Day 1 (Thursday)
The first day of the Ghetto Games trip was a blur of travelling, friends and being introduced to Hectors (lots of Hectors). We landed in at Riga at 6pm local time not sure what to expect or what the plan was when we arrived. We knew we needed to look for Toms and find the coach to Ventspils, we stepped outside and there was a big crew of rollerbladers and BMXers filling up the pavement… that was easy! The rest of the day consisted of drinking lots of beer and hectors on a bus full of sick dudes until we arrived at the Hotel in Ventspils around midnight. The drinking continued into the morning as people got acquainted with old and new faces.
Highlight of the day – Meeting Hector…
Day 2 (Friday)
Friday was hot, sunny and started off slow. I set my alarm for 9am so we had enough time to get to the park for warm ups at 11pm, except I forgot to change my phone to 2+ hours for Latvian time (school boy error!) After a 15 minute powerblade to the park we arrived at 12:30pm with plenty of time for a warm up session. The park was buzzin’ with locals and kids juiced to see some of the best international riders all here for the Ghetto Games.
The 1st day was for qualifications to the Finals on Saturday so the day started off with group heats where each rider gets 3 runs followed by a final trick. There was supposed to be a girls contest but a couple of riders had injuries so in the end there were only two of us, we just skated in heats with the guys which was fun! As much as I don’t enjoy the pressure at comps, It was good to take part and represent for the ladies because so many young girls come to Ghetto Games, you never know who you might inspire! A few memorable moments and tricks for me have to be Aaron Turner’s 900, a range of technical tricks from Richie Eisler (always a pleasure to watch), Tom Jowett’s huge 360’s and Warapoj and Joe Atkinson’s unique flow and creative use of the park.
After the qualifications we all dropped our skates off and hit the beach! The sand was smooth and cold in-between your toes which felt nice after skating all day. We stayed at the beach until sunset with beers which was amazing, not seen a sunset like that before. After we headed back to the Hotel and most of the riders went out to the Friday party which I heard was funny. I didn’t go because of the rough night I had on Thursday, wanted to be fresh for Saturday!
Day 3 (Saturday)
Staying in Friday night felt like a good ideas when I woke up early on Saturday morning ready for the busy day ahead, except when I looked out of the window we were in the middle of a bloody thunder storm.…mint. We spent most of Saturday in limbo as the rain came and went all day, we weren’t sure if there was going to be a final or not! After we arrived at the skate park we spent about 2 hours walking round in limbo as the rain came and went not sure if there was even going to be a final. Before long they announced the finals were pushed to Sunday because the park was too wet. A short while later Alex puts his skates on and starts cess sliding around the soaking wet concrete park, before long Aaron Turner, Anthony Pottier and more joined in to form a cess slide session on the grind box. The crowd started to swarm like flies as it was the first thing they’d seen happen at the park all day! Nils and Jojo decided to turn it into a little ‘cash for tricks’ session then more riders started to join in! It was good for the audience to see a different side of skating rather than the jump box and backflips they expect to see, Jojo did a great job commentating and educating the crowd about the technical aspects of tricks. We made the best out of the situation we had, everyone smashed it!
When we all arrived back at the hotel, we found out there was going to be no final due to bad weather conditions again. Such a shame as so much planning and effort went in from the GG staff and Nils Janson’s, unfortunately you just can’t control the weather! I bet that would have been one amazing final to watch too.
After party time!
Highlight of the day – Alex planting the cess slide seed.
Day 4 (Sunday)
Waking up around midday with no hangover felt nicely surprising! Expecting another window full of gloom, I looked out to a kind of sunny overcast day… DRY! The weatherman deceived us all again, so we went skating. It was good to skate the park with no crowds and fuss, just a fun little session with no pressure. At 5pm we headed down to the Adventure Park which is where the rest of the GG had vacated to for the last day of wake boarding and BMX dirt jumps, after was the closing ceremony. As we didn’t actually get a final, the judges had a tough decision of choosing the qualifying scores as final results.
1 Joe Atkinson
2 Worapok Bonnimm
3 Anthony Pottier
4 Scott Quinn
5 Aaron Turner
After a few bevvy’s we made our way down to the aqua park next to the beach for a private night time session exclusively for the Athletes. I genuinely felt like a child running round racing people down slides and losing all my senses in the black tunnel! The hot tub and sauna was a nice touch to the end of an exhausting weekend. Thank you Ghetto Games, you treated us well!
Highlight of the day – Private night time water park session for the athletes!
Thank you to all the Ghetto Games family, Nils Jansons, Toms, all the Blade family and anyone else I’ve missed! Had an amazing first time in Latvia, I will see you next year for sure!