OEREND HARD

Oerend Hard Festival #5
August 4-5, 2007
Holland’s best skateboarding weekend this year

This special anniversary edition was truly memorable. All but the erratic power generator proved to be perfect: a dry park, 25 degree sunny weather, insane skateboarding slash partying. This, and a zero stress atmosphere in the park and on the campsite pulled a couple of hundred skaters out of their local, Dutch, German, British, Belgian and Swiss hoods and into the Hulsbeek skatepark in Oldenzaal. No matter what age you are and what size or year’s board you ride, this is one you shouldn’t have missed.

What’s this festival thing all about, you might wonder? Well, a full 2 days’ worth of skating a classic park in Holland, for starters. Down the vintage 1979 concrete snakerun and banks complex, the ride is probably best described as absolutely shooting and screeching down if you ride a normal setup, push hard and only use the hips. Yer olde oldschool board or longboard with some 87A’s makes for smooth cruising and lots of grip in a straight line. Next to the snake there’s a banked downhill waiting for your tuck-knees. The third feature of the park is a smaller area, half surrounded with banks about 3feet high, with a hip and corner. In the hip quarter there’s a cluster of three oddshaped trannied bumps, which are great. The contest part, as usual, is both serious and laid-back fun. Sunshine, swimming, some beers and a noisy campsite next to the park completed another picture perfect gathering of skaters.

Saturday held prizes for best trick, best line and jump ramp best trick. Jimmy de Kok won the best trick contest on the banks and bumps – ollie to tailslide on the deathbox flip out. Niek Zandstra laid the best line downhill with the extra obstacles: backside disaster on the starting quarter, backside 50-50 on the ledge, a smooth backside 360 nosegrab, a big benihana, and a reverted salute to the good old Bert. Douwe Macare grabbed first in the jump ramp contest, jury members are still tossing coins over the one that did it. Heads: the switch heelflip. Tails: a sweet nollie backside heelflip.

During the day, every time the jury retreated to decide who won what, everyone grabbed their boards. To start ripping again until it got dark and way after, partying and skating hard all through the night. Someone would yell ‘Another round!’ to spark the sound of either a couple of cans being opened or screaming madmen and screeching wheels on concrete. Or both at the same time. Chinese downhill with forty skaters in the middle of the night… epic.

By now you probably understand that Sunday started a bit quieter than Saturday had ended. But hangovers soon cleared up at the announcement of the crazy catamaran contest, the infamous boardercross at warp speed, and the classic snakerun speed contest. Everyone gathered to watch Hans Van Dorssen push the catamaran teams into warp speed down the down the banked downhill. Only to fly through the air a couple of meters before introducing their asses to Oldenzaal concrete. That is, if they made it that far, as opposed to ending up crashing into the onlookers. Jarne Verbruggen and Bram van Halteren blasted straight down the course and saw a brutal arse landing awarded with first place.

Even harsher than catamaranning is the boardercross contest, not in the least because you’re allowed to either cut your opponents off, or kick, spit or shove ’em off their boards. They will try to do the same to you, so this takes balls. Or breasts, as Jennifer de Sera proved last year. She took out Ben Daleman with a mean punch to the eye at the semis in this year’s edition, but crashed hard in the final so Tom Hakstege zoomed past and took the title.

It has become a tradition for Dennis Hemmekam to win the Snakerun speed title. This guy is rumoured to be a product of a romantic evening at the very spot he’s the speed king. How’s that for roots? His levelheaded, smooth hands down style proved the strongest and probably most aerodynamic run for whatever that’s worth, but this was fffffaaaaasssssttttt! The designer of the park offered a balloon ride for first place, so just after the awards ceremony the big parachuted stove took to the air with the five-in-a-row winner.

Bram Waterman, ‘de Fabriek’ in Enschede and Skateboard Federation Netherlands brought together a team of 67 volunteers to make this happen, and like you we’re all looking forward to next year’s edition! Check out www.oerendhard.net for more info.

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