An Interview with Jack Nichols by Philip Downer
Jack may be one of the newer slalomers to the UK scene, but as the only non-American competitor he recently won a competition in Miami, Florida which was part of the North American Slalom Series. I managed to persuade him to answer a few questions about his background, recent events in Florida and the rest of this years slalom season.
Name? Jack Nichols
Where in the UK do you currently live/skate? At University in Nottingham and I skate wherever the surface is suitable…not that many places up here!
How long have you been skating and how long have you been practicing slalom? I have been skating since I was about 10 years old but have only been doing slalom for the past 2 years.
What skates and setup do you currently use? (feel free to tell us all about your skates i.e. what wheels and bearings if you really want): I am currently skating on the Seba Igors. However I have removed the carbon cuff and replaced it with the cuff from my old Seba Highs. I found the carbon cuff too stiff whereas the High cuff allows for a bit more bend. I use the new Gyro wheels and have done for the past year or so, they do the job. Bearings are the standard ILQ9 ones that come with the Seba’s.
Do you currently belong to any particular Skating clubs or teams? I am currently a member of Naomi Griggs International SkateFreestyle Team but when in Nottingham I skate with some of the Nottingham Skaters…when they skate.
You were recently in Miami for the Great Es-Skate and a Skate Freestyle Slalom Retreat, Could you tell our readers a bit more about both events? The Great Es-Skate was something I was not particularly looking forward too but after deciding to do it I would highly recommend it to anyone! I will be doing my best to return for next year’s event. The skates are well organised, the food is great, the people are good fun and the fact the roads are closed off by the police makes for a fun, fast paced, skate. The retreat, as usual, was great. Carefully constructed sessions for each member on the course allow each person to progress at their own speed. The separate sections of the retreat allow skaters to work on all aspects of their slalom from style to new technical tricks. If you want to improve your slalom you will not find a better course. Bad habits are dissolved, style is thrust upon you and the legs are sure in for a good workout!
There was a competition at the end of the week between all of the course attendees, which you won (congratulations again), could you tell us a bit more about the competition, such as where it was held, was it a battle and were there many spectators? The competition was not just for course members but did contain some. It was a great atmosphere and the location was amazing. It was held on Miami’s South Beach. People were gathered all around (some very close to the cones which added to the excitement!) to witness the Battle Style Competition.
Was there any one thing in particular which you learnt throughout the retreat which you used in the competition? Any new special moves? I worked hard on the basics and tried to improve my style which still needs plenty of work. I really enjoy wheeling (which annoys Naomi) so I have been working on heel and toe 7’s. Whether these will be ready to use in Battle UK is yet to be seen…
What would you say was the highlight of your trip to Florida? The highlight aside from the skating has to be the group of people I was with for the week. The group of people were great fun and if it wasn’t for them I am positive the experience would have been very different. Like everybody says “skaters are just cool” .
So moving on to your next competition, I assume that this will be Battle UK in Nottingham? This is correct. I shall be competing in the Freestyle, Speed Slalom and Freejump which should make for interesting viewing.
How often will you be training in the next few weeks before Battle UK and is there anything in particular that you’re going to be working on that isn’t too secret to tell us? Due to the lovely British weather at the moment I will try to get out as much as possible when it is dry. Nottingham is not blessed with a ‘Hyde Park Surface’ which limits the practice when wet . Things that will be worked upon…well I would have to say style and fluidity. As much as I love prancing around on one wheel and trying to be technical I would happily swap some technical tricks for some style!
What other competitions or skating trips and events are you planning on going to this year? I hope to attend Battle US in San Francisco with the rest of the SkateFreestyle team in June and also the UK competitions. I would also love to do the Athens to Atlanta road race (all 87 miles of it if possible) in October.
Is there anything else that you’d like to add? To people who may read this and have never tried slalom due to thinking they couldn’t do it or are scared to try, I would just like to say have a go! The slalomers in the UK are a great bunch of people and I assure you that you will have fun. Thanks.
- The Great Es-Skate runs every year in Miami, Florida during February and consists of a weekend of police escorted street skates along Miami’s smoothest roads.
- Naomi Grigg has run a slalom retreat for the last 2 years alongside the Great Es-Skate and also runs other slalom workshops throughout the world, her next UK workshop will be at Battle UK, find out more at SkateFreestyle
- Battle UK is held in Nottingham and it is the UKs longest running annual slalom competition, it’s always a great event to go to.
- Thanks to Grant Drake who provided all the photos used in this interview