Antwerp Street Kicks part 2
This Is Antwerp likes to keep you updated about all the hidden hotspots, hangouts and hot events in Antwerp. To make sure our information is genuine we only cooperate with Antwerp locals to select and approve our information. To prove we mean business we made this vid for you. Enjoy!
Even though I am pretty used to the Belgian version of summer, leaving for Antwerp Street Kicks (ASK) was harder than I could have guessed. Especially with an inviting sofa, blanket, book and a purring cat that wants to snuggle up for the day.
But! Being the life enjoyer that I am, a little rain wasn’t going to stop me from seeing this thing through. Armed with a warm and sturdy raincoat and a bathing suit I left for the MAS. When they first told me about the new location I wasn’t really sure how that would all work: motorcycles flying over the docks? Little motorboats pulling along wake boarders at the same time? A ramp placed against the MAS? It’s one thing to organize an extreme sporting event in a park, but something completely different to put it smack bang in the middle of the center of town.
Upon arrival it became pretty clear that the organization had pulled out all stocks to make sure that everything would run as smooth as possible, despite of the miserable weather. There were constructions of iron bars for the parcours-runners, limp slackline ropes over a 1m-deep pool and mattresses, a snowy hill to slide off in a tube and a big-ass ramp for the avid skaters, bladers and BMXers. At first glance it had everything to make for an active day and that wasn’t even taking in account the stage for artists, the ramps for the RedBull X-fighters and the floating ramps in Bonaparte Dock, ready for us newbies and pros to get in the water.
Since I was early enough that I didn’t have to worry about getting wet any time soon (at least not wetter than the rain made me) I took my time to make a tour of the event with my co-blogger Bram. He had been there since 11 in the morning and had already done some activities so it was nice to have someone with me who knew where to find what. What I didn’t expect was that he would try and coax me into trying out a couple of things for myself and in the end I just decided to go with the flow and see where he took me.
So I tried a couple of things for myself
First thing we did was go down the snowy slope in 2 tubes, which I could see were mostly meant for kids visiting, but since there were no signs prohibiting the big kids to have a go we gleefully plopped down in a tube and took the short but fun ride. I can only hope people had as much fun watching us as we had going down, no matter that it only took a good 10 seconds.
After that it was time to try out my balance on a longboard and I have to say that this went better than expected. Only took me 4 tries until I was able to somewhat balance myself on the board and ride a straight line. And honestly I could not have expected to do more than that, seeing as I usually have trouble not tripping over my own 2 feet. And even though I got a taste of the need for balance when standing upright on a board, I knew it would be nothing compared to the balance I would need on the wake board later that same day.
What you need to know is that I’m not one to stall when it comes to adrenaline kicks. Rather: I’m the girl that’s 20 minutes early and chatting everybody’s ear off about my nerves and asking endless questions as to what exactly is about to happen. So bless everyone else for us only arriving at the nick of time, with barely a moment to spare to put on the wetsuit –which turned out to be quite the ordeal and grab me a Red Bull (didn’t calm the nerves one bit but boy you gotta love a sugar rush like that).
Face down in the water
What I first thought would be a freezing hour in the docks turned out to be such an awesome time I can hardly believe it was an hour that went by. In the blink of an eye I was in the dock, getting instructions and watching Bram have his first try on the board. It’s only fair to say that his first attempt didn’t really get my hopes up to try it myself. It looked quite hard to gain balance while hanging behind a rope on a zip line, which you had to keep close in order to pull yourself upright out of the water and onto the board. So it was with a bit of a heavy heart and very aware of the people standing behind me on the docks that I took the stick in my two hands and braced myself for the first pull that would inevitably end with my face down in the water.
Boy was I surprised to find that I wasn’t as bad as I thought I would be. Sure I was only able to get half up and for not more than 5 meters or so, but at least I got up! The next 100 meters were more or less the same: splashing about and getting half-up before plummeting into the water again –which thankfully wasn’t that cold at all with a wetsuit on. When I almost reached the deck again where the others were waiting I was finally able to pull myself upright all the way, only to have my early enthusiasm break my concentration and pull me down one last time. I don’t think I could have smiled wider as I climbed back on the dock, already prepared to go out again. Didn’t mind the burning muscles in the least either. Sadly, before I had time to have a second go the hour had passed and we had to leave for dry land again. The wetsuit was awesome, but the hot shower washed every memory of cold wind out of me.
The BMX family
Tired from giving it my all and content for not being too awful at it, I went to find the BMX family who were there too as they had to throw a demo or two on the ramp. Due to the rain however, they were hiding under an open roof between the info and souvenir shop at the MAS. As I could expect they weren’t just standing around. Far from. In good spirits they took off the roof by providing everyone hiding out from the rain a little flatland show. For those who don’t know flatland: it’s basically acrobatics on a bike with only a flat area as “playground”. Once again they were able to baffle me with their moves and little jumps, spins and hops. It made me wish I had more balance so that at least one girl could have taken a go at it, but seeing how they don’t only jump but crash too: I’m not surprised not more of us take the risk. In any case it won’t be that much longer before I try it out myself, either out of free will or a forced –but happy- hand.
All in all it was another great day of life enoying that made me feel all the more lucky for being able to enjoy my hometown in a way not many people can and share it with you guys.
Vid: This Is Antwerp