

The Hybrid Slalom followed on at lunchtime. Where the Pro’s ran their own course for the Tight, the Hybrid and Giant Slalom would be run using the same courses for all, so eliminating the need to re-set courses and making for easier event management. With the Hybrid course set, racing continued with the Pros doing their qualification runs first, followed by the other classes. Once qualifying results had been secured for all, the Pro finals could take centre stage.

As with the Tight, the racing was intense albeit with a lot less “cone-age”. The latter rounds featured some of the best racing ever seen in the UK for many a year. Each round was as gripping as the next, and there were some incredibly close finishes with just two or three hundredths of a second separating the riders.

Janis appeared to be looking to pick up the “best beef” award as he took yet another really bad fall, this time while practicing on the back hill. He ran headlong into an oncoming freerider at speed, coming down on his head hard; the impact cracking his helmet in the process. He made it back up to the top of the hill where he was checked out and advised to ‘sit down and take it easy’ for the rest of the day. By the time the Pro Hybrid qualifying began he was back up on his feet, new helmet on and ready to run. After qualifying fifth he went off to rest up some more. By the time the finals started, Janis showed real courage and determination and was clearly not going to let his hefty slams ruin his chances. He proceeded to take out both Mika and Viking in quick succession. The round of four against Viking was probably one of the closest races ever. In the first run Janis just edged it by 0.26 seconds. Amazingly in the second run both riders crossed the line together in 14.35″, a tied heat meaning that Janis would go through to the final given his first run advantage. In the Final he would face Joe McLaren, who had relegated Dominik Kowalski to the consolation round. Joe’s first round run time of 14.13″ to Dom’s 14.20″ was the fastest time set for the course with Dom’s running a close second. In the first run of the Final, Joe took victory by just 0.03.” In the second run, despite crossing the line first in 14.25,” his two cones to Janis’ one was enough to crown the battered Latvian as European Hybrid Champion.

Sunday morning saw the Hybrid slalom finals for the Am’s, Women and Juniors. Whilst these groups got underway, the Giant Slalom course could be re-set and marked. Unfortunately the course originally laid down by Louis, Michel and Jeroen on Thursday had clearly been skated by persons unknown. The GS hill was open for free skating on Saturday so that board setups could be adjusted for the change of speed. Unfortunately cones were discovered on the marks along the full length of the Giant Slalom course during Saturday’s Hybrid racing, so suggesting that someone had taken an unfair advantage. The reset lost us another hour or so of precious time.

Winners for the Hybrid racing were as follows: Am’s – Sebastian Vorhölter (GER), Women- Kathrin Sehl, the Juniors was won by Peter Matous. Due to the shortage of time the Masters voted to use their qualifying times to decide their final positions for their Hybrid results in order that the Giant Slalom could get underway. 

As per the race schedule, albeit it somewhat later than anticipated, the Giant Slalom got underway with the Pro’s racing first. It would be the best of three timed runs that would decide the winner. The riders were really pushing the limits of traction as they negotiated the fifty cone course. Joe McLaren’s first run time of 21.85″ (clean) set the standard and by the end of the Pro session nobody had managed to beat it, leaving Joe to add European GS Champion to his already impressive list of World titles. Dominik Kowalski, who is always a threat on any Giant course, took second with a time of 22.44″ and Vik Hadestrand was in third with 22.94″. Four riders notched up hat-trick victories in the GS in their respective classes: Henrik Wadsten took the Overall Masters title, Kathrin Sehl won the Women’s, Sebi Vorhölter the Amateur and a great performance from Petr Matous earned him the Junior Crown. 

After the main prize giving ceremony International Slalom Skateboarding Association President, Jani Söderhäll awarded a very well deserved ISSA Diploma to Martin Sweeney in recognition of setting the first ever 100 cone record back in 1991.


L-R-Joe McLaren-current World & European Champion and 100 cone-record holder, Martin-Sweeney-first ever record holder and Janis Kuzmins 2013 European Hybrid Slalom Champion and former 100 cone record holder. Photo by Rob Ashby

An event like this doesn’t just happen overnight and there are so many people to thank – so here it goes…
Firstly a special thanks goes to Ian Coles and his team at Hog Hill, Redbridge Cycling Centre for letting us host the event at their great facility and looking after us so well throughout the weekend.

Thanks to all of the racers for travelling to the event.
Big thank you’s to our Prime sponsors Octane Sport for the timing/race logistics and Pavel for the ramps and T-shirts and to all of our other sponsors, Lush, Cult, Landyachtz, Glastonbury Ales, Newton’s Shred, SK8Kings, Flavio and Concrete Surfer, Dangerous Decks, Seismic Skate, Concrete Wave, CCR, Keith and Thane, Long Live Southbank and all of our other supporters for all of the amazing schwag. Thanks to Team Cow for the poster production and Louis for his assistance with the graphics, course setting and all round help and Steve Pedersen for his graphics input. A big thanks you to all of the racers for travelling to the event.
Massive thanks go to Sam Gordon for all of his tremendous efforts and logistical support – and acting as driver of the “UKSSA Pimp Mobile” shuttle service – he really is the best of chaps. It goes without saying that Paul Keleher is a complete legend on the laptop without who we could not have done it, thank you, thank you! Thanks to Nigel Allgood for assisting with marshalling and timekeeping – especially on Sunday during the GS. Big, big thanks to my great mates Martin Sweeney, Jim “Nutsac” Parry Jones and Jim Slater for their invaluable assistance with race preparation, the cone marshalling and encouraging banter when the going got really tough. Mahoosive thanks also to Ed “The Voice” Brockman for everything, your contribution to the weekend was immense you always lend a touch of finesse to any race mate – “Clear the course!” A special big thanks to Jill Brockman for her supervision of the goody bag stuffers on Thursday. Joanna Dupont kindly helped out here! A really big thank you must go to Tim Peters/DAS Industries and Jorge Higgins for all of the help on sorting out the cone marshals, to the cone marshals themselves, you guys are the unsung heroes, you did an incredibly tough job in the baking sun, I hope between your shifts you managed to get some good riding time in?

I also want to thank all of the UKSSA and spBSA of their time, effort, help and support (in no particular order): Mmedo Duffort, Andy Turner, Mark and Harry Phelps, Paul Coupe, Tim Neal, Sam Slaven, Mick Reiss, Richard Searle, Gavin Palfrey, Ian Sutherland Cranfield, Dominic Barette, Dave Hillier, Luke Baxter, Tony Lord, Paul Taylor Crush, Andy Makeham, Patrick Dumont and Paul Price – attending this his 233rd slalom race, the most of any racer. At the time of going to press he’s notched up another two since!

You guys can be all be proud of what we achieved over that weekend, we saw some of the Worlds finest and fastest race battle it out at the Hog Hill Euro’s – The biggest ever international Slalom competition the UK has ever seen – and we had some good press on The Guardian website to boot.

Special mention must go to Patrick and Andy for their great photography – In fact you will probably be seeing some of their work staring back at you from the pages of Concrete Wave, Sidewalk and Thrill but to name a few

We had a few problems along the way but what race hasn’t? We all learned some valuable lessons for the future regarding race sizes at Major’s.

My personal highlights: 

Finally meeting Outlaw Eddy and Karl too – great hanging with you bro’s.

1.20am Karl arrives at the campsite and is welcomed by Eddy. Photo by Rob Ashby


 Chris Charalambous (who hadn’t even practiced cones this year!) come out all fired up and qualify 12th in the Pro tight rocking an old Comet with Lazer’s then set up his old Santa Cruz Dave Criddle to race in the Hybrid

 Dobie setting up another 30+ year old virgin Santa Cruz and blazing cones – you still got it Bro! It was also great to see Uncle Sid, Frank Wheeler and Phil Burgoyne in attendance on Saturday too. It’s been quite a year for reunions one way or another.

Dobie grippin’ it before rippin’ it! Photo by Rob Ashby


The Pro Tight Final’s – Proper Tight slalom again inEngland – there IS a place for a Pro Tight Courses at Major events as anyone who witnessed the finals will tell you.

 Pro Hybrid Finals again another fine demonstration of racing at its best. Janis coming back after his heavy slam, the tied heat in the round of 4 against Viking and then going on to beat Joe – Epic!

 Mmedo – I don’t think I have ever seen anyone more stoked than you at a slalom race, great performance too matey – and off to Antibes too, truly bitten by the international racing bug!

 Harry – Great all round performance at his first Major status race against some very stiff competition.

Harry – GS Photo by Andy Turner

 One for the statisticians among you – in just under two and a half days we had managed 742 timed runs of racing, if we include the practice runs this figure rises to 1,114!

Finally to anyone who came along to watch and support the event – I hope you enjoyed what you saw?



1          Joe McLaren

2          Janis Kuzmins

3          Viking Hadestrand

4          Dominik Kowalski

5          Mika Hadestrand

6          Christoph Baumann

7          Robert Thiele

8          Ferdinand Lindner

9          Michel Dupont

10        Petr Janousek

11        Oleg Glushko

12        Christopher Dupont

13        Paul Price

14        Josef Stefka

15        Gustavs Gailitis

16        Chris Schütz

17        Louis Selby

18        Chris Charalambous

19        Karl Floitgraf

20        Georguy Artemov

21        Pavel Holec


1          Kathrin Sehl

2          Lienite Skaraine

3          Natalya Dudina

4          Anna Gailite

5          Eliza Gailite

6          Erika Schoirfer

7          Tezzan Redman

8          Ella Roggero


1          Sebastian Vorholter

2          Edijs Jermacenko

3          Daniel Navarro Fernandez

4          Andrey Uzhegov

5          Bart Brunninkhuis

6          Marc Camelan

7          Pierre Hazera

8          Alfonso Pérez Villalpando

9          Harry Phelps

10        Mmedo Duffort

11        Nacho Munoz Cuellar

12        Jeroen Steggink

13        Borja Munoz Cuellar

14        Lorenzo Galimberti

15        Paul Taylor-Crush

16        Sam Slaven

17        Jaime Segura

18        Tim Neal

19        Juan Pedro Fullana

20        Alf Olsen

21        Andy Makeham

22        Gavin Palfrey

23        Markus Kaffke

24        Ian Sutherland-Cranfield

25        Paul Keleher

26        Abramo Ponzio

27        Nigel Allgood

28        Dominic Barette

29        Andy Turner


1          Henrik Wadsten

2          Emrik Larsson

3          Peter Klang

4          Fererico Malventi

5          Magnus Bobert

6          Jani Soderhall

7          Sam Gordon

8          Pelle Plast

9          Peter Pletanek

10        Peter Jachmann

11        Wolfgang Toth

12        Paul Coupe

13        Donald Campbell

14        Robert Gaisek

15        Kaj Gustavsson

16        Per Santesson

17        Richard Searle

18        Franco Di Giorgio

19        Martin Hoppe

20        Franck Pannetier

21        Eddie Martinez

22        Rob Ashby

23        Didier Lambert

24        Edwin Brockman

25        Partrick Dumont


1          Petr Matouš

2          Toms Dreiblats

3          Zaccaria Di Giorgio

4          Vincent Kitzhöefer

5          Melle Stork

6          Max Thiele

7          Vitek Hromadko

8          Matej Stefka

9          Alexei Söderhäll

10        Felix Thiele

11        Dimitri Söderhäll






This entry was posted in News. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.