Last week Dutch skate legend Sven Boekhorst released one of the most progressive and captivating pieces of rollerblading media in the past few years; Cityhopper Europe. Sven travelled to five european cities with a launchramp and a bungee rope for speed. He AO Fished a seven foot high, 40foot drop rail, had his ramp run-over by a TANK and crossed the busiest road in London in the MIDDLE of one of the most memorable lines of all time. Cityhopper released two online videos… one full 32 minute documentary (that’s the one to watch) and a highlights video for those of you in a rush. Sven exclusively gave LocoSkates an insight into the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of the London leg of his adventure by donating the following article / images. (excuse the grammar translations!)…
I started this trip by picking up the CH ramp, Remy, Axel and Dominic and started driving to France. From Calasi we took the ferry to Dover. For all of us it was the first time that we were going to take this ferry and drive with a Dutch car including trailer in the UK.
After a 3 hours drive and 1,5 hours boat trip everybody was a bit tired so the idea was to look for a spot to relax as soon as we were back on the road to London. Our 2 days London was about the begin.
Within 10 minutes we were driving past some amazing cliffs and soon we found out these were the Dover cliffs. So we were hoping to find a nice parking spot to enjoy the view and relax a bit. Axel and Remy straight away took there drones from the car and took some really nice shots high in the blue sky. As the Dover cliffs were looking really nice and even interesting to maybe find a Cityhopper spot I started to skate a bit around to see if I could find something. Pretty fast I found a fence with a bank going down.
Spot 1 – Dover Cliffs // 360 into the bank
So after Axel and Remy finished with the drone we started to move the ramp to the spot. It wasn’t really a hard trick but the run up was really weird and small. It was that small that 10 metres before launching i wasn’t able to skate to get speed. I needed enough speed to go over the fence but also not too much speed because than i would be landing too deep into the bank behind it.
After a few normal jumps i finally cleared it with a 360 abstract, nothing too crazy but we still had our whole Cityhopper London trip coming up. So we took the Cityhopper ramp back to the trailer and we continued our journey to Blake Bird’s house where we would stay for 3 days.
We finally arrived there around 22:00 o’clock, met Blake, his mom and Maggie (his dog), found a creative parking spot, took our bags and had a beer all together before going to bed.
The next day we woke up around 09.00 and after going to the supermarket with Dominic and breakfast we were on our way to the first spot. For all the other cities we visited we made a small guide book of what spots we wanted to visit but as London came up as a extra stop we didn’t do that much research. We started to drive randomly through the city, the only thing we knew was that we need at least one clip with Big Ben in it. So we decided to drive in that direction and during our drive we kept our eyes open for anything that would look like a spot.
While we were on our way we made a small stop to pick up Sam Crofts who would join us for the rest of our stay. So with a trailer and 6 guys in a van we continued our early morning drive and quickly found our first spot of the day.
Spot 2 – // makio up the rail to mute off
It was old ghetto estate which they had closed. After walking around a bit we finally found a wall with a rail on it that was gradually going up. The idea to grind up the rail. So we parked the van next to the spot so we did not have to carry all our stuff that far. Blake, Sam and me were putting the ramp at the right spot and Dominic, Axel and Remy were taking their right position to take photos and film the clip. Soon we found the right spots to put the bungee and after a couple of normal jumps i started to skate the rail first with soul and royale. Finally I ended up with makio mute off. It took me quiet a lot of tries but luckily [skilfully - JE] I didn’t miss my soul foot once. The wall under the rail didn’t look too good for my shin.
As we were looking for more skate spots for this Cityhopper edition I was quite happy with the trick even it wasn’t at a really familiar spot. As we were getting closer to the Big Ben more and more police were walking on the street so we knew that it was going to be difficult. We found a parking spot with the trailer really close to Big Ben where the tourist buses were parked as well. We stepped out of the car and wanted to unlock the trailer from the van to get things moving but straight away from the other side of the street a police man shouted: WHAT ARE YOU DOING? It was clear we didn’t have an answer to that question so we act like we were checking if the trailer was still attached to the car proper and left straight away.
I was a bit sad as we really needed this clips with the Big Ben for the whole concept but Blake started to explain that there was kinkrail on the otherside of the river that i might be able to grind up and you would have the Big Ben in the background. I tried to park the van with trailer as close as possible to the spot to have a look if it was worth to grab the Cityhopper ramp. It only took us a few seconds to make the call so we all jumped into the van and started to drive around and look for a parking spot which was always difficult as we need not only parking spot for my van but for my trailer aswell. But with a lot of creativity and running the risk of a ticket we most of the time managed to find something quite close to the spot. We parked somewehere behind a hotel and started to off-load the Cityhopper ramp, bungee cord, water and all the camera stuff. We tried to put as much stuff as possible in the Cityhopper ramp so we didn’t had to carry this around as the Cityhopper ramp was on a small red trolly.
When we got to the spot. Remy first got out his drone and started to fly over the thames and close to kink rail. Everybody was really excited to watch those clips.
Spot 3 // Royale up the rail
After we started to look again for a good spot for the bungee cord as i needed a lot of speed this time. Luckily the run up was not that bad. The first couple of tries went pretty well so we decided to upgrade things a bit. On the other side of the busy road there was the same kink rail going down again so the plan was to grind the rail up with royale, cross the busy road and grind the kink rail down with top soul. As I wanted this to be all in one line it took me a lot of energy but when I finally landed the whole line it was definiely worth it.
We quickly grabbed all our stuff together and walked to car. As it was a bit far Sam and Blake stayed at the Cityhopper ramp and the 4 Dutch guys walked with all the camera stuff to the van to pick up Blake, Sam and the Cityhopper ramp. After that we drove through to all the tourists places like Buckingham Palace, Picadilly Circus, London Eye and Trafalgar Square but we couldn’t find any good stuff we could do with the ramp. Atleast we made a nice time lapse while we were driving to all those places. Than we decided to go to a spot Blake already showed us in the morning but which was quite far from his house. But because we already visited most of our tourist spots we decided to drive all the way to South London (Kingston) and make this our final spot of the day.
Spot 4 // Monkey Plant 180
It was some kind of art monument with a lot of phone booths falling down like dominos. We started to look which trick was possible to do and we finally decided to try a monkie plant 180. A bit like we did in Cityhopper Holland only this was a bit higher, the gap to the phone booth was bigger, plus of course we were in London. The first try I was suprised about how much speed i needed to clear the whole gap so I didn’t make it but already the second I cleared over the phone booth except I wasn’t happy with the photo. So I did a couple of more tries and finally I had the right position to finish the long day. After Remy finished his last battery of his helicopter we started to look for a place to have dinner and some beers. Luckly this wasn’t too hard as we were in a good neighbourhood for this. We didn’t stay too long as we still had to drive 1,5 hour back to Blake his house. Which was for us pretty insane because if you drive in Holland 1,5 hour it can pretty much drive from south to north but than the whole country and not just one city. At Blake’s house we watch a bit of footage together with some more beers and slowly everybody started to go to bed.
The next we woke up a bit later because we already had 4 clips since we visit the UK and the forcast was rain. But when we woke up it wasn’t raining at all. So after everybody slowly woke up we started to speak of which spot we were going to.
Blake came up with the idea to look at the Bank (of England) area, he was pretty sure we could find something there. While driving in that direction again with the 6 of us we made small stops now and than to see if we found a spot but unfortunately, no spots.
At one spot we stopped for Remy who went to close the door of the van. As he closed it; within a second we found out that Axel his hand was closed as well in the door. The was pretty sick to see because the door was closed with Axel his hand in between. Luckily it wasn’t broken but at first we were afraid it was bad.
5. ‘Bank’ // Soul to polo tape to fakie
When we arrived at Bank we found out that they were working on the square infront the Bank of England and because of that a lot of roads were blocked. This turned out really good for us. We could park the car infront of the building and as it was Sunday so nobody was working. So it was to easy this time to get the ramp out of the trailer. After some walking around I first tried to jump a gap that was a bit too big so we cancelled the whole idea but we exactly came up with an even better idea. Grinding a higher ledge with soul and hitting the pole at the end to fakie. While we trying to hit the pole a school class showed up and started watching the session. When I got close to the landing but slammed a couple of times the kids that were watching even started to support me more to land the trick and finally at the end I managed to land the trick.
Right after Remy grabbed his drone and started to fly through the street which was a pretty crazy thing to watch as there was normally noway to do this because of cars or people walking but because the whole street was blocked we could do what ever we wanted.
My body was still a bit sore from the day before and from the session at Bank so we discussed a bit what our plan was for today. We heard Nick Lomax and some other bladers were on their way for a session at some rails so we decided to visit them and join the session and hang out. This wasn’t such a bad call as it started to rain 2 hours later. So we packed the Cityhopper ramp with plastic for the rain and started to drive to Blake’s house again. In the meantime Remy was sitting pretty drunk in the car because he had more than a couple of beers together with his brother who’s living in London.
At Blake’s house we chilled with Blake, his mom, Sam and the rest of the Cityhopper crew and again everybody was pretty tired so we didn’t go to any crazy parties plus we had to wake up around 04.00 in the morning to catch the ferry that will bring us back to France.
See the finished Cityhopper videos below: