House Of Vans – Manchester
This past weekend, Vans, (in collaboration with Black Sheep Skate Store), brought a pop up House of Vans to Manchester. Doors opened on the Deansgate venue with a gig on Friday, with Saturday’s main event hosting a variety of obstacles including a mini ramp and small street area. Other attractions included a small exhibition on the history of the SK8-HI, fantastic coffee and food stalls, an embroidery workshop and, to the delight of many a cash strapped skateboarder; free waffles.
A skate school hosted by the Pumpcage crew started things off; with a mix of beginners and those taking their first pushes on that day. The session was packed with helmet-clad kids darting about and making their first attempts at the basics while parents inspected the other areas on offer.
Some insights into company were available thanks to the small SK8-HI area hosting Made In The USA variants of the shoe along with an art showcase. This hopefully elaborated on Vans’ wider creative reach and intrigued those parents who may have been concerned about what they were letting themselves in for by encouraging their kids to pick up a skateboard that day…
Having observed the street area for a few hours, more seasoned skateboarders were itching to give it a go and jam sessions took place once the skate school had wrapped up. Collisions were fairly minimal, despite the condensed nature, and barriers were pushed back for better run up to the block. This allowed Eddie Belvedere ample room to tackle it in his usual mach-ten manner, along with Alan Callaghan laying down a pristine frontside tailslide bigspin, amongst other bangers, to be met with roof shaking cheers of ‘NOTORIOUS!’
The best obstacle had to be the upward pad with a ledge on top, which got thoroughly rinsed throughout the day. Nev got straight in launching a wallie out the side with
Britney Rooney also jamming four wheels up and over the top. Notorious Al laid down a nose-stall switch flip out and Harry Lintell followed by stomping a nosestall backside nollie heelflip shortly afterwards, (as you do – if you’re Harry).
Eddie Belvedere locked eyes on a hap hazard gap, kicking off a session which saw people narrowly throwing themselves off the mini and into the street area. Half opted to go Eddie’s route – into a small bank at the base of a wall – with others going over the barrier to the flat. Rooney took flight, 180ing over into the small bank, while fellow golden haired terror Jordan Sharkey clung to a (hands down, but still first go) tre flip to flat. Jiri Bulin stomped a bolts kickflip with Jake Potts riding away from an impossible not long after. As Stu’s calls for last attempts came, fittingly ending it as he’d sparked off this chaos, Eddie leapt from the mini ramp deck into tail bash on the bank to wall.
After one final jam on the mini to round the day off, prize winners were announced with Harry Lintell taking 3rd, Rooney and Eddie in joint 2nd and Jiri Bulin in the top spot. All of these guys earned themselves some well deserved cash and whether skating or spectating, those in attendance had a great time. However, the real highlight has to be the skate school at the beginning as judging from how many showed up to it; we wouldn’t be surprised if Manchester’s already amazing scene just gained a few more members. Bigs ups to Vans and Black Sheep for putting on a great day, Dan Cintra (Hotwire) delivering a dope soundtrack to the day’s events from behind the DJ decks and Stu Reynolds and Rob Smith for nonstop comedy commentary.