Deep in the heart of Taunton lies a miniramp; one which can be found residing on the bucolic village-green of popular mythology, i.e. smeared with a thin veneer of dog eggs and peopled by hormonal teenagers furtively drinking smoking cigs and washing them down with white cider.
This is not the miniramp we were searching for, nor is it even what we came to the West Country to skate. On our way down to Boardmasters, where we will be hitting the Canna Ramp, we decided to kick things off with a session at Somerset’s brand new vert ramp. However, on arrival at the ramp, we realised that our crew-wide lack of cruiser wheels, (said crew being me, Rye Gray, Alex Hallford, Jake Collins and Jordan Thackeray) was going to be a solid hindrance to the session.
Calling Taunton ramp slippery is doing it a disservice; I’d put money on it being made from some kind of futuristic ice substitute developed in a lab for the figure skaters to use after the polar caps have melted.
The five of us have jumped in a van in order to hit as many spots as we could on the way to Boardmasters, where the Canna Ramp lies in wait for its yearly Cornish seeing to. Not wanting to pass up the opportunity for a road trip when we realised the event was approaching, we hit up a couple of the UK’s finest transition rippers to get involved. The resulting crew was hand-picked with an eye to the route (and spots) that we had in mind.
Rye Gray offered up his services as the designated trip dad, taking care of filming, editing, driving and general hype man duties. Newport resident and professional gut soldier Jake Collins, an all-terrain barbarian who can handle any spot put in his path, is a veteran of the road and an obvious choice for a mission of this kind. The inter-planetary musical/comedy duo of Alex Hallford and Jordan Thackeray would be taking care of both transition wizardry and the soundtrack to the van, courtesy of their guitar and banjo respectively. I jumped in as the chosen wordsmith and purveyor of early grabs, of which two tasks I’ll hopefully succeed in at least one of…
And that’s where we stood as of today; in the middle of a standard small town playing field, gazing at a testament to what happens when a council has no interest in vetting its contractors. A few experimental kickturns-turned-powerslides saw attention turn to the miniramp which sat behind the vert - similarly slick but less likely to cause genuine death than its scaled up counterpart. This meant that, rather than being a wasted detour, Ryan’s hard drive filled up at speed with clips of Alex, Jake and Jordan going full ‘Cheese and Crackers’.
Once you looked past the ridiculous surface and the layer of wax making it even more treacherous, the ramp actually had a pleasant, mellow transition and enough length to hold grinds and slides for extended periods; letting the session get going with plenty of slams but thankfully no session-enders to sabotage the trip from the get go.
Due to my penchant for breaking bones on the first day of skate trips however, I decided not to touch it but to carefully place my board between the canine droppings and start in on the rapidly warming beers, which had sat in the van since we left for the West Country.
“It can’t be a search if you know where you’re going", I hear you cry. In reply, I can only say; stick your semantics up your arse – The Search for the Canna Ramp had begun…
(text: Jono Coote)