Rich Parker – Xtreme Inline openAll News
…The event was the first of its kind for a while in the UK, holding contests in both park and vert. It was great to see so many rollerbladers turn out for the contest, some of the top UK riders made the trip along with a few international guys. We even had rollerblading legend Toto Ghali come over as head judge alongside another of our sports finest, Jenna Downing.
The day started with the open/amateur vert contest, for many in this event it was their first experience of competition. The top three guys held it together well with Sam B-C cruising around the ramp nicely with a mix of airs, grinds and spins/flips to take the win over Zach Dean in 2nd and Nathan Carr in 3rd.
The open/amateur park contest had a really good turn out and a high level of skating. Danny Brain was hucking some big tricks including a flatspin 540 transfer from a spine to the back of a volcano, but had trouble staying on his feet, so didn’t manage to podium. Mark Andrews put down some solid skating and clean 540s over the big jump box which was enough to take silver, but even he couldn’t quite match the flow and style of James Bower who really made his mark on the course earning him 1st place.
The expert/pro vert contest ran in a jam style format with skaters being judged on the overall impression which they made on the session. There was a lot of talent and it was good to see the UK guys out in force. British vert veteran Doug Peel-Yates was able to put in some clean stylish runs… even more impressive due to his mere 3 hours sleep the previous night. Alex Eastwood was powerful as ever, but unfortunately lacked consistency when it counted. My brother, Rob Parker, was able to turn back the clock and bring some of his old tricks out of retirement, pulling a fakie 900 second go after having not tried one for two and a half years! However, this was not enough to take the 3rd position away from the stylish Italian rider, Davide Giannoni, who mixed it up in the air and threw some hammers on the coping with his soul to switch truespin mizue. The silver medal went to Pavel Mitrenga from Bulgaria, who was flying high and also had clean flatspin 540s and big mctwist 900s. Thankfully for me, I was just able to edge my way into first place with the help of some flatspin 900s and a straight spin 1080. A special mention has to go out to Rob Pruett who smashed himself up during the vert contest by attempting a huge drop in from the girders 8ft above the deck, ever the warrior, he picked himself, gave it another try and was able to stick it second try, unfortunately he had already done enough damage to take himself out of the park contest.
As the last event of the day arrived the excitement level was high as we had all seen the guys practising for the expert/pro park contest and knew that things were going to get crazy! After two preliminary heats the judges managed to whittle it down to six of the best. Jack Swindle was flipping and spinning all over the place sticking 900s over the box and misty flips over just about everything else! Adz Naz skated at the high level we have come to expect from him, grinding all the way down the escalator quarter transferring to land in the transition of the judges ramp and did enough to place himself firmly on the podium in 3rd place. It came down to a battle between two of the Uk’s best for 1st place. Blake Bird and Steve Swain were going back and forth nailing trick after trick. Steve was going huge as always but stunned everyone when he pulled a massive 720 transfer out of the vert ramp to land fakie in the bowl. Even that wasn’t quite enough to grab the gold from Blake Bird who skated with a lot of energy and had very well thought out lines packed with back to back tricks. Blake took a royal all the way down the huge free standing rail at the back of the park, transferring to land in the vert quarter, then hit a super stylish fast tap 540 over the box. His gold medal was secured during the jam portion of the finals after pulling a disaster truespin alleyoop makio on the sub-box. It was a great way to wrap up the event, congratulations to all of the podium finishers of the day.
Thanks to Chewits Xtreme for backing the event and making it possible, Creation Skatepark for hosting the event, Locoskates.com and Animation Bearings for supporting. Also thanks to everyone who helped out, Rob, Alex, Amy and Jess and of course to the judges Toto and Jenna. It was great to see such a high level of skating…hopefully everyone will be back to make the next event even bigger.