The day began with a few runs between the festival in the freestyle carpool I seemed to be operating, welcoming Matt Smithies, Matt Cheeseworth and 2011 World Champion Stefan “Lillis” Akesson into the car. Loaded up with camera equipment and a multitude of skateboards, we arrived at the festival to find that our event had moved.
The initial spot for the contest had been based in a Warehouse on the main strip of the festival, but having skated it yesterday, areas of the floor were uneven and, at times, quite slippy. Thankfully, with a lot of hard work from Darran Nolan and Callum Bowran, the event was moved to an outdoor spot near the shopping village: A prime location with a lot of passing traffic, a more even surface and, most importantly, a spot in the glorious sunshine.
Event organiser Matt Smithies gathered together the freestyle riders for a meeting in the early afternoon, explaining that as we were no longer constricted by time restraints as we had been in the warehouse, we no longer required qualifying as everyone could skate the full contest. This being the case, a full on demo got underway.
There was so much incredible skating it’s hard to know where to start! One of the first riders to jump out at me was Marius Constantin, Romania’s sole competitive freestyler, who has done a lot to support freestyle in his country and has only continued to get better. He amazed the crowds with his smooth coco wheelies and consistent flowing freestyle. Simon Mrozinski, one of the judging panel who arrived at the event in the morning, has only continued to progress since we last skated, landing perfect Rail handstand flips and TV Stands.
The amateur skaters of the contest amazed the crowd, often shocked when they heard that these guys were not professional! All of the pros absolutely smashed the demo, John Hanson, Lillis, Albert Kuncz and Christian Heise skating hard and impressing the crowd. In the end, it came down to a two man demo with Gunter Mokulys and Sebastian Heupel. The crowd went crazy for their tech tricks and lightning fast footwork, urged on by Callum Bowran on the mic.
As the demo drew to a close the freestylers went to chill out in the camp grounds and relax for tomorrow’s event. I, along with Matt Cheeseworth and Lillis went to see Hadouken performing on the main stage, who managed to whip the crowd into a frenzy.
A brief visit to the Pro Park to see Mirei Tsuchida and John Hanson, showing that freestylers can smash a skatepark too, brought the day to a close and welcomed a long night of editing and rest for the big day tomorrow!