Winterclash has gradually become the most international rollerblading contest in the world, bringing together over 42 countries for the pure love of blading. For me Winterclash is about seeing old friends and blade family, having a good session on one of the quieter days, and watching first hand some of the craziest shit in the best atmosphere possible.
The Flight School started the weekend off as some of the juniors trained under the wise wings of a few of the best pros in the blading world. This is an amazing opportunity for the next generation to train with some of their idols like Josh Glowicki, Montre Livingston, Scott Quinn and Richie Eisler.
Once the Flight School had graduated, the Park opened to he public and the Thursday night session kicked the weekend off with a bang starting with The Hanglosers Super Bowl contest. Riders including Dominic Bruce, Joe Atkinson, Sam Crofts and Dominik Wagner hyped the crowd as they started skating out of the bowl to stall on back bar including a 360 soul from Joe Atkinson. This made for an interesting highlight (as well as a dented bar). Sam Crofts stole the Super Bowl show with his solid style, busting out an impressive 540 true porn over the bowl corner. Thursday is always a good day for catching up with old friends while enjoying a few token Winterclash beers.
The first day began with everyone queuing for their wristbands, the park started to fill up as the Loco Skates box jam began followed by the Junior, Girl and AM qualifications. Everyone who competes here understands it’s not easy to skate as you experience the pressure of atmosphere in the busy park while trying to get your tricks in safely. Never the less the power of the excited crowd gives the juice needed to push for those extra best tricks and make the Winterclash contest what it is.
The famous Winterclash tradeshow ran alongside the contest all weekend featuring product exhibitions and shops including Kaltik, K2, Phonywoodcam, Locoskates, Borklyn Zoo, Arcena, USD, Kizer, Be-Mag and more. Friday night everyone made their way over to the Blue Collar hotel theatre for the long awaited premier of the Cayenne crews trip to Greece last summer, ‘Delfon Dio’.
The impressive level of skating from the juniors continue to surprise and inspire year after year. The junior-clash is just as exciting as the other categories, they bust out switch ups and don’t let the big boxes and rails get in their way. This year the Girls contest was the most exciting turnout so far, with over 25 riders competing for the Winterclash session and the Queen title. Riders like Mery Munoz, Eve Jovino, Manon Derrien, Grazyna Wratny, Friederike Reisch and many more showed the crowd that the ladies can throw just as big and technical tricks around the park. Seeing how hard the ladies skate but also enjoy the contest is a reminder of how important it is to have fun but also skate hard! After a hard slam, Mery Munoz’s soul to royal on the ledge to rail transfer earned her a well deserved lift to take 1st place this year!
The AM contest was 17 heats long this year drawing in bladers from countries all over the world to compete for a place in an epic final on Saturday. A few memorable moments for me have to be watching local UK boys Dominic Bruce, Joe Harvey and Connaire Skerritt’s creative use of the park during the AM finals.
By the time the Pro contest comes around Saturday evening, everyone is atleast a few beers deep and found a good (or uncomfortable) spot to watch the contest. You’ll have already seen from edits like Cavin Le Macon’s that pros such as Anthony Pottier, Yuto Guto, Montre Livingston, Nicolas Servy, Dano Gorman, Danny Aldridge, Dominik Wagner, David Sizemore, Joe Atkinson and Tomek Przybylik all battled out for a place on the winners podium. As the final tricks close in the crowd descends onto the park bringing the electric atmosphere with them creating a human runway.
As the Winterclash comes to an end the crowd eagerly await in the park for the final results. If you’ve never experienced Winterclash first hand, you’ll maybe not quite understand the love in the room for the final hour. The crowd erupts with roars and cheers for the winners and praise thank you to Jojo and the rest of the crew for another amazing year… and off to the Afterclash. By the time I arrived at the Afterparty it was already full, so I and about 100 others went to another small bar around the corner. Beers everywhere and an array of international bladers partying hard after a weekend of skating and madness!
Waking up Sunday morning with a Clash hangover, best thing to do is head to the park to find familiar faces before departing home. Sitting by a cosy fire at the café next to the park for 10 hours as bladers come and go starting their journeys home. What an awesome way to end an epic weekend.
For me this year marks 10 years since my first Winterclash and each can every year is just as mighty if not better than the last. Thank you Jojo and the entire Winterclash crew for putting in all the extra behind the scenes effort and planning many of us don’t see to make this happen,