With smaller more scene building contest series seeming to becoming a hard thing to find it’s amazing that Zac Shaw has been holding vert contests in England for nearly 4 years now. I would get so excited when I would see stuff from the ‘Vert Series’ contests so I hit up Zac to ask him some questions.
Hey man how have you been? I always see you posting stuff up about the vert series and I wanna know more about it and I’m sure some other people do to. Would you be into going back and forth for a lil interview on Snakebite?
I have been good mate, I hope life is treating you well too.
Yeah fire away and get more info out of me Shad, I’m just plugging away and making sure there is a legacy for riders when we are gone.
I started the Vert series 3 years ago as there were many riders who were unhappy that there wasn’t any events happening that they were allowed to ride in, Pro invite only events don’t help nurture the new talent in the sport nor does YouTube.
So they have been running for 3 years.Have many stops does the event have? What is the average size of the ramp and what classes do you run?
We haven 3-4 stops per year, the ramp size varies as we go to different Skateparks across the country, the smallest so far has been 12ft.
We run Pro, Am & under 13’s
Do you think the height of vert ramps in the last 15 years has scared of this generation of would be vert riders? I know when i was coming a 9 to 10 foot tall ramp is not nearly as intimidating as the newer ones.
There is no doubt in my mind that the size of Vert Ramps has had a detrimental effect on the number of younger riders riding Vert or wanting to even try it.
We all tend to forget we progressed from 6ft ramps and have slowly edged towards the 14ft” ramp that we now see at events like the X-Games.
Vert riding has become elitist and if it dies it will be our fault for putting it so far out of reach of riders starting out.
I know when I was young and looked at 10 and 11ft ramps I just thought they were huge and there was no chance I would ever get to the top of them, it was only the advent of some Vert ramps getting midi sections that I slowly got into Vert.
Personally I would like to see the return of 12ft ramps and we should look at building Vert ramps with Midi sections on them as standard (not that BMX should have any set rules)
So yes I do think bigger ramps have had a negative impact on rider participation.
I remember the first time I heard about your series I got excited. Growing up riding in the late 80’s to early 90’s some of my fondest memories are being crammed into a ramps deck. Not much out there feels better than rolling in with your friends surrounding you cheering you on for your next trick. Do you feel like your series is help capturing that same vibe?
It feels exactly the same, there are few of us who remember those days and then there is a whole new crew of younger riders who are experiencing exactly what we did back in the day Shad.
Everyone is into it, next year will be the 4th year we have run the series and each year we carry on more and more people want to get involved, it’s as fun as it ever was 🙂
What are the dates and parks for year 4?
UK BMX VERT Series 2016 Dates-
RD1 Ramp City Blackpool / March 27th
RD3 FINAL Mt Hawke Truro, Cornwall / August 28th
MAY 1st RD1 will be at UNIT 23 in Dumbarton, Scotland
June 12th ROM Skatepark London
RD3 the FINAL will be at MT Hawke in Truro Cornwall August 27th.
Sponsors confirmed so far.
Custom Riders, Vocal, 4down, United, Fit, Total BMX, BSD, FUSE and others TBC.
There will also be big news coming for another event in the UK that I have been working on.
The BMX scene can only grow if we support it and that’s what we intend to do with the industry behind us, those guys in the industry who own and run the companies are the ones I grew up with and have ridden with over the last 30 years and we have a common goal, to promote BMX to all riders as a community to support the Skateparks & shops by giving something back, it would be selfish if as a former Pro rider I or we sat back and said “Thanks for and awesome career everyone goodbye”
That just wouldn’t be right.
Jon “Cong” Barnett
All Photos By Ged McConville