September saw the second Euro Freestyle contest in the picturesque town of Brandeberg an der Havel, Germany. Christian Heise and co have been hard at work prepping for this years contest since 2019’s European Freestyle Championship, and in a year that has had not much else going on, we can’t understate our gratitude for their efforts.
Two UK competitors made it out of Manchester ahead of tightened covid restrictions to make the trip over – Never Enough rider Reece Archibald and Alex Foster of Late Tricks. If you’ve been watching the contest runs on YouTube, then you have Alex to thank for that (more on Alex and Late Tricks in a future post).
Reece could not make it to 2019’s Euro’s due to ongoing illness, and was sorely missed by all. Reece is an absolute blast to skate with and always brings the stoke, that’s why we couldn’t have been more pleased to find out that he had placed first in the Pro Division. Were I talented in the art of writing I would tell you the story of Reece’s triumphant return to the contest circuit, to take gold in the European Freestyle Championships! But alas, I am not. Instead I caught up with Reece after he took some well deserved time off, and this is what he had to say…
“Incredible contest with incredible skaters. Thank you to everyone in the community who reached out from last year to this year to get me rolling back. What I’m most thankful for is that not only my normal body was back but skateboarding was too. Regardless of placement I knew skateboarding would be with me before and afterwards.
The true free beings of the style please just keep doing what your doing, but push harder. There may be a point you’ll be unable to do it physically and you’ll honestly miss it crazy.
In short I was off the board for 6 months due to undiscovered diabetes type 1. For around 3 months I was almost entirely immobilised and required family and friends to do a bunch of stuff for me.
From October I had a stabbing pain in my abdomen and a range of problems with my organs. Which was eventually confirmed diabetic nerve pain from high blood sugars.
Frequent hospital visits, scans, operations, medications I grew used to. Just getting up and sitting for half the day was progress. I was drowning in a world of pain and misery on so many levels that my body and soul felt constantly under distress. Skateboarding felt impossible.
On regular nerve and bowel medication I was phasing back into work. I had lost about 15kg of weight and my concentration was wack. When it came to skating with the pain my muscles were so wasted that things didn’t spin, and everything hurt afterwards.
I didn’t know I was diabetic until mid may. For a couple of weeks I had been vomiting, having ice cold showers, getting lost and couldn’t quench my first. I ordered up a glucose machine and found my readings were through the roof. I was placed in a resus bed for a DKA. A DKA happens when your blood sugar is very high and acidic substances called ketones build up to dangerous levels in your body
I was hospitalised for 3 days. I kind of know the checkpoints to get out early. The whole experience was awful but incredible. I’m continually learning about the condition and lifestyle. A lot of mixed emotions and time thinking about it all but making steady progress.”