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Art Direction / Editor in chief Sunnie Newby
Cover photo: london Southbank sunnie newby
F R E E FA L L
The Freefall Ideology
Evel Knievel: The King of Daredevils
Free Fall in the Alps: Another Kind of Therapy
Felix Baumgartner: The Freefall to Eclipse Them All
Gravity: Falling in Love With Falling
Long Live Southbank
Lifeâ€™s a Garden
th e Fr e efall I deology Without overcoming fear, nothing can be discovered. We cannot push the limits of our own abilities without understanding the obstacles present in the rest of the world, and facing them head on. Fear can only be overcome if it is accepted, and just as those athletes involved in extreme sports have to face their fears, society has a fear of these sports that must be vanquished. It is largely through misunderstanding that the lifestyles of so many athletes are met with disapproval, and if they can only be seen for the creative, inspirational, powerful expressions of freedom that they really are, they could bring value to many more than just those directly involved.
BONES HEAL PAIN IS
SCARS EVEL KNIEVEL
Last of the Gladiators Godfather of Extreme Sport King of Daredevils
Evel Knievel captured the attention of audiences around the the impression of a Hells Angel-style thug, working hard to be world and used his storytelling powers and enigmatic, insatiable the right kind of role model to his millions of young fans. While personality to bring the ‘daredevil’ sport he loved into the public their parents saw only danger and apparent stupidity, Evel’s fans eye. As one of the first to even attempt so many dangerous saw ambition, determination and true inspiration. stunts alone, Evel had a constant pressure and added fear of
Though there are still fairground sideshow-style performances
failure before every performance, but he was fuelled by the happening all over the world, like the Wall of Death in India and audiences’ expectations. Always a man of his word he never left the Vegas-style stunt shows, never has one man’s show held such a stunt unfinished, often returning months after a crash, fully attention from a world audience. In today’s world, an extreme recovered, to finish the performance.
sportsman can be revered within their own community but is
Famous in a time when extreme sports were merely seen as a rarely seen in mainstream circles. There are of course the Tony Vegas-style side attraction, Evel had to work hard to develop Hawks and the Danny Ways who can’t help but capture our the heroic and legendary reputation he has today. Staging almost attention as they push the boundaries of their sport, and jump every event himself, from publicity to ticket selling, faking the Great Wall of China on a skateboard. calls as lawyers and journalists to build enough hype to gain an
However, today’s only equivalent to Evel, in fame and notoriety,
audience with Caesars Palace CEO Jay Sarno for the infamous is Felix Baumgartner, and his image and public persona differs fountain jump, his ambition knew no end. He was determined to vastly to Evel’s. make his dangerous ‘pastime’ a career sport, in a culture where
Felix Baumgartner was well known and admired by those in
the extreme sides of life were left to the outsiders.
the extreme sports world. And a few times his record-breaking
But The Guiness World Record holder for most broken bones, achievements would cross over into the mainstream, but were was not just a daredevil thrill seeker. He was a hard working quickly overshadowed by the lack of understanding and respect family man, adamant his name was never to be misspelled to give for a sport like BASE jumping. And Baumgartner didn’t need freefall 11
the fame. Accepted enough in his own circles, he had the freedom to do exactly what he wanted, personal achievement was what drove him. There was no opportunity for Evel to support himself and his family through stunting alone, so he needed to make it something more, something people couldn’t ignore. Evel took on all of the risk, all of the pressure because it was the only way to be noticed. Many of his fans saw him as the true athlete he was, but many in the audience were there for
“When you do what I do for a living you have to have a positive mental attitude; when that positive mental attitude isn't enough, you have to be man enough to deal with the circumstances. In my case, I'm man enough.”
the thrill of the extreme. The excitement in the build-up, the tension of the stunt, the celebration of success, or the morbid fascination of failure. Evel played this to his advantage; while his skill was his path to success, the added danger and thrills of his extreme stunts brought him true fame. As extreme sports have become more and more accepted, the sportsmen involved are rewarded for their skill. While the excitement of the danger is still there for audiences, especially as the internet allows access to countless sporting failures, within the sporting community and its wider audiences these sports are becoming respected and judged for skill alone. Felix Baumgartner’s free fall from space was the most extreme
step ever to be taken in his sport. But it was done with respect for what it really is, a freedom of spirit and their path to personal for his skill, it didn’t need to be one man’s outlandish promise of
achievement. Slowly the power these sports can have on an
a never-before-seen death-defying act, and as millions watched audience is coming to light. Red Bull spoke of Baumgartner’s Felix’s free fall, the world was watching the advancement of
free fall as an opportunity to ‘fascinate and inspire’ the world.
man’s abilities, through the skill of an athlete like Baumgartner. The Mission to the Edge of Space was shown to the world in a The excitement came from the achievement, and the free fall way reminiscent of the moon landing, as a unifying achievement itself and not from the build-up and potential failure. Evel of man. Inspiring audiences young and old to push boundaries Knievel tried hard to get his Caesar’s Palace Fountain Jump to be in their own lives and see the potential for achievement and aired on ABC’s Wide World of Sports, but it was seen as merely success in a lifestyle that can seem unreachable to so many. a daredevil stunt, not needed to cater to any audience. It was TV networks saw Evel Knievel’s jumps only as an opportunity to only after his near fatal crash that they agreed to air the footage. thrill and satisfy an audience’s appetite for danger. He was shown The networks knew there would be more interest in a failing to be the only man to attempt to fight Man’s limitations, and this stunt than a successful one, because no one knew yet how to fantasy ambition was his alone. appreciate the athleticism of someone like Evel. His world was As what was once feared is becoming more understood, the one of fantasy that no audience could fully relate to. With little creativity behind extreme sports is being shown as inspirational, discussion about extreme sports the only comprehension society rather than negative and harmful, and a different lifestyle is had of it was its failures — it was mere luck and foolhardiness becoming accepted. If this lifestyle is more accepted then more that would see someone jump 20 cars on a motorbike, not may find an opportunity for creativity and freedom of spirit that athletic skill. Now sportsmen are better able to show their sport they previously have been denied. freefall 12
Freefall in the alpes
ANOTHER KIND OF THERAPY Yann Coatsaliou, of French video and photographic company
in dangerous terrains. It looks like a normal backpack but when
360 Médias, is a professional-level off-piste skier and has
you pull a lever, airbags engage and essentially they keep the
found a way to carry his passion into his business life — by
skier above the avalanche.
photographing the extreme acts of others. To get the shots
So it is not out of daredevil dreams that Coatsaliou pushes to
of these sportspeople, he of course has to be as good as
the extreme, as the dangers are clearly well known to him. It is
them — or better, in order to stay with them while filming
out of desire for a freedom found nowhere else that he pushes
their extraordinary activities on the snow-covered mountains
himself, and while he is doing this he tries to photograph the
of the French Alps where he does most of his work. In this
beauty in the lifestyle he follows — finding the fulfillment that
photograph we see the Alpes Maritimes Mountain Rescue Team
comes from facing up to mother nature’s power, in order to
in practice. Where — and how — was Coatsaliou standing when
understand your own potential.
he took this photograph?
Freefall asked Yann Coatsaliou why the people he photographs
Coatsaliou was recently caught in an avalanche, and survived
take the kinds of risks that they take. “Well, if they didn’t, they’d
thanks to specialist equipment that he always wears when skiing
be in another kind of therapy,” he said.
Freefall in the alpes
Mission to the edge of space
With 37 million Facebook fans and 1.7 million subscribers on YouTube, Red Bull’s catalogue of feature films, sports series and TV documentaries — including Red Bull Stratos which focuses on Bamgartner’s jump — are clearly striking a chord with audiences around the world. In its search for engaging content, RBMH focuses on our fascination with heroes by putting the spotlight on those otherwise ‘ordinary’ people who are driven to push physical boundaries and perform extraordinary, often dangerous, always inspirational feats. Felix Baumgartner was one of the first Red Bull athletes. Taking
you can’t keep me out of the air
to the stage in Cannes, Baumgartner explained how Red Bull was looking for skydivers to work with, and it was pure luck that led them to his club first. Felix began performing skydiving exhibitions for Red Bull in 1988 and has worked with them ever since. As soon as he turned 16, Felix Baumgartner joined a skydiving club in Austria, having spent much of his childhood climbing
On October 14 2012 more than eight million people watched
trees “to see the earth from a bird’s perspective”. He then
live on YouTube as Felix Baumgartner skydived from a 24-mile-
joined the Austrian army as a military skydiver to sharpen
high platform, becoming the first person to break the sound
his parachuting skills. By the 1990s Baumgartner felt he had
barrier on his descent. His record-breaking feat made headlines
achieved all he could in traditional skydiving and was soon
around the world, and brought plenty of publicity for sponsors
drawn to BASE jumping. Although he has previously expressed
Red Bull and the world of extreme sports.
his dislike of being described as a daredevil or adrenaline junkie, Felix freely admitted in Cannes not only that most of his BASE
Baumgartner appeared at MIPTV — the international TV trade
jumps were illegal, but that the illegality added to the appeal.
show and conference held in Cannes, France — in April 2013
“You have to think about faking permits and licence numbers
alongside Alexander Koppel, CCO of Red Bull Media House
and so on, it’s more fun,” he said.
(RBMH), to talk about the Stratos project in the context of the television industry. Koppel began the session by outlining the
“adventure has no price tag”
RBMH approach to the business of entertainment. “Our goal is still the same as it was for anybody in the media industry: it is
The Red Bull Stratos jump took five years of intense preparation,
to win the true and full attention of the audience,” he said. “But much of which was concerned, of course, with safety. how can you reach the audience? You can buy attention from
Baumgartner stressed that safety was at the forefront of
advertising, of course you can hope to get attention through PR. everyone’s mind during the project — “I promised my mum I You can even risk annoying people if you’re selling too hard. would come home!” — although both he and Koppel declined What we at the Red Bull Media House do is try to fascinate to elaborate on the total cost of the project, saying only that and inspire the audience by creating valuable and emotionally “adventure has no price tag”. engaging content.”
When asked about the toughest times in the project,
To fulfil this ambition, Red Bull works with more than 600 Baumgartner said the problem wasn’t the jump itself, but rather athletes, musicians and artists around the world with the aim of
the suit he had to train himself to wear for it.
telling stories “based on the dreams and visions of these world-
“I had a really tough moment where I really thought I’d lost
class athletes, musicians and groundbreaking artists… The Red the project,” he said. “It’s really difficult inside the pressure Bull Media House builds the bridges between their lives and the suit… The primary goal was to spend five hours inside that audience.” Red Bull produces more than 1,000 events a year, suit… every time, 50, 60 minutes after going into the suit I was which Koppel says are “designed with great footage” in mind. getting anxious.” The difficulty was that in the real event, there freefall 20
Mission to the edge of space
was absolutely no chance that Baumgartner could even open the Just because it worked once doesn’t mean it will work again,” he suit’s visor to relieve the inevitable claustrophobia. Felix had to said. “Breaking the speed of sound as the first human? Nobody return to Austria and work with a psychiatrist to get over his can take that record away. The next record would be flying at fear of the suit. “Everybody was thinking about the skydive… twice the speed of sound. I’m going to leave that for the next nobody thought about the suit itself creating the problems. The generation!” He even ruled out further BASE jumps: “I always suit should be my friend, but in those first few years, it was my said if Stratos works I definitely don’t want to go back to BASE enemy… It never became my friend.”
jumping because that’s where I came from, it doesn’t make sense anymore.” What’s next for Felix Baumgartner? He has already been flying
“The next record would be flying at twice the speed of sound. I’m going to leave that for the next generation!”
as a commercial helicopter pilot in Europe and feels that is where his future lies, as a helicopter firefighter and mountain rescue pilot. Although in the future he will be staying much closer to earth, Felix is adamant “you can’t keep me out of the air”. In
The obvious question everyone asks: is he tempted to repeat achieving such an extreme goal with the success of the Stratos the Stratos jump, or even try to break his own record? “Hell jump, perhaps Felix Baumgartner has actually attained what all no! I’m the first human person breaking the speed of sound. extreme athletes strive for with every stunt. freefall 21
Playgrounds The power and sublimity of nature and our surroundings can inspire real creativity, as we seek a spark of that same power within ourselves. Whether in competing with a cityscape or moving with nature's grace, the promise of freedom can be found in the playgrounds of the world
FALLING in Love with
The love of falling
“WE want to show the sublime beauty grace and poetry of human foot launched flight"”" uncle Mike Allen, a respected member of the BASE jumping community. Watching video tapes and films left behind by her uncle inspired her to learn about the sport. “It struck me as an expression of freedom and a celebration of life. I was astonished Most of us are familiar with the idea of skydiving for pleasure, and brought to tears by the beauty of the footage.” and some of us may have tried it. But flying through the air from a
The acronym BASE stands for four categories of fixed objects
building, mountain or bridge, leaving the opening of a parachute from which one can jump — buildings, antennae, spans (bridges) to the last safe moment, is only for the brave few. Welcome to and earth (cliffs) — and was coined by filmmaker and electrical the world of BASE jumping, a sport that has developed from engineer Carl Boenish, who chronicled the early days of BASE free-falling with a parachute in difficult environments or built- in beautiful 16mm film, often with cameras mounted on the up areas, to using high-tech flying suits that allow jumpers to jumpers’ heads. direct their flight with precision along a cliff edge or through
The Boenish Estate granted the filmmakers exclusive rights
a waterfall. Gravity is a documentary feature in production to his extensive archive of BASE jumping and skydiving film capturing the spirit of this sport, exploring what it feels like to which is used in Gravity, and in the five-year process thousands jump off a building, cliff or bridge and walk away alive — very of feet of his original films and other historical material have alive.
been archived and saved. The pioneering work of Boenish and
The film brings together an experienced team from the US and his wife Jean provides the starting point for Gravity, a thoughtful Norway, uniquely qualified for the task. Executive producer is and lyrical film about a sport that is too often thought of as a Alex Gibney, best known as director of documentary features mere stunt. ”We want to show the sublime beauty, grace and Taxi To The Dark Side; Gonzo: The Life And Work Of Dr. poetry of human foot-launched flight. Gravity is a love story Hunter S. Thompson; and Enron: The Smartest Guys In The about what it feels like to fall, at first uncontrollably, then Room. The other executive producers are Josh Braun and Dan willingly, and finally ecstatically,” Strauch says. Braun of Submarine Entertainment (Kill Your Idols, A History
The film also documents how the sport has evolved using
Of Violence). Directing is New York-based Scissor Kick Films’ head-mounted high-definition cameras, wing suits (think flying Marah Strauch, who also takes a producer role along with squirrel with extreme-sport chic) and helicopters, to provide the Eric Bruggemann. On the Norwegian side Western Norway visceral, first-hand experience that replicates the jumper’s point Film Commissioner Sigmund Elias Holm introduced the US of view. Sweden’s Blue Sky, known for its aerial work on IMAX producers to Lars Løge from Flimmer Films of Bergen.
productions, is handling the aerial cinematography.
Filmmaker Strauch was introduced to the sport by her late
“Our main characters Carl Boenish, and his wife Jean Boenish,
The love of falling
broke the world record for BASE jumping at Trollveggen in lecture to the audience at the Summit, held in Molde, in an Norway in 1984. Carl attempted another jump the next day and innovative example of cultural exchange. “People really enjoyed died in this attempt. Jean jumped three days later from the same hearing about how he approaches making a documentary film. Norwegian cliff without injury, to show the world that BASE It was great to hear the Norwegian’s questions,” Strauch says, jumping was a good activity to continue. This chain of events adding: “It was very exciting to finally get to see Norway and really is the core of our film, so we had no doubt in our mind to begin planning our shoot with the help of our co-producers that this needed to take place in Norway,” says Strauch.
and Sigmund Holm, who has really has been a godsend in this
The Western Norway Film Commission became involved in process.” Smaller productions could be deterred from filming the film early on. “The project was very interesting to us, as in Norway, by the Dollar to Kroner exchange rate. However Western Norway features some of the most spectacular BASE there are regional incentives available. “Since we are doing a sites on the planet, including the Troll Wall, and some of the co-production with a local company we were able to apply for world’s most talented wing-suit flyers,” says Western Norway regional financing as well as money from the Norwegian Film film commissioner, Sigmund Elias Holm.
Institute (NFI). We also are now, in-part, financed by the film
Strauch and Holm met at the AFM in 2010 when Strauch fund Fuzz. Fuzz operates with both public funds and private attended with the aim of pitching the project to potential co- investors. We met Lars Marøy of Fuzz for the first time when producers, sales agents, financiers and production companies. we went to Molde for the summit.” Taking advantage of these “You are continuously told that you cannot make money making incentives obviously requires compliance with some stipulations, documentary films. Not only is this not true, but I think it is including using Norwegian crew. “Our cinematographer in important for documentary makers to challenge this notion. I Norway must be Norwegian, we are using a Norwegian composer like the idea of understanding the business side of filmmaking. and many other roles are being filled by Norwegians. We have It is a great opportunity to experience deal making outside of the needed to have a lot of trust in our Norwegian co-producers as festival environment,” she says.
they are really making it all happen in Norway.”
Knowing that the production needed to shoot in Norway in
Working across cultures can sometimes be a challenge, but not
order to follow the story, Strauch sought out Holm. “I felt like one that Strauch sees in a negative way: “In overcoming these he might have some tips about crew or fixers or other physical challenges we have learned more about Norwegian culture. aspects of production. At the time we were also seeking financing I have seen the stipulations as actually quite beneficial in that and production partners. To be honest I had no idea what a huge we really met a new group of Norwegian friends and talented effect on our film this meeting would have.”
collaborators. There is a lot of talent in Norway. I would do it
In discussions Holm suggested that Gravity could become a co- again in a heartbeat.” production within Norwegian input. “It was a perfect storm. We
And what of the impact on the area where filming took place,
were very open to using Norwegian crew and involving the local in Andalsnes, near the Troll Wall? Strauch loved the commitment filmmaking community,” Strauch says. Out of an “excellent” and curiosity of the local people to the film, what could have list of potential partners, communication began with Flimmer been a challenge became a benefit for the production. Films from Bergen. Producer Lars Løge became a big part of
“We never fully understood the impact of the jumps that were
the project from then on. Meetings took place via Skype, during done in the area in the 1980s and the lore of Carl and Jean Boenish which location, budget and working methods were all discussed. until we arrived there,” Strauch says. “We brought Jean Boenish “Western Norway Film Commission invited the team to Andalsnes for the first time since Carl died in 1984. She was to a five-day trip to Norway to meet with co-producers, treated like a celebrity, everyone seemed to know someone who Norwegian film funds and to scout the potential locations. had met her during their visit. Every person seemed to have a The scouting trip coincided with the Western Norway Film connection to the story. This was surprising to us, yet it was also Summit 2011, an annual gathering of our film industry where helpful as everyone had snapshots or articles stuffed away in we present upcoming projects planning to shoot in our region,” their closet that they were suddenly bringing out to show us.” Holm says.
The production team began test shooting on location in the
The film’s executive producer Alex Gibney gave a Skype summer of 2011 with plans to return in the summer of 2012 freefall 35
to shoot the bulk of the footage — with the help of helicopters and many young jumpers. The film will also include historical re-enactments. It is important to Strauch and her team to create a fully immersive cinematic experience, bringing the audience to the very edge, and then beyond. “Most of the BASE jumpers in my film would not consider themselves filmmakers, but they indeed are; often keeping documentation of their parachuting activities. A central premise of my film is that the BASE jumpers are photographing the film itself. Because of this, the viewer gets the feeling of being physically involved in every scene and every jump, watching the action unfold and creating a very direct emotional response. I love that cameras can be mounted onto jumpers’ bodies and I intend to make use of the creative angles this can produce. The jumper is falling next to a solid object; the visual language of acceleration is unforgettable. The sound of the human body falling though the air and gaining speed is unlike anything else,” Strauch says. That sound is somewhere between a small rocket and the taut sails of a racing yacht. She adds: “We are lucky to be working with some of the best young Norwegian BASE jumpers, namely Jokke Sommer and his amazing crew.” Alex Gibney reinforces the powerful nature of the footage now being amassed and is confident that the film is “going to be extraordinary”. He adds: “Their footage is breathtaking and the story is a riveting account of a magnificent obsession: falling in love with the love of falling.” The backing and experience of Gibney lends support to the whole documentary project. “I am excited and humbled to have Alex Gibney as my executive producer and mentor. I feel incredibly fortunate to have surrounded myself with such an experienced and talented team. We’re looking forward to bringing this story to the screen,” Strauch says. She also emphasises the importance of the relationship that has been carefully nurtured between Scissorkick Films, The Western Norway Film Commission and Flimmer Films, and the positive effect it has had on the atmosphere of the whole project. “Lars Løge of Flimmer Films and my American team Eric Bruggemann and Vasco Nunes had the opportunity to travel together to the location and do invaluable location scouting. We had a great time and I believe this allowed us to really gel as team. I can’t stress how important this was for us. We really began to establish how we would work together in the coming months.” The Gravity project has proved itself to be a successful collaboration: historical sports archives spawning a desire to communicate the elegance of BASE jumping to an audience beyond extreme sports enthusiasts. With wing suit filming scheduled for this year, wrapping up the filming, the team are hoping to release the film for the 2014 festival season.
LONG LIVE SOUTH BANK
SAVING SOUTHBANK The Southbank Undercroft has been a dead architectural the community came together to demonstrate exactly why space for over 40 years, and since then has been re- the Undercroft should stay as it is. A weekend of skating and appropriated by the skateboarding community as a hub for BMX-ing that drove even bigger crowds than usual to the amateurs and professionals to freely practice their art. As the area, where passers-by were encouraged by the regulars to Southbank has developed into the heart of London’s modern watch and even join in with the fun — indeed the Undercroft art and street festival scene, the skate park has resisted has always welcomed skaters of all levels and ages, which is a development and become an attraction to both locals and big part of its charm. While skating communities have often tourists in its own right. Renowned among skaters the world been misunderstood and misrepresented, the atmosphere of over as the place to skate in London, the Undercroft is an the park has always been one of inclusion, epitomising the important landmark that ought to be irreplaceable.
spirit of sportsmanship and inspirational nature of skating,
But this year the Southbank Centre announced its plans to BMX-ing and other extreme sports. The Undercroft skate sell off the “unoccupied” space of the Undercroft to finance park is a unique product of its location and it is a mistake to its three-year renovation. This announcement has caused think it can simply be moved on without losing its identity. outrage and confusion within more than just the skating An accidental landmark, it is no less important to London community. And on the May Bank Holiday weekend, rather than Buckingham Palace or London Eye. than the traditional, even tiresome, placard-waving protest WORDS & photo by sunnie newby Additional comments from southbankundercroft.com
Arriving at Southbank on the Saturday of May Bank Holiday, the volunteers rounding-up petition signatures from the growing felt much like any other day in London. A slow-moving crowd crowd. “Just because we’re seen as a bunch of unimportant of families, couples and tourists young and old, browsing teens, does not make this a fair deal.” through second-hand books, staring across the river to the
And the weekend showed just how wrong that perception
north bank as they enjoyed their choice of Mexican or veggie of the skate community really is. With no signs of violence street food, turning to watch skaters work on the trick they'd or disruption they protested the plans by demonstrating just been trying to land all morning while their friends watched on what a positive effect the area has on the Southbank, the local with bursts of encouragement. But for many this was more community and the constant flow of tourists that flock to the than just another weekend at London’s most famous skate park area. In a genuine display of creativity, amateur skaters from in the Southbank Centre’s unused Undercroft space, and for across London and professional skaters from around the world, passers-by it soon became clear why. A handful of members of
delivered entertainment and inspiration to everyone there.
the skate community were installed behind tables below a large
Andrew Reynolds was one of the professional skaters who
‘Save Southbank’ sign, in T-shirts adorned with the same plea, came to show his support, taking a short break from the Emerica as they prepared for a weekend of celebration in support of
tour. He spoke of how as a child in America, he would watch
the skate park now under threat of closure. As more than the videos of skaters on Southbank, just as he did those of skaters usual number of skaters sped between the pillars, their message at Philadelphia’s famous Love Park, and EMB in San Francisco, became clear: don’t let this park disappear. Users of the park had emphasising the Undercroft’s status as a ‘legendary’ spot that come together to reach out to the public and build up support to should be supported. And demonstrating true sportsmanship stop the Southbank Centre from selling this irreplaceable space and support for the park he joined the younger skaters, waiting as part of the new development plans. “They can’t just take it dutifully each time for his turn in the queue. away like that, without thinking we’ll fight,” says Ellie, one of
Celebrating southbank’s undercroft
Gurrl. “it’s madness to use arts council money to destroy a
space that has fed into a vibrant street art community”— Sara. The undercroft is not just iconic it’s where memories are
“Southbank’s dingy banked underpass is iconic because of an
made and a legendary space which should be celebrated
architectural design blip that gave skateboarding and BMX a
for it’s many contributions to London - Mariko Kuro. The ‘
near-perfect street spot. What goes on in the dirty underbelly
culTURE AND THE GENERAL HISTORY OF THIS SPACE COMPLETELY
of southbank is just as important as what goes on inside” - Ben
NULIFIES ANYTHING THIS NEW SPACE COULD BRING” — John Wilson. ‘The
h. “This place cannot be emulated and by taking it away you are
proposal to move the skate park means it is not regarded as
detroying a piece of history. might aswell replace the tower of
equally important as the other facilities on southbank’— Skater london with a mcdonalds while your at it” - Travis adams
Volunteers organised competitions throughout the day. With anyone allowed to sign up for one-on-one trick battles, best grinds, best flips, with the victors winning specially tagged Save Southbank boards. Guest DJs from around London played their part by providing the perfect soundtrack to the sunny day, interrupted only by the occasional plea to stir-up support for the fight against closure. One volunteer, keeping an eye on the safety of the skaters and joining in himself when a gap appeared, spoke of his gratitude for the public’s defence of the area: “I hope everyone is finally seeing how important this place is, and that we are not a nuisance here. We are part of the area.” He added: “We will make sure we do become a nuisance if they get rid of this place,” as he set off down the ramp to join the action. The whole weekend placed the park firmly in its rightful place within Southbank’s artistic community, as regular users of the space showed its value as a creative outlet and its potential for bridging the gap between the skate counter culture and the wider community. Perhaps one of the most powerful images of the weekend was the proof of just how many generations have been affected by the Undercroft space. Countless people travelled to the festival to relive and recount warm memories of the area. Many skaters who had used the space decades ago returned to offer their support, some bringing their children along, reminding everyone of the importance of the park’s history to future generations of skaters. As volunteers gave young passers-by lessons in and among the other skaters, giving them a taste of the sportsmanship and camaraderie at the heart of the skate community, inspiring everyone with their show of true creative freedom. There are of course other tailor-made skate areas, even within central London, but none with the same history and spontaneous creative atmosphere of Southbank. To move the skaters on from the otherwise-unused graffiti-covered ledges and banks they have taken over is to declare war on spontaneity and freedom. Southbank is London’s playground, its youth club, its back garden, and the skate park is right at the heart of it.
LIFEâ€™s A garden just dig it
Just dig it
Whether a professional, hardcore amateur or beginner, those who fill their lives with extreme sport all hold the same passion. Landing a trick to win a title or just for your own satisfaction, still gives you the same sense of personal acheivement. And it is this passion we want to celebrate, amateur and professional side by side, both are athletes of the extreme. So in the words of professional BMXer Mike ‘Hucker’ Clark — “life’s a garden, just dig it”.
Just dig it
Just dig it
Just dig it
Just dig it
Photo Index p3
Switzerland - Sunnie Newby
FMX Devon - Neil Kirby
Alpes Maritime Rescue Team - Yann Coatsaliou/360 MĂŠdias
Surfing Devon - Neil Kirby
Felix Baumgartner Red Bull Stratos Mission - Red Bull Media House
Switzerland - Sunnie Newby
Sky above Saint-Tropez - Sunnie Newby
New York City - Sunnie Newby
Switzerland - Sunnie Newby
Wingsuit BASE Jumpers, Norway - BlueSky/Peter Dogerfelt
Jokke Sommer, Norway - BlueSky/Peter Dogerfelt
Southbank feature - Sunnie Newby
p53, 56, 58
London BMX - Benson Blue Rose
Mike Clark, Red Bull Empire of Dirt - Alexandra Spiridakis
Ben Wallace, Red Bull Empire of Dirt - Alexandra Spiridakis
Drew Bezanson, Red Bull Empire of Dirt - Sunnie Newby
Southbank Skate Park - Sunnie Newby
Thank You Deborah Anne, Allison Beattie, Benson Blue Rose, Yann Coatsaliou, Bianca Darcy, Neil Kirby, Harriet Palmer, Julian Rockhead, Alex Spiridakis, Marah Strauch, SaveSouthbank.com,We Are Undercroft
FF Printed on Fabriano ecological paper 120gsm
Freefall is a new magazine that speaks to the ever growing community surrounding extreme sports, and those with a passion for the freedom an...