For the last few years, Eastbourne on the south coast has been holding a long weekend event called Eastbourne Extreme. It’s usually in July, is based on the beach area, and is themed land, sea, and air.
The set up time is surprisingly quick, with stalls and attractions arriving only on the Friday. The Council has been preparing itself in its own ways for months, but stall holders and activities only have a limited time.
I can only go by the 2015 weekend, and will start by describing the land activities. Zero Gravity is a bike display team. There are usually four of them, and they wow the crowds with the way they are able to manipulate their bikes in so many ways. Freestyle mountain bike riding in the extreme, all sorts of surprising ways to make a bike so things you didn’t think it was designed to do. Great banter between the riders and the commentator.
But that’s not all the cycle activity. MBE’s display is based around their 6ft x 10ft ramp, and I wondered how they managed to do what they did, some of the manoeuvres have special names which were incomprehensible to me.
Also on land, there is a display of vintage VW camper vans, always associated with the Beach Boys, surf boards on the top, and never raining. Very expensive vehicles these days, starting in excess of £5k just for something moderate, and five times that for top of the range. They are parked up for the weekend, bright colours with chrome gleaming.
Regrettably I didn’t get around to seeing the roller derby tournament, so can only go by what I have read and heard. This is the only event of its like in Europe, and consists of mainly ladies involved in roller skating activities. They are based here in Eastbourne, and sponsored by local Sk8school. They have been going for over twenty years, and are frequently seen along the seafront in good weather.
Many times over the years when I have been sitting on the lower sea wall I have seen roller skaters along the flat promenade. They whizz past, with the four miles great for them to try out different manoeuvres at varying speeds. Whoosh, they are gone, always mindful of pedestrians, dogs, pensioners, arriving at the turn around area at the bottom of Beachy Head without pausing, to return. How they manage it without getting out of breath I just don’t know, but I suppose they are young and fit. They are also responsible, you never hear of accidents.
The vast majority of the Extreme weekend activities are in a designated area a mile or so to the east of the pier, on the seafront, in car parks, off road, beach, or on the sea. A year round activity is opposite Princes Park in a building occupied by Spray Water Sports. This is mainly training for kids, sail boards, kayaking, windsurfing, that kind of thing. The lifeguards are on display, hunky bodies for the ladies, demonstrating their skills. Not short of volunteers to be saved.
Also on land are those strange contraptions where the person lies down on nothing more than the size of a surfboard, wheel on each corner, and a sail on the top. They go as fast as they can. Incomprehensible to me, but there is almost always sufficient wind in Eastbourne to indulge successfully.
This is just a taster of what is on offer. The weekend is full of activities, not all reliant on decent weather. The Extreme weekend is organised by the events team at Eastbourne Borough Council, it is mainly free to attend, and this year 2016 is planned for 16th and 17th July. Thousands of people come to this very successful event from so many places, with the stallholders paying reasonable sums to participate. It’s a great place to showcase if you are fit, healthy, young, sporty, it’s also a great weekend to visit if you are any of these. Plenty of local camp sites, especially in Pevensey Bay, as well as small B&Bs, self catering, and places to eat.