Psyche. It’s not really a proper report on the event, just random ramblings and feelings.
Stone House Sesh II was a fingerboard event hosted by @Kelseyfingerboards in Alcester, West Midlands, United Kingdom on 21st July 2018.
The UK Scene
I’m just a casual, unsponsored fingerboarder and this was my 10th fingerboard event that I have been to. I was mostly based in England so out of the 10 events I’ve been to, this was my 9th one in England. Although I haven’t been too deeply into the fingerboarding scene in the past few years, I honestly don’t know what happened to the British scene. The first event I went to was in 2011 and immediately I saw the British scene was amazing - active and well populated. From 2012 to 2016, Kerry ran the Crossed Fingers events. I attended some of the earlier ones, but then I began working in another country so I did not attend the later ones. I’m not sure why Kerry has left the scene completely. Since then, I did not hear of any other UK fingerboard events, but I did not even see much general activity on the forums.
Perhaps I’m just a relic of an older generation who hasn’t adapted to the current generation being on Instagram. Thanks to @Kelseyfingerboards we had at least one event in UK. The UK scene was not completely dead after all. The first iteration of Stone House Sesh was held in 2017 in the same location in Alcester. I of course missed it as I didn’t see any mention of it on the forums, but it was advertised on IG.
This time around for Stone House Sesh II, I found out about it by accident while catching up with an old fingerboarding friend from England @ElliottBlock. I confirmed I had the time off from work, hauled my ass from Beijing to UK, and made sure I could attend an event for a hobby I have loved for so many years. I also made sure I would try to document it too, in the hopes that other fingerboarders in UK would see it and would like to continue to build up the scene here.
Personal Experiences leading up to the event
I was lucky to have met and made many friends from fingerboarding in UK over the years, and when I had heard of this event, I tried to get in contact with some of them to come along. Even though it may have been years since I had seen some of the guys in person, most of them still responded to me like true bros. Unfortunately, none of them could make it so I decided to make the trip myself.
I was based in North England, so the trip would have been a 3½ hour drive from my hometown, or 5½ hours on various public transport. Due to a date up north, I ended up being about a 4½ hours drive away. As people who know me might know, I have terrible luck with travel - and with closures on two sections of motorways and many other roadworks, I ended up being very late. Instead of arriving the night before, I ended up there on the day of the event and too late to check into my hotel I had booked. I tried my best to take a nap in the car and managed about 1 hour, had some breakfast and bathed myself in deodorant before heading to the event.
Alcester is a small market town with Roman origins, and the event itself was held in an old private house in the centre of the town. I believe Kelsey’s grandparents are from England and while she is over to visit them in England, she is able to host this event.
From the entrance, there was a living room with a desk set up by Kelsey’s family to manage some sales. Entry for fingerboarders was £5 and included a single raffle ticket. Additional raffle tickets were available for £1 each and there was also food/drink for another £5.
As you can see from the above photo, the main fingerboard area was well organised and equipped, with six fingerboarding tables/surfaces all with many top quality ramps and obstacles, enough for everyone to sesh. I have no idea of the actual turnout but I would estimate 20-30 fingerboarders attended, with many additional non-fingerboarders accompanying them.
I was initially reluctant to come for fear of no older fingerboarders coming, but I was ressasured by the event organiser replying to my email and also by watching a video of the last event. Myself and other older fingerboarders appeared to strategically introduce ourselves to each other as to not appear too creepy in a hobby event with many younger fingerboarders. Although I was previously a “Helper” at some of the Crossed Fingers events, I didn’t know anyone at this event at all. I didn’t speak to everyone for fear of it being awkward but was happy to speak to everyone who spoke to me. I even busted out my 50mm board and it worked pretty well to get attention and people to speak to me.
From the UK events I attended in 2011-2013, I made many friends and collected many signatures from fingerboarders on my Close Up Coffin Curb lid. I didn’t care if people were pro or not and I ended up filling the whole damn thing. I decided to try the same thing with another Close Up Coffin Curb lid for this event. I didn’t even get close to speaking to everyone but I did manage to get a lot of people to sign it, and for those I missed – I’m sorry I’m awkward. Just come say hi. I will try to come to future events! For those who did sign, thank you! I’m happy to have met you!
So there were raffles and fingerboarding competitions. There seemed to be many raffle prizes and I liked the fact that the raffles were split up for different rounds/batches of them throughout the whole day. I didn’t purchase any additional raffle tickets so I didn’t win anything but I have too much crap already so I honestly didn’t mind.
Although there were fingerboard competitions, the format was slightly weird. It was kind of a gauntlet of different kinds of competitions. Round one was a 1 minute best run on the Blackriver Big Mini. I think most people signed up for this, and the top 8 as judged by Kelsey and possibly another judge would advance to the next round.
Round two was a best trick competition on a prototype Blackriver Jay ramp – I would describe it as like an original BRR Box 5, but a 45 degree bank with coping instead of the lower ledge. One minute was given to call out and perform a trick on it, with the option to change the trick as long as the time wasn’t up. The top 4 from this round would advance to the next round.
The final round operated as a knockout tournament of flatground SKATE, with the final 4 randomly drawn into the semi-final matches, before the final two competed for first place. Congratulations to Anthony Burgess from USA who triumphed over Madeleine in the final.
So I think I’ve covered many of my personal thoughts already but I’ll sum it up here.
The event was well organised, equipped and fairly priced. I met loads of people and greatly enjoyed being able to meet others who share the same hobby.
I would consider improving:
• the heights on some low tables
• more tarps/shading for all the fingerboarding areas
• large fans for the fingerboarding areas (or just move the event to a cool indoor location)
• dividing the fingerboarding competition to multiple comps with different styles/disciplines/formats (Street/Miniramp/SKATE)
• increase number of places with prizing
• food/drink very overpriced
Overall, it was still a very good event and well ran by Kelsey and her family. Hopefully I’ll be able to make it to future events.
Note: I do have some video from the event but I’m lazy as hell so you probably won’t see it for a while.