Words by Chris Cade
Photos by Scott Raymond and Katlyn Beachy
If you've been paying attention in the longboarding industry, then you've noticed that race attendance is slipping, and freerides are growing. I believe our sport needs an infusion of fresh blood, both new skaters, and new ways to skate. Enter the Bayou Battle, the brainchild of Greg Noble of Team Nobull, and Scotty Sheridan, of Carve Skate Shop. The Bayou Battle is a parking garage race that is setting record numbers on both attendance, and prize money. It's also only $60 for three days of events, which has to be some kind of record too.
Day one is at Spring Skatepark, the largest in the country. Suffice it to say, if you get bored at Spring, you're not trying hard enough. It's only a matter of time before Spring Skatepark is it's own level in Tony Hawk Pro Skater 9 or whatever. It's enormous. Snake runs, bowls for days, including one that's shaped like the state of Texas, and a pentagonal bowl/plaza, slappy blocks, minis, an enormous street section, and more. Just look it up here.
But the second day is why they come. The second day is the Garage Race.
You've got to be sure you want to throw down with the Texans. The Houston style of garage racing is very simple. Full contact garage racing, meaning grabbing anything above the belt is permitted, and the first one to the finish line wins. This results in some epic crashes, epically close heats, and a style of skating that you probably haven't tried before. I know I was surprised last year when I was living in Texas, and went to my first full contact race. Theoretically, you know that someone is going to hit you and grab on, but that doesn't really prepare you for holding a toeside line, and then someone grabs your shirt and yanks you off balance, slowing you, and giving them an extra speed boost. It's a learning curve, if you're going to tangle with the Texans.
What that means for your average fast dude, is that if you want to get out in front, you've got 5 people trying to catch you and grab you from behind. It's nerve-wracking, especially if they're fighting behind you too. I've seen riders in 6th place, catch a couple of the right grabs and be in first within 2 parking levels. I've also seen people who have skills on a board that I will always be jealous of, get slammed into the support pillars in the middle of the flats, and get taken away in the ambulance.
Now if this sounds hairy slash fun, good. I want you to go next year! The organizers gave away SEVEN THOUSAND dollars this year, which is insane. Brandon Tissen beat Troy Grenier by the closest margin I've ever seen. There were definitely not as many Texans in the final rounds as last year, with more pros taking notice and making the trip over.
In closing, I want to bring all the appeals of this event to your attention. In Texas, you will find:
- A scene, second to none, bolstered by a friendly rivalry of Dallas vs. Houston vs. Austin vs. San Antonio
- A new form of skateboard racing, competitive and exciting, called Garage Racing with HGR rules
- A entire day spent at the Spring Skatepark, the largest in the country
- The possibility of winning what is basically a life changing amount of money
- Oh and the Skate Party of the year. I'll leave it at that, but if you know anybody who went to it, ask them for details, because I don't want to share them here for the entire internet. It was, what the kids are calling these days, "totally lit". There was a ten ton cargo lifter, and people traveling back and forth in the warehouse above the heads of the rest of the party.
This event, as with all sanctioned events, would not be possible without the tireless effort of a team of individuals, led in main part by Greg Noble of Team NoBull. Seriously, I know you've seen their Instagrams @NoBull_Longboarders but you need to do yourself a favor and get to Texas and go to a NoBull event. Tell me that's not one of the best skate scenes anywhere. While you're there, get yourself to Carve Skate Shop, either in Austin or Houston, and meet the crew that mans the ship that keep the Texas scene afloat.