Twist and Deliver – a review of the Streetboard Park World Championships.
– Words by Jay Nowman
– Photos by standart
On the longer than planned drive across Europe, to the 2015 World Streetboard Championships at Dudelange on Wheels, I asked myself “Who’s going to win park”. I imagined the runs, and the only serious contenders I foolishly thought would be one of those who have dominated the sport over the last decade, Max Anderson, Sergi Nicolas, or Gabi Muñoz. In the other two disciplines, vert and Mini ramp I would definitely bring in Thomas Kienle (Dimension Streetboards, British Knights, Ositos, Kiste Bearings) to the mix.
Things started as planned with my chosen ones showing their experience and qualifying for the finals in the above order. It looked like it would be a close one between Max Anderson (Gazpacho, Kiste Bearings and True Skool Rider) and Sergi Nicolas (British Knights, Ennui, Outdoor Tech, Horizon watches , Applecoast , Socksmith, 24 bottles, Dimension Streetboards, Kiste bearings).
Max busted out a perfect run punctuated with rodeos and highlighted by a perfect Misty 720 on the box.
Sergi’s run was a thought out masterpiece, taking in almost every obstacle, with a floated out gap to front board on the rail, switch front feeble and a long wall ride.
However he just slipped out on an otherwise incredibly controlled Cab 900.
Gabi started off with a big transfer, and got super tech with a backside backside 270 to switch lip on the rail. He didn’t quite finish it off when he somehow slipped out on a ridiculous back blunt slide on the big rail.
However, things weren’t quite as the qualifying placings would make it seem.
Two of the new generation of Spanish killers had the tricks, but just hadn’t managed to nail their lines, and they looked like they could push the old guard hard and even spring a surprise.
Rolling into Sunday, and the absolute perfect organisation by Marc Lazzarini and his DOW team (so many thanks guys) couldn’t keep the rain away. Finals were delayed, possibly cancelled, with the heavens opening up and keeping the competitors waiting. As soon as it stopped thanks to the DOW team along with the preceding BMX contest the course was dry to let the boys get high.
I have to shout out to the judges, Colin Horan, Toni Alvarez and Luciano “Milu” Milutin, probably the most qualified team we’ve ever had, who were able to get the scores out seconds after each and every run. It meant each rider knew how hard they had to go to get to the top spot.
We had a heart stopping moment with Antonio Jesús going for a double back, but thankfully he was ok. Simon Johns (Whiteboards & Kiste bearings rider) brought the 50/50 into the modern era by half cabbing into one on the big rail.
Eduard Wojcik (Ositos Streetboard Shop, Upfront Company, Coloud Headphones, Beltiez Originals) impresses me more and more each time I see him ride, but it was when we got to 6th place that it was clear this was going to be a day to be remembered. Eric Brun (Thousand Feet) showed why he is one of the most stylish streetboarders on the planet, and as Gabi Muñoz told me over the event, his videos have helped him shut up any haters. Dropping in heavy and hard floated a huge back 540, but then in each run came what have to be two of the greatest styled out tricks in Streetboarding ever.
In the first he busted a flawless back Crook to Back lip across the kink rail. Then in the second run it was a Back Lip across, pop over the kink to carry on the Back Lip with four to the floor and ride out for the glory. Eric wasn’t finished there by throwing in a cab 270 back lip and then a back 7 to make your eyes water.
If this was any other day, I would have just stopped it there and given it to Eric. However along came his fellow Barcelona citizen, Bernart Pomerol (@gazpachoboards/ @nailedclothing/@dokkeuk/ @rallyflipcap/@stalowclothing) and boy did he twist and deliver with his signature 720 tail grab straight into a 540 on the quarter to bank then kissed the grind box. Back up the big ramp he rolled into a gap to 5050, just a warm up for two final hammers.
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A stomped 450 lip on the down rail before the crescendo; a titanic 360 to back 5050 on the box.
It catapulted him into the lead that no one would come close to touching. He couldn’t top himself in his second run with a bonkers 360 to back 5.0 on the rail.
This, along with the other revelation of 9 year old So-Ga Nakamura who oozes style and has tricks any rider would be chuffed with, represents a true turning point in the sport. Is it the handing over of the baton from the old guard to the new bloods? Well not if my original predicted top three have anything to do with it.
I had a chat with Sergi Nicolas after, where he was looking slightly annoyed with himself for not putting together his run. I reminded him that if it wasn’t for him setting up the Streetboard School in Barcelona all those years ago neither of the top two placers would be riding now, and that’s something to be proud of. To motivate yourself to push harder is one thing, but to inspire a whole generation is another. He agreed, although I could see a determination in his eye to come back heavier next year, which will be a true battle I cannot wait to witness.
As for the other two riders I tipped for the win, Gabi Muñoz and Max Anderson? Well I passed them at the campsite not long after, just catching them saying
“Well I think we better learn some new tricks”
Long live Streetboarding because we now have a future and I can’t wait for it. Bring on 2016.
As well as the volunteers at DOW, Anais, Joanne and Dana for the hospitality and good times and of course all who witnessed the fitness.
Check videos of the contest here.