From a small village in the leafy hills of England, Chris Wilson has been taking the stringing world by storm! Having won both the String League and Inside Lacrosse’s TLF Stringing Comp this year, he is well on his way to becoming one of the most accomplished and well-known stringers in the world.
We caught up with Chris to gain an insight into his stringing past, his String League featured pocket and what motivates him to help grow the game.
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LAS: How did it all get started, Chris?
Wilson: I have been playing lacrosse and stringing sticks for almost 18 years. I started out playing with traditional sticks and this is where my passion began. My first sticks were a Brine Edge and an STX Proton (you may say they are now “OGs”), both strung with 6 diamond traditional pockets. I learned to look after them and maintain pockets from an early age, which gave me a great understanding of how they are constructed and strung.
(Editor’s note: the pics above are of the Nike Lakota head Chris strung up for a LaxAllStars giveaway this week. Enter to win by midnight next Wednesday 6/17.)
Stringing is a passion for me and something I really enjoy. I’m regularly restringing mesh pockets and with the recent resurgence of interest in traditional pockets, more and more players are looking for high level professional quality craftsmanship, as well as sometimes giving it ago themselves! It’s great to see this, even on a small scale here in the UK and Europe!
Tell us about your String League experience!
Being part of String League this year has been a fantastic experience, with each week pushing the boundaries of stringing in different directions, from classic traditional pockets to those using household materials!
The competition was based on a range of skills, not just technical experience; thinking outside the box, creativity, video skills and plenty of wall ball were the requirements! I would like to thank all the sponsors for their input and great prizes each week: LaxAllStars.com, Encore Brand, Jimalax, East Coast Dyes, Throne of String, Stylin’ Strings, The Lacrosse Network and STX.
So what’s the deal with the Hawk Pocket?
As part of winning the grand prize, Stylin’ Strings has generously offered to feature a pocket of my choice on their website for a year, so that players all over the world can also enjoy my work!
I’ve chosen the Hawk Pocket, as it’s my all-time favorite. As you can see from the photos, it provides the hold of a large diamond pocket and the smooth release of a small diamond pocket, it is lightweight and can be easily adapted to any head and pocket placement. Not only is it incredibly functional, but it also looks fantastic too!
The original concept, and name, for the Hawk Pocket was developed by stringing great Matt Simpson. I’ve been stringing the Hawk Pocket for a few years now, tweaking and shaping it into what it is today!
Check out Stylin’ Strings website in the near future to pick up your Hawk Pocket!
How do you get your hands on materials in the UK?
I would like to say a huge thank you to Northern Soul Sportswear, who are the leading lacrosse retailer here in the UK, for providing the Nike Lakota featured above for the #LASGiveaway and the endless supply of materials I use to hone my stringing skills!
Traditional stringing can only really be perfected through practice, trial and error. Being able to understand what you are stringing and how each and every part of a pocket works and the impact it has on your game, allows you to create better performing and longer lasting pockets!
Northern Soul, based in Manchester England, is staffed entirely by coaches, players and referees who know the game, equipment and exactly what players are looking for.
With possibly the largest lacrosse showroom in Europe (retailing the widest selection of gear in the UK from STX, Nike, Warrior, Brine, deBeer, Cascade, Maverik, Epoch, East Coast Dyes, StringKing, Redline, Wolf Athletics, Adrenaline, DRG and Cliff Keen, to name a few!), Northern Soul has been a lax cave of treasure for me and is certainly a magnet for players from across the UK and Europe.
Being able to talk to people, provide a personal service and build an understanding of exactly what players are looking for is an ethos that Northern Soul and I share in common to help grow the game.
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Chris’s work is impressive to say the least and winning an international stringing competition representing the UK was no easy feat, so make sure you follow Chris on Instagram and on Facebook and find is work on the Northern Soul Instagram and Facebook page too!