On the first weekend of June, the Dogg crew took to the skies, departing from familiar England and heading across to Northern Ireland for the first in a long line of Dogg academies to be held there! On this mission, we teamed up with ScootGB to hold a double whammy event at our host park for the weekend, the Ramp Yard in Belfast.
As soon as we arrived in Northern Ireland, we received our first taste of Northern Irish hospitality as the Ramp Yard crew were on hand to collect us from the airport, ferrying us back into the city to begin event preparation. With the Ramp Yard being a fairly compact skatepark, this was achieved quickly, and we even managed to squeeze in a quick session before heading back to the hotel for a well-deserved rest.
The first day of the event came around quickly, and we kicked off our Saturday with the Dogg Academy. This saw riders turn out from all around Belfast and the surrounding areas, including a few intrepid riders making the journey up from Ireland in the South.
With all the riders in attendance, we got things underway, starting off as usual with the under 13s before switching over to the 13+ participants. It’s safe to say that the Ramp Yard is a place full of talent, and this was showcased non-stop by both age groups on the day. Bangers were not uncommon, and trick variation was high, making it extremely difficult to judge!
The under 13s showcased some incredibly consistent runs, with kickless rewinds, bri flip drop-ins, rapid tail whip combos, and big gaps among the highlights.
The over 13s then stepped in to back up the juniors, hammering their home park with flowy lines, impressive overheads, a selection of stunning flips, and everything in between!
Despite the judging difficulties, we eventually managed to pin down a podium for each group, with the one and only Sam Dugan securing that coveted first-place spot and a place on the Dogg Scooters Academy team! You can see the full podium list below:
1st – Teddie Braniff
2nd – Leo Braniff
3rd – Robbie Kennedy
1st – Sam Dugan
2nd – Marshall McConnell
3rd – Antoni Gorgol
Usually, this would be where things end; however, this time around we had teamed up with ScootGB to bring the national qualification series to Northern Ireland. That meant there was yet another day of competition yet to come, with this event offering the chance to qualify for a place in the UK championships finals, which would be taking place later in the year at Adrenaline Alley skatepark, Corby!
Sunday came around all too quickly, but the ScootGB guys were as prepared as ever to get things underway for the Northern Irish leg of their series.
Once again, we witnessed an excellent turnout, with riders turning out from all over Northern Ireland and, once again, coming up from Ireland in the South to join the contest.
For those of you not aware of ScootGB, their series operates a little differently from the Dogg Academy, with more categories open to further split riders into age and ability. This helps to encourage newer riders to get involved in competition while also catering to those with more experience, working all the way up to PRO/Elite level, in which riders compete at the highest level to qualify for their chance to become the undisputed UK champion.
As with the previous day, ScootGB kicked off with the youngest category, in this case, the 8 & Under Novice riders, and progressed through to PRO/Elite toward the end of the day.
Each category performed extremely well, with many cases of riders being judged fractions
of points apart! This made for a very interesting event, and the crowd was buzzing from the start to the very end, showing the same amount of hype for the grassroots riders as they did for the PROs, a great atmosphere for sure.
As always, though, the PRO category was highly anticipated, quite possibly in part due to the fact that recently crowned Dogg rider and local legend, Sam Dugan, was about to step into the PRO category for the very first time. There was a lot of anticipation surrounding Sam’s runs, as we knew he had something planned… It wasn’t long before we found out just what that was.
Sam performed 2 exceptional runs, utilizing every corner of the skatepark to perform something insane, combining technical tricks such as a hitching post salad with overheads, flips, and all manner of whip tricks to secure a well-deserved victory, marking his first-ever PRO competition and first comp as an active Dogg rider with the color gold! (Full ScootGB results can be found on their website).
With the day's proceedings over, the riders celebrated and prepared to head home to wherever that may be.
Both the Dogg and ScootGB crews made their preparations to head home too, but not before thanking the Ramp Yard team for their hospitality and hard work, which made the weekend the success that it was. Plans are certainly being made to return to Belfast and the Ramp Yard in 2024, and if this year's event is anything to go by, you’ll not want to miss it, so watch this space and be sure to hit up some other Dogg/ScootGB events in the meantime!