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Where is the UK ATB scene heading?

As I calm myself down from the awesome weekend I just had at 2022 UK champs (more on this soon), as well as watching ATBoarder’s Will, Bish and Sarah (as well as a host of UK riders) having what looked like an amazing time at the French Champs (more on that later) it got me thinking, about what has happened to the UK scene, and where is it going?

I first started mountainboarding back in the summer of 2003, and after buying a copy of ATBmag from my local Kwik Save (a now defunct cheap ass supermarket – for those too young to remember!) and given a copy of the free zine Scuz, I learnt that there were comps and a whole UK scene. April 2004 was when I first met up with the ATB scene at the Scuz weekender at OTG, the first mountainboard centre I visited. It was a cold and wet weekend, but fun was had, especially when we headed into the barn to session the bouncy castle foam pit. Then in May I headed to my first comp, it was round 2 of the 2004 ATBA series, at the south west mountainboard centre (SWMBC) or simply known as the Big Sheep. I was just simply amazed by the shear size of the thing, the were over 200 competitors and probably 1000 spectators, the series sponsored by 0800 reverse. In 2004 there were 6 events that made up the UK series, along with the ATBMag world freestyle champs in Weston-Super mere. Additionally, there were riders doing demos at multiple festivals (NASS, Town and Country and White Air). This all made for a fun filled busy summer.




In 2005, there was even more, with the ATBA UK series, as well as the ATBMag World Series, can you imagine that, two competitive series running side by side. ATBMag sponsored a load of UK riders and took them around Europe, this is when Fat Face got involved and sponsored the World Freestyle Championships as part of the Fat Face night air series (2005-08). Things were going big and the growth of the sport seemed exponential and like the good times would never end.

Every year there seemed to be a host of International riders who would come over: Akoni, Kody, AJ, Leon and Austin Robbins, Jereme Leafe (US), Arno VW (Belgium), Yuya (Japan) and probably many others, that I’ve forgotten. And with so many comps, spots and centre the UK really was the Mecca and envy of the mountain world.

So, what happened? How did we go from at least 12 UK centres (that I can think of) to just 1? How did we from multiple event series, to just one annual Championship? Multiple magazines, sponsorship funding, festival demos, TV and media appearances to nothing. Did we become complacent? As the once envy of the world, did we take the foot of the gas as the world was crumbling around us and as the U18’s from back in t’day, creep into the Masters are we now doing enough to promote the sport and get new blood. I’m going to revert back to an article written by Muller back in 2005 (, He questioned how effective the UK comp series was at gaining wider attention. Nearly 20 years later, as I check the much outdated ATBA-UK website (with the front page still advertising the 2018 championships in 2022 and a committee page made up of people who have not been involved since 2019), I feel Muller’s words are more relevant now than ever. Holding the self-appointing title of “National Governing Body for Mountainboarding in the UK” set up to “administer, represent and promote the sport of mountainboarding”, while this may seem controversial but revisiting Muller’s 2005 argument we have to ask ourselves: Is holding one event a year in a secluded field, in the middle of nowhere, really doing much to promote the sport?

Over the past few years I have met some new riders and chatting to some of these have mentioned that it can be quite daunting meeting and chatting to more establish riders, and this has mainly because the UK scene could now be seen as a bit cliquey. I have always felt there has kinda been cliques within the UK scene, a bit of a North v South divide, but this was always more jest and banter. But as the numbers dwindled becoming a small group of riders consistently competing against each other, this is very daunting for ‘outsiders’, and while inside the group we like to think ourselves as one big happy family, that family has got smaller over the years.

uk mountainboard scene

uk mountainboard scene

uk mountainboard scene

uk mountainboard scene

So where are we heading?

With that question, I look to the future and how are new people getting into the sport, how best can we showcase something that we all clearly love? Because without riders, there is no market and without a market there are no products, no innovation, no centre, competitions and our hobbies sadly die.

One market that seems to be gaining in popularity is electric boarding. When I first started riding I used to get regularly asked “did you build that yourself?” now I seem to get asked “is that electric?” so clearly some kind of change is happening. There are now much more off-road eboard companies (I can think of) than mountainboard companies. With the exception of Trampa, who did mountainboards before electric, these new companies (Apex, Boosted, Evolve, Lacroix, etc – when I googled off-road eboards the list is endless) are not interested in the mountainboard scene, despite them building boards.

So, what can we actually do as a cliquey little family to open the doors and to push the UK scene back to heights it once was? This is surely a slow burning project and collectively as a group we need to reach out for support.

Answers on a postage stamp (if you can afford one these days!) please.

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