Previous World Champions – Check
Upcoming Amateur Talent – Check
Rarely Spotted Contest Skaters – Check
Genuine Freestyle Legend – Big Check
With riders signed up from 9 countries, the contest is truly set to have one of the most diverse line ups with any rider being able to take home the championship. So just what is it that draws people to this contest and who are the hotly tipped riders we can’t wait to see?
Taking place between the 17th and 20th of May, The World Round Up returns to the Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair. It’s a well polished affair from the team working behind it to the surface skated upon being top notch.
The World Round up utilises a battle style format as opposed to the standard two minute run set up. Riders are grouped into heats of 5 or 6 skaters who will then compete against each other to determine their ordering for the semi finals. Progressing through the semifinals and finals, riders will only have runs one minute in duration, putting more of an emphasis of racking up the hammers in as short a time as possible.
There’s more of an emphasis on technical and consistent skating in this contest that allows some of the lower ranked skaters to really excel and genuinely compete against the best of the best. With Russ Howell leading the judges as well, the results are in safe hands!
With thousands of dollars to be won, it’s a big money affair with the highest prize purse in all of freestyle to date. Contest promoters Kevin Harris, Monty Little and Kai Dunkel have done an amazing job securing sponsors for the event as well, and with AJ Kohn at the mic, it shows organisers are making a great effort to put freestyle on the map.
Last year saw the first world round up contest with riders from 8 countries making their way to Cloverdale to take their chances at the contest. Hotly tipped riders going in to the event were the current and most recent previous world champions Stefan “Lillis” Akesson and Gunter Mokulys. In the amateur division, current world champion Shaun Gladwell was also on site and favoured for the title.
Anyone who’s seen any videos of the contest will know that some amazing tricks went down, some never before seen in a contest run. In the end though, the contest was taken by Darryl Grogan, who put down a near perfect run with a great mix of classic freestyle tricks and a medley of streetstyle-enthused combos. Not far behind him, Gunter Mokulys and Rene Shigueto followed up in second and third respectively.
In the Am division it was a close call between the top three, Shaun Gladwell taking the win followed by Ryan Brynelson and Takeshi Suzuki; two riders who are truly up and coming in the freestyle community. Kevin Harris and Kilian Martin were also on site, putting together a great demo for the crowd.
The Riders This Year
It’s difficult deciding where to start with this years World Round Up competitor list, but in the name of journalistic integrity, I’m going to discuss the riders I’m most psyched to see first…
Masahiro and Toshiaki Fuji will be attending the event, the first event outside of Japan they will have attended for a long time. Putting down a great selection of technical and stylish tricks for over a decade, these two riders are great ambassadors for freestyle and with their super fast streetstyle tricks, they are both genuine competitors for the title.
Top ranking freestylers returning to the event include Gunter Mokulys, Stefan “Lillis” Akesson, Rene Shigueto, Per Cangeru and Darryl Grogan, and it would be foolish to rule any of these guys out. We’re also guaranteed to see some great skating from all of them and it will be great to see what new moves they’ll have brought over from last year.
Veteran Freestyler and, for many, one of the first freestylers seen by many, Lynn Cooper will be competing at the event. Lynn has a smooth style and knows how to amp up a crowd so he’s definitely one to look out for. Fresh from winning just about every amateur contest in Japan and putting out some amazing video parts, Seya Nakano will also be at the event in one of his first Pro contests, and definitely one to look out for.
Interesting entries for me include Darran Nolan and Dan Garb, two freestylers who are a strong part of the freestyle community with some incredible and unique tricks but rarely actually enter contests. These guys are certain to lay down some amazing tricks, so keep an eye out for them!
The World Round-Up
I could ramble on for hours about the World Round Up but ultimately, my feelings can be summed up like this: This will be an incredible contest! If you can, get yourself to the Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair and take in what will truly be one of the greatest freestyle contests for many years.
Photography from Jim Goodrich (About Jim)