The summer of 2016 brought us some truly incredible freestyle from across the globe, with major contests in Canada, Germany, Sweden and, to a lesser extent, the UK. The good weather has also welcomed a plethora of high quality and unique video parts, including one from the man himself, Rodney Mullen.
The World Round Up
The World’s largest and most prestigious freestyle contest returned to the Cloverdale Rodeo once more, welcoming over 50 of the top freestylers from across the globe; it’s highest turn out to date. In a glorious week-long celebration of freestyle skateboarding, skaters took part in demos and jams across the town, building up to one of the most closely-fought and intense freestyle contests for many years.
Once everyone had made it past their jetlag and the qualification stages, the semi-finals were underway; and the standard of skating was just superb. In the amateur contest, there was no clear winner amongst the top five, with the Canadian, Brazilian and American freestylers putting together relentless performances, Andy Anderson edging into the top spot going into the finals.
The Pro semi-finals were of a truly incredible standard, with the top five freestylers all putting together perfect runs; any of which was deserving of a contest victory. Isamu Yamamoto took first place in the semi-finals with three perfectly executed and technically brilliant routines; the last of which has since gone viral across Facebook due to its spectacular quality.
In the amateur finals, the runs were stepped up once more, with a beat-perfect performance from Marcio Torres, stylish performances from Diego Pires and Kaue Araujo and a well-rounded, solid run from Andy Anderson, who was ultimately crowned the victor for the second year running.
In the Pro finals, the standard had slipped from the previous day for most riders, which was possibly due to the change from one minute runs to one and a half minute runs. The contest was again incredibly close, with Gunter Mokulys, who had experienced a few falls in the semi-finals, climbing back up to compete for the top spot.
Mike Osterman’s run flowed perfectly with his choice of music and was a delight to watch, earning him third place. Isamu Yamamoto was looking set to win the contest but stepped off on his last trick, which may have been the deciding factor; although this can’t take anything away from a powerful, amazing performance from Connor Burke, who took the win at his first visit to the World Round Up.
Paderborn BBQ Skateboard Contest
The freestyle contest in Paderborn, the longest ever running contest of its type, returned once more, welcoming the top freestylers from across Europe; plus one from Brazil! The weather was exceptionally warm across the weekend, with temperatures over 30C during the contest and high humidity. This had a minor effect on some of the performances but by no means was this contest lacking in talent.
In the amateur division, Christian Muller immediately put together a solid ‘old school’ performance, taking third place. Robert Wagner mixed creativity and technical ability to earn second place for the second year in a row. The top spot was shared by Kaue Araujo, who skated the contest as part of his European tour, and Danial Adam, who placed last in the 2015 contest and has come an exceptionally long way in a short time.
Many of the regular Paderborn pros, including Mario Steinemann, Marco Sassi and Sebastian Heupel, missed out on this year’s event, which was still heavily populated with new, upcoming pros such as Marius Constantin and Felix Jonsson. Tony Gale skated fast and hard with two powerful performances to take third place. Christian Heise’s beautifully crafted and stylish routines earned him second place with Gunter Mokulys, the master of freestyle, taking yet another contest win with two solid runs.
The UK Round Up
The best-worst freestyle contest in the world, ever, returned to the windy, slightly uneven Redbridge cycling track for its second shambolic year. Taking place just after Paderborn, the contest saw a lower than expected turnout but welcomed new freestylers into the wider community.
In the contest, which was accompanied by the worst soundtrack in freestyle contest history, third place miraculously went to Alex Foster (myself, I hate talking in the third person), with newcomer Alex Thomson taking second place with a stylish performance in his first ever contest. Tony Gale took first place with typically powerful runs, with a rare mix of rolling and stationary tricks. Best trick was won by Reece Archibald with a 360 drop fingerflip to casper, 360 shove it lateflip out
Stockholm Freestyle Contest
In celebration of the classic Swedish Summercamps of the 80s, a skate contest was arranged at the spectacular Highvalley skatepark in Stockholm, featuring many legends of the sport, bowl, ditch, slalom and freestyle contests.
Taking place at Europe’s only dedicated freestyle skating area, complete with a perfect surface and spectator area, the contest welcomed 8 pro/am freestylers and 7 legends, with additional appearances from Per Welinder, Steve Caballero and Mike McGill. Fresh from his victory in Paderborn, Gunter Mokulys took third place with a typically strong run, with Kaue Araujo, making the move from amateur to professional, taking second place.
Despite slamming in a ditch prior to the contest and breaking his elbow, Tony Gale managed to take the win in Sweden, skating through the pain and committing to fast, difficult tricks. In the legends contest, Hans Puttis Jacobbson took third, with Eric Schader in second and the unstoppable Yoyo Schulz in first.
When considering just how large a country the USA is, it’s always refreshing to see so many freestylers gathering in a single location for a contest. Though many of the usual American crowd were unable to attend, the contest still welcomed 19 entrants from across the country.
In the amateur contest, John Sargent returned once more to take third place, with the up and coming Brandon Ross ahead of him in second and Evan Breder in first, skating powerfully with a streetstyle infused performance. The masters division was spectacular to behold, welcoming a wealth of familiar freestylers. Rodney Watkins took third place, with Michael Kinney in second and the unstoppable Tim Morris in first.
This year’s pro contest welcomed several of the amateur freestylers who made the jump up a division, including Daniel Trujillo and Derek Elliott. With solid runs all round, Jacob Whitt took third place, Derek Elliot, who has pro-level combos down already, took second, with Sweden’s latest professional freestyler Felix Jonsson earning a well-deserved first place.
Old School Contest 2016 – Brazil
The first Brazilian freestyle contest since the Big Rio Contest in January, the Old School Contest welcomed 5 professional and 8 master freestylers from across Brazil. Though we’re still waiting for footage to emerge, it’s no surprise that the top spots in both divisions were held by two of Brazil’s most successful contest skaters.
In the masters division, Paulo Folha Citrangulo took third, with Edmar Marroca in second and Rogerio Antigo in first. In the professional contest, Marcos Toshiro earned third place, with Isnard Rocha in second and Matheus Navarro in first.
All Japan Freestyle Contest 2016
One of the real highlights of the freestyle year, the All Japan Freestyle action brings together Japan’s finest amateurs, legends, girls and professionals for one of the most exciting and closely fought contests of the year.
The first day of the contest saw the senior and amateur contest, with riders of all ages, the oldest of whom was 59 and still shredding! In the senior contest, Kunio Kobayashi took 3rd place, even making a TV Stand in his routine, with Toshiyuki Marumo in second and 54 year old Katsutoshi Akiyama in first.
In the amateur contest, third place went to Hayakawa SoFutoshi, second place was taken by Kojima Hayato with the victory going to Yuta Fujii – continuing in the fine tradition of his famous freestyling family! The girls contest took place the following day despite the poor weather that had resulted in the 360 spin contest being cancelled. Yuri Nagahisa took third place, with Mirei Tsuchida in second and the young Kotori Ishida taking first place; at 8 years old, surely one of the youngest freestyle contest winners of all time!
The following weekend saw the much anticipated head-to-head freestyle contest, with 11 of Japans top professional freestylers, plus the amateur and senior contest winners, Mirei Tsuchida who took the place of Kotori Shida, Bert Mathieson and Lillis.
Following in the footsteps of Isamu Yamamoto before him, Yuta Fujii, the amateur contest winner, climbed the ranks right up to the semi-finals, taking fourth place, with Toshiaki Fujii in first. The final came down to the incredible Masahiro Fujii and Moichi Suzuki, with Masahiro ultimately being crowned the victor.