When: Sun 27th of January 2008
Where: Munich, Germany
Sorry for posting this up so late but...............you know how it is. The annual ISPO always succeeds in pulling out the rug underneath ones feet, plunging the unfotunate into the deep abyss of millions of exhibition booths, sinful boozing and other raunchy activities late into the night at one of a thousand ISPO related parties. Actually, I myself fell victim to this phenomenon to be quite honest. 'That is the blandist most overused excuse I have ever heard!', would be the scornful words of a school teacher. I know......I know........I'm so sorry! But anyway! Lets get to me trying to piece together the tiny bits and pieces of my memory concerning the Quiksilver Rail Jam at the House of Art, which coincidentally was also the location of the club where we had the Onboard party later that night. This further maybe explains the lateness of this post. Show me a man or woman who does not succumb to the sweet seduction of free drink coupons! Exactly.
The set up was simple and clean. The three obstacles to be played on were a 27 stair down kink rail or flat down box followed by a mini wall waiting at the bottom. Big names of the jibbing world showed up to battle it out with new and upcoming jib kids like Lucas Magoon or Wang Ly (all the way from China dude!) at a really cool venue with a historic feel!
The contest format was a jam session, giving the 22 attending riders 90 minutes to show what they were hiding in their bag of tricks in the hopes for snatching one of the 8 starting places in the finals. The crowd of spectators was moderate in the beginning but kept on growing till it reached its full size filling up all the space available. At the same time, the riders were doing their thang slowly getting acquaintent with the course doing steezed out front boards, nosepresses or 5-0's. Soon enough the ante was being upped and one started seeing spin on spin off combos on the down box. The down rail was also slowly but surely getting warmed up by riders like Florant Marot, Max Legend or Dan Brise. The Islandic rail killer Eiki Helgasson was trying 450 on's but just wasn't feeling it that night and couldn't stomp it. A shame, considering that that mans abilities on rails usually are not from this world.
The little intermission for the judges to decide on the 8 finalists was brilliantly bridged by a little money session, where riders could make a little extra cheddar by doing tricks that would get the crowd going. So what got the crowd going? Hmmmm.....I don't know.........Hans Ahlunds sliding 5-0 while have a sip from his beer or Sami Saarenpäa's one foot boardslide. Not to forget Freddy Austbo's Backflip crowd pleaser classic.
The final 8 then got a little more serious and one could tell that the fun and games of the jam session were over. Hard way spin on spin offs, Back Lips, 50-50 reverts and Front Lips on the down rail were to be seen amongst other manouvers. Yet, the two men that stood out to me were the young French-Canadian ripper Max Legend doing steezed out Back Lips down the rail and little Lucas Magoon from Vermont, who was making jaws drop with nollie fs 180 to switch nosepress revert attempts. Another rider that definetely stood out was Swedens Hans Ahlund attempting a switch back lip on the rail which next to Magoon nollie nosepress madness was probably the hardest trick of the night. In the end Magoon stomped an unbelievable holy shit nollie to tail press to front board to take first, followed by Max Legend and Hans Ahlund who just could stomp the Sw Back Lip. Even after the finals were done while the judges were busy deciding who will be the winner, Ahlund was still trying to stick it. Not to win, but for himself, which I believe is a good indicator about how fun the course was for the riders.
One could say that the second edition of the comp was a full on success, and a great starter for the ISPO indeed. Two more days of mayhem left at the ISPO here in Munich, so keep your fingers crossed that I still survive the next 48 hours!
(Words by The Grgas) (Photos by Sami Tuoriniemi)