Tell us about yourself. How did your skateboarding journey eventually lead you to organising a 24 Hour Ultraskate in the UK?
My name is Pierre-Edouard Duedal, I am a British / French Long Distance Boarder, who found sanctuary in the sport. Whilst having always ridden some form of board my entire life, whether cruising back and forth from school on my older sisters mangled penny board, riding popsicles decks at the local skate spots at the time; and hanging out with peeps, or wakeboarding in the summer months (whenever I was fortunate to do so). But it wasn’t until I experienced PTSD & high levels of depression following a car accident and a number of life events, that I eventually found long distance skateboarding in my late 20’s. The sport offered me solace, and an opportunity to discover an amazing community of inspiring individuals. From this, came the aspiration and ambition of sharing this sport with others in hope it could offer others the same joy and benefits it has given to me.
It wasn’t until 2020 when I saw Push - The film that discovered the world of Ultraskates. Finally in 2022 (now in my 30’s), I attended the Dutch Ultraskate which was such a positive experience it validated this was the event format I was looking for.
Discussing the idea with both, the guys I ride with locally (The Cambridge Guided Busway Boarders), and numerous people on social media in UK longboarding groups, alongside mulling over ideas over the course of a year, it became obvious that many were keen on the idea of an Ultraskate in the UK, but nobody was going to take the lead and make this a reality.
Finally, in January when the announcement was made that the Dutch Ultraskate wouldn’t be running this year, I was sad like many that we wouldn’t have the opportunity to do an Ultraskate in Europe this year (of course this now only applied geographically, not ‘politically’, much to my dismay). In turn, despite severe shortage of time and money, with managing the starting up of Stubby Precision Trucks, looking after my four kids, and trying to work part-time, I set to work organising the UK Ultraskate.
I have taken an enormous personal and financial risk getting this event off the ground, opened myself up to subjection of the masses, and committed endless hours in organisation & logistics, but I love the sport and believe so many others can find the same joy and happiness I get from riding, and wish to share this.
And this brings us to now. After several months of organising, and metaphorical ‘blood’, a lot of sweat, and many beers (and some tears), the UK Ultraskate 2023 - 1st Edition is going to be a reality!
Pierre is inspired by events like Dutch Ultraskate above.
When is the UK Ultraskate? Tell us what participants can expect?
The 1st Edition of the UK Ultraskate will be taking place the 29-30th July 2023 at Betteshanger Country Park, Deal, Kent CT14 0BF.
The Ultraskate will follow a similar format to both the Miami & Dutch Ultraskates. Participants will be given the opportunity to skate for 24 hours on a serene & smooth closed 1.25 mile track, and test their endurance, resilience, and ‘worth’; skating as many miles as they can within this allocated time. As they say for the Miami Ultraskate, ‘Skate a little or skate a lot, the fun doesn’t stop until the clock does!’
Moreover, participants will have access to camping in an amphitheatre to the side of the track, alongside showers, changing facilities and toilets. Furthermore, food and drinks will be made available for purchase on site, within both the main sites bar & restaurant (8am-4pm), and various local food catering vans (9am-6pm).
The event will conclude with an awards ceremony, and a prize raffle. (Raffle tickets will be made available for purchase throughout the event, and prizes will comprise of some incredible contributions from our sponsors such as LDP decks, trucks, brackets, wheels, bushings, merchandise, and more!)
What kind of response have you received from the community? Local and International?
Apart from the occasional naysayer, the event has been well received, and response has largely been very positive.
Registrations have come from across Europe, including Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Belgium, and more, and much interest has been shown from the USA, Singapore, and Australia, to name but a few countries.
But donations, support, and sponsorships have come from all over the world! It has truly become an amazing global manifestation that has drawn support together from a global ‘family’!
As some will already know, this is neither a large corporate funded event, nor a corporate promotional exercise, but the manifestation of a simple and pure passion by one individual. I have invested over £3000 into this event out of my own pocket (money I should have been reinvesting into Stubby Precision Trucks), with costs exceeding £5500, and I need to ensure I can break even to be in a position to run the event again. My hope is to make this an annual event that can grow into a festival that brings together our ever growing community.
Sponsors have provided generously to the raffle, which will hopefully help fund a portion of the event, but many of these businesses within this sector are run by passionate entrepreneurial individuals that will offer what they can to support the community, but financial support is often difficult. Which is where I have needed (and still need) everybody's help! (So if you can afford to contribute some change, please do! - www.ultraskate.co.uk/donate Every donation to the event is extremely valued and appreciated! Donations go directly towards the event, and (hopefully) prospective future editions.)
And finally, to this point I would like to take a moment and shout out to all of our sponsors for all their fantastic raffle prize contributions, and Mark from GBomb, Evan from Valkyrie, Bodhi from SP, and finally my personal friends Tracey & Brad from Riptide sports for their generous financial contributions which has enormously helped bring us closer to meeting this goal.
How can people sign up and participate? Any deadlines or promos readers should be aware of?
To register to take part, simply go to the ‘Registration’ page on the UK Ultraskate website: www.ultraskate.co.uk/registration, select your desired registration option, and complete the purchase. (Options include: Solo rider, Teams, Discover Ultraskate ‘Stewards team, Volunteer - Steward, and ‘The Bare Necessities - Solo’. To find out more, please click on ‘Read more’ on the registration page of the UK Ultraskate website.)
As for registration deadlines. There is no outward timeframe, but we advise participants to register sooner than later to ensure their place in the event (spaces are currently limited to a 100, but this may be reduced for budgetary reasons). On the race day, last minute registration will be possible, however, availability of these 'last minute' spaces will be dictated by pre-event online bookings. Moreover, an additional fee of £25 will be applied. (Registrations will close when the maximum number of participants has been reached). And remember, no registration means no Ultraskate!
In terms of promos, we have a number of promotional offers currently available.
- Register to take part and we'll send you a 40% discount code off an additional solo rider space for you to invite a friend. (If you have already registered and wish to claim this discount code, please email: email@example.com)
- Keep an eye out for promo-codes from our sponsors. When you buy a product from our sponsors, you will receive a discount code that will be redeemable for a Solo Rider space. (See our list of sponsors: www.ultraskate.co.uk/sponsors) - (Promotional discounts vary from 15-60% off registration).
- Finally, if you subscribe to the IDSA, use this discount code: IDSAUKULTRA15 to get a 15% discount off a solo registration..
Can you give us a bit more detail on the venue/course please?
The track is a smooth 1.25miles long tarmac loop located in the picturesque Kent countryside, within Betteshanger Country Park. The site has little elevational variation which offers a very pleasant ride.
The site offers showers, changing facilities and toilets. Furthermore, food and drinks will be made available for purchase on site, within both the main sites bar & restaurant (8am-4pm), and various local food catering vans (9am-6pm). (For those keen to further explore the site, there is a mining museum, cycle hire & trails, a children's play park, and more. Please visit: www.betteshanger-park.co.uk/ for more information.)
Not many people know there was a 24 hour skate event in the UK years ago. What makes this one an “Ultraskate” from your perspective?
There has been some controversy from some members of the longboarding community over the claim of this event being the first official ultraskate of its kind in the UK. For a bit of back story, there has been one or two ‘24 hour’ skateboarding & longboarding themed events in the past two decades in the UK, with one of the more notable being ‘Skaiti’ which was a charitable event to raising money to help with disaster relief in Haiti following a horrendous earthquake back in 2010. Whilst these events were held for 24 hours (in the UK), the format, timing equipment, abiding and conforming to Skateboarding associations regulations and mandate (whether the IDSA or Skateboard GB), logistic & obligation, alongside the overall nature of the UK Ultraskate are somewhat different to these previous events, and in my eyes (and as for many) is very much the first of its kind in the UK (being far more formalised and structured in line with the Miami & Dutch Ultraskates).
What have been some of the major difficulties so far planning this event? How can people that are not able to attend support?
Organising an event of the sort, is simply put, a ‘mega’ ultra of its own. It has been a test of resilience, endurance, and patience, and has tested my perseverance and commitment to the sport, community, and beliefs / hopes, and not least my ‘purse’. In no way could I possibly express how difficult it has been to make this event a reality!..
But we are finally here, and now I need every contribution possible to help financially support this Ultraskate! As a community we have managed to bridge the gap enormously, pushing ever closer to reaching the goal of breaking even, but we still need a minimum of another £1500. So if you can, please do donate to www.ultraskate.co.uk/donate.
What is the skate scene like in the UK? Are you seeing people start to train for the event on a local level?
The UK Skate scene has seen new found growth since the debut of park & street skateboarding in the olympics (as has probably been seen across the world). But long distance skateboarding / longboarding (LDP) as a discipline, is; I would say very much still in its infancy in the UK and many parts of the world. It is still a niche discipline that few know about.
But I know some of the guys I ride with locally have started training in anticipation of the UK Ultraskate, and I am hoping to see my personal friend Mark Gansbuehler (aka endurance_snaker) achieve a new ‘snake board’ WR.
What would be your biggest piece of advice to someone thinking about hosting a skate event?
Simply put, this isn’t for the faint-hearted. Be ready to commit endless hours of planning, organising, managing, communications, travelling, and of course money! Money, Money, Money!.. Everything costs something, and it all quickly adds up! So have a firm plan in place on how you are going to address this! And then have several back up options! (Even then you may find you still have to think out of the box and on your feet on a regulator basis). Moreover, people are often keen to promise the world, but until you have confirmation of hard cash; or confirmation in writing of one's commitment to volunteer, you can't always guarantee people are going to follow through. Everyone has commitments, and sometimes they clash. Having a team you can rely on, and being able to spread the burden would undoubtedly help! (Fortunately, along my journey in this Ultraskate I have met some awesome people and established some great relationships. Most notably, with Franz-Joseph Schumeckers (from Germany) and Kevin Murphy (from the UK), who have tried to help me when possible, completing various tasks and getting in contact with various people from both the community and further afield..
Bonus Question: What is your Bucketlist skate spot/trip?
As for bucketlist skate trips, there are quite a lot of trips I would like to make, but to name just a few:
- Miami Homestead - 24 hour Ultraskate
- Skate across the USA - Follow suit to ‘Beyond the sidewalk’ and attempt to skate across the USA.
- The Vennbahn - 100km from Aachen to Troisvierges, which passes through Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg.
- Flaming Runde
But simply put, I want to skate as much as I possibly can before my time is up, and skate across as many continents as I can, whilst continuing to meet as many amazing people as I can, and spreading stoke!
UK Ultraskate is an IDSA Sanctioned Event
Edit By Scott Zee