Half-pipe snowboarding champion prepares to tackle the notorious Big Air Jump at Battersea Power Station Multiple award-winner Dom Harington will be flying the flag for British snowboarding again at this year’s Relentless Energy Drink Freeze Festival (28–29 October 2011), set once again amid the majestic urban landscape of London’s Battersea Power Station.
Relentless bods caught up with him a few weeks ago to see how he was feeling about the whole shebang, and to try and get a sense of what it’s like to stand at the top of the gargantuan 32-metre kicker – the Big Air Jump. The passion to prepare “I’m looking forward to it, as it’s such a cool thing to be able to ride that jump in those surroundings,” he positively beams when tracked down.
“My kicker skills aren’t really up to scratch, so there were a few tricks I wanted to get before Freeze. Mainly the backside double cork 10. “My plan was to go through all my backside spins up to 9s,”
“I started off with a straight air, followed by a 360, then on the 540 attempt I scuffed on the take-off and crashed into the knuckle! It feels like I’ve broken my foot, so I’ve been chilling down in the valley since then. I’ve been on the ibuprofen and ice packs non-stop so hoping to carry on the plan in a few days!” Thankfully his foot has healed up well since then, suggesting nothing more than a sprain – and he’s back on top form, ready for the big showdown.
Not for the faint-hearted “When you’re at the top of the drop-in, you’re obviously nervous.” Let’s face it – staring down at a 32-metre jump from a 17-metre drop in isn’t an option some of the more accomplished snowboarders would even contemplate, let alone willingly attempt. There’s an element of perverse curiosity for a spectator or budding snowboarder, whether it’s watching live at Battersea or on TV – but it’s a whole different kettle of fish when you’re actually up there, towering over the crowds and the river.
“When you’re at the top of the drop-in, you’re obviously nervous. Either because it’s windy and it’s blowing the scaffolding, or purely because you’re about to ride down the sketchy, steep slope into a trick you’re not too sure about!” Nerves of steel, focus and above all immense skill are needed to conquer such a feat. The need for speed One of the most quoted sayings in snowboarding is: “Speed is your friend”. Dom tells it as it is: “The speed is a big issue on the first day of riding on these jumps at Freeze, because it takes a day for the snow to get icy and fast. It’s a bit different doing tricks on this jump to doing them on the mountain; you need to have good control all the way down the run-in so you don’t lose the valuable speed you need.”
“It’s a bit different doing tricks on this jump to doing them on the mountain”
“I love being there at Freeze, it’s so sick, you can see the whole of the London skyline and I love looking down on the crowd. Plus all the TV cameras and stuff just makes me stoked to be snowboarding in that position.”