Last week was a productive one for surfing's progressive movement, with a rash of ground-breaking acrobatic maneuvers being stuck all across the globe, each netting its own unique result. Things got started in Sumatra, where South Africa's Jordy Smith, the second-year world tour star, was busy filming with the Red Bull crew and enjoying his break in the contest schedule. Smith is no stranger to high-flying aerial variations, but the Rodeo Clown he pulled in the afternoon at Macaronis last week was immediatly being hailed as the best ever executed. It even managed to impress Smith (see below.)
Word had apparently traveled fast, because days later San Clemente's Pat Gudauskas pulled the same move a few island chains over, in the Maldives. The only difference being Gudauskas pulled his while in a competition, which was a first in ASP history. Not content with that, apparently, Gudauskas pulled another one in the Final while trying to claw his way back into contention for the SriLankan Airlines Pro title. Alas, his incredible performance still wasn't enough, because Australian acrobat Owen Wright was averaging ridiculous amounts of hang time in each heat. Wright has now siezed control of the WQS rankings with his very agile aerial antics.
This is undoubtedly a sign of things to come, as the pro surfing world braces itself for the inevitable post-Slater era, which could technically begin in roughly ten days, when the Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro waiting period begins. Slater has made no secret of the fact that he's not likely to show up. His three lackluster results this year have essentially put him out of world title contention. Naturally, anyone with skin in the pro surfing game will be missing Slater's irreplaceable presence. Pro surfing is facing enough serious headwinds without his departure. Hardcore fans are hoping Rodeo Flips and their high-altitude derivatives can do for surfing what the three-pointer did for the NBA, and what steroids did for baseball (hey, it was still fun to watch before we knew for sure.)
On day two of my New York adventure, it was time to go Back to the Banks. This is the event I was looking forward to the most of this past NYC skate weekend. The Brooklyn Banks are just such a rad place. They've been a legendary skate spot forever, and the actual banks have withstood numerous renovation threats from the city. Even though the place has changed over the years due to construction, the heart is still there, and will always be there, thanks to the NYC skate warlords that protect them.
One in particular is 5 Boro founder, NYC skate legend and Brooklyn Banks protector, Steve Rodriguez. He's been able to have the place turned into an actual skate park, free from the greedy hands of developers. Steve also is the man behind the Back to the Banks contest, so stay tuned for an interview with him about 5 Boro, The Banks and NYC skateboarding in general.
Alright, back to the contest. It goes like this: four obstacles, four winners, one overall winner and five $2,000 cash prizes. The obstacles are as follows: bank to wall, bank to ledge, bump to spine and the rail. In the end it was just a super stoney kind of day, with all but one of the cash prizes going to a Volcom rider. Huntington Beach's own, Colin Provost, was the most consistent spot killer, and the overall winner. Willy Akers slayed the actual banks so hard he took home both the bank to ledge, and bank to wall. Then on to the none bank sections, Chris Blake won on the rail, and David Gonzales took it on the bump to spine.
Like always, it was a great event, it seemed like the whole damn NYC skate scene was there. The kids had a great time, the adults had a great time and the bums had a great time. It seemed like the only ones not having a great time were the bicycle riders, who having a tough time getting through the crowd.
Here's some shots from the day most taken by me, except the three labeled Remy Stratton:
Colin Provost with a noseblunt on the bump to spine.
Colin with the Southern Californian mean mug after sticking the blunt.
Neckface and Braden Szafranski getting their bank on.
Steve Rodriguez pumping everyone up.
David Gonzalez getting his blunt on. Photo: Remy Stratton.
David amped after sticking it.
Willy Akers ruling the actual banks. Photo: Remy Stratton.
Colin with a f/s 3 over the rail. Photo: Remy Stratton.
The man behind some of these shots, Remy Stratton, and an injured, Caswell Berry.
Mark Nardelli was pumped on how it went down.
So was Felix Arguelles.
And so was Billy Rohan.
Of course Reda was there.
A statue of George Washington on the walk back to Kadillac's place.
And George's camel toe.
The banks are directly under the Brooklyn Bridge, hence the name the Brooklyn Banks,
even though they're technically in Manhattan.
The 10th stop of the Cricket Campus Rail Jam Tour looked sicker than
ever. Held at UCSD in La Jolla, tons of kids came out to support their
local shredders. As the sun set, everyone continued slayin' it while
the Galvanic Design crew got some awesome night shots of the riders
hitting their set up. The last stop before the Portland finals is at
Oregon State this Thursday, May 21st.
Folow up story courtesy of Taylor Murray:
With 70-degree weather, Red Bull flowing, and Swine Flu in the air, the conditions were perfect for the rare breed of shredding that is the Cricket Campus Rail Jam Tour.
Mother nature was able to sit back and rest as the crew brought in a
massive ' margarita maker' to blow 25 tons of pearly white flakes onto
the setup. By the time the machine was near finished grinding the huge
ice blocks, a massive sea of people had already gathered around the
setup to peep the scene and get their photo taken at the ELM company booth. Cricket Wireless was giving away tons of free shirts and stoking out the crowd. Big ups to Cricket for making it happen!
60 local shreds came out to terrorize the rails and throw down for
their shot at some skrill and assorted products from all the fine
sponsors. Knife Show' (TM)s
own Casey Wrightsman took home the win for the men' (TM)s snowboard division
and walked away with the cash and an invite to the Portland finals.
Second place finisher, Colt Morgan, flew down from Tahoe just to
qualify for the finals, and that he did! Colt also walked away with a
crisp new Omatic board to beat all the babes off him. Eric Singer is no stranger to the Tour, and finished in third with some Skullcandy gear.
As for the ladies, Nirvana Ortanez took home the W and the infamous
jackalope trophy. So sick. Monica Thatcher finished in second and got a
ticket to the finals. Congrats ladies!
Let' (TM)s talk about some skiing. The San Diego skiers are some burly
dudes, they simply don' (TM)t give up. Bloody gashes, smashed limbs, no big
deal. The two plankers put on a great show for all the UCSD students
and walked away with big smiles despite their injuries. Andrew McDowell
stole the judges' (TM) hearts and scooped up some cash and a first place
spot on the podium. Robert Thorpe came in a close second and took home
some killer Boone
skis after getting wild on the Red Bull box. Lars Johnsgard Jensen
rounded out the pack in third and was rewarded with some sick Spyder outerwear and an invite to the Portland finals on May 30th!
When the sun had set and the winners had been crowned, the crew got
their hands dirty and tore down the setup in record time to make it to
the after party in Pacific Beach. 50 shred rats in a bar full of bros
always makes for a good/interesting time. Now that UCSD is in the
books, the Cricket Campus Rail Jam Tour
is back in Oregon to host one more event on their home turf, before the
final showdown in downtown Portland on Saturday, May 30th. Keep your
eyes peeled on www.campusrailjamtour.com for a live webcast from REELcomp!
As if falling out of a plane several thousand feet above the ground isn't enough of a rush, 44 year old Russian Skydiver Valery Rozov decided to jump into an active Volcano last weekend. Rozov strapped on his wingsuit and jumped out of a helicopter in to the active Mutnovsky Volcano on Russia's Kamachatka Peninsula. But the really crazy part was in order to maximize the thrill he waited until he'd fallen inside the crater before pulling his parachute. Highlighting his pinpoint accuracy, Rozov landed on a sheet of ice in the middle of the simmering crater.
Yo! Hope the weekend was fine. It's pretty toasty in Orlando these days, so it's been unreal on the lake. Another little side to shredding wake has been finding waves on the East coast. There has been nothing to complain about as of late with the surf sessions we've all found time to fit in. Living the Florida dream I guess.
This past weekend Red Bull invited the local collegiate shredders out to OWC for a weekend of debauchery. Colleges from around the area brought their wake teams out to learn to ride, compete, or just be mellow (or the opposite actually) with the Bull. I headed out there yesterday to catch a glimpse of the best trick contest. Best trick of the OWC kicker was hooked up with JD's 2009 setup. I know that when I was in college, this would have been like winning the lottery. Not that you'd want to sell it, but if you did, you could get a lot of ramen and beer with it. Aside from the best trick contest, there was something for all, volleyball, food, energy, girls, boys, and of course, Red Bull riders.
PLEASE check out the photos for the full recap.