So I was on holiday, chilling in a static caravan in Cornwall when I got a text off Tez. What the bloody hell does he want? Mans on holiday chilling, ya get me ? Surprisingly it wasn’t to do with work….well kinda! It turned out that the nice people at Vans had invited a couple of Black Sheep representatives to go down to London, to the House of Vans to help them out in a wear test. Having never ( yes you read it right! never!) been to London, the possible chance of getting some free product and the chance of meeting up with Black Sheep rider and House Of Vans manager Rob Smith and assistant Wazza Dowd for an overdue beer was an opportunity not to be missed!
Having got the train from Piccadilly we eventually arrived at Euston a couple of hours later, first stop was to make way through the sea of people to get outside for a ‘comfort break’ and of course the #sexontour instagraming began! Then it was time to jump on the tube to Waterloo, I’ve heard many things about this tube lark, no talking, no making eye contact and all that, but thankfully it was pretty quiet on the black line that afternoon! ( thank god! ) so I didn’t have the worst tube experience. So we’d reached Waterloo and all that was left was the short walk to the House Of Vans, the excitement was building! I was looking at the skyline to see if i could see any of the famous landmarks, but all I could see was that dildo-esc tube of glass known as the Shard ! We turned around a corner and we were there, I was surprised it was so close by, I thought we were going to have to go on a fair mooch, then we were met by a familiar face on our arrival!
The pleasantries began, handshakes, fist pumps and the general hows life conversation. We all chatted amongst ourselves for a few minutes then was ushered into the park so that things could get underway. We were each given a locker and inside was a Vans tote bag filled with a couple of goodies and most importantly the shoes that we were there to test. I was stoked to see that they were a pair of Gilbert Crockett Pro’s !
And these mega sick socks!
We all gathered in the cinema room to watch a presentation hosted by product manager Juss Apivala and Alexis Jauzion. They took us through the design concept of the shoe and there was a short video of Gilbert himself talking about his involvement and ideas which were used in the whole process. They explained to us about the new Wafflecup soles that had been used, this technology gives a more secure and cushioned sole with the full flexibility of a vulcanized one. We were also told about the Duracap technology which is basically making already tough and durable suede that bit more better for longer lasting shoes. The techno chat was over and it was time to put them to the test with a session in the park. Having never been inside before I was eager to explore and the first thing I saw was the bowl section on my left, its pretty deep and whippy, transition has never been one of my strong points so I decided to spectate till it was quieter later on! People were skating this like it was nothing – ridiculous! The next room is the mini ramp room with a couple of different sized ramps on either side. The final room is the street section consisting ob a bank, across and down ledge, a couple of quarters and one or two more street-ish obstacles.
Had a decent couple of hours in the park, people were smashing it! If you’ve not been yet its worth a day out! That bowl is pretty gnarly to say the least! After having a good skate it was time to sample the beverages and scran that was on offer! Some tasty burgers and cans of IPA were consumed in the cafe area, we chilled out for a bit and had a chit chat, then Wazza and Rob mentioned a pub near their gaff round the corner that would be ideal for a pint!
We met the doggers just across the way from the park and the plan was to head to the ‘old man’ pub further down street. By now it appeared that most people had put having a pint at the top of the agenda as we were joined by a merry crew of at least twenty strong skateboarders taking up a large front seating area at the pub. Time quickly ticked away and before we knew it the time had come start with the mission back home, back onto a now slightly busy tube to Euston for our two hour journey back to Piccadilly.
Massive thanks to Vans for the invitation, big thank you to all at House Of Vans for having us and big ups to everyone that was there making the day and session what it was! In a bit London ! I’ll be back!