When: September 27, 2008
Where: Zürich, Switzerland
Tim Humphreys. Photos: Mark Weiler.
The second round of qualifiers got done yesterday, along with the Ultimate Crossover Rider of the Universe Crowd Stokeathon Battle.
Right then. Another day, another fine display of spin-boarding beside the Zürichsee. Once again the riders in this side of the draw were all capable of delivering the killer right hook and it proved to be a dramatic display of shred-devilry. The mixing of style and tech once again had both the purists and the crowd stoked, with the likes of Mat Crepel and Hampus Mosesson dripping style from their eyeballs with switch back 5s and cab 5 shifty shifties. Swiss rookie Gian-Luca Cavegli had the crowd bouncing when he put down what looked suspiciously like a doublecork, and, as ever, the Swiss riders Markus Keller and Stefan Maurer had the Landiwiese roaring in a display of chest-thumping national pride.
As with the previous day's shredding, it came down to the riders who could successfully nail the style and the tech that got the nod from the judges. Into this category stomped Keller, Hampus, Risto Mattila and the USA's Scotty Lago. Keller and Mosesson had the mad poke going on, Risto back nined and cab 5 shifty-shiftyd (one of the finest tricks of the session), but Lago clearly got his neck out front with a back 7 melon poked to buggery, and front 10 held, boned and stomped. You couldn't get any more zing in his hits if you'd dunked them in the KFC batter and deep-fried the bleeders.
To round off the day's action it was time for the crowd favourite - the crossover session - which this year had been rebranded as the Ultimate Rider in the Universe or something. A bold claim as I heard there's some kid from the Alpha Centauri system that can do switch triplecork 12s, but whatever. Seriously, though, this gig has the whole of the Landiwiese stuffed to the gills with stoked kids and is a sick spectacle, but as a true contest it is not really legit. Seriously comparing the skill involved and the stoke created from vert skating and snowboarding, and ski and FMX is like dancing about architecture - a futile and impossible task. When the crowd's vocal chords decide the outcome, there will always be some contentious calls - Chris Sörman stomped a flawless front 10 but got booted by a backflip on a bike I think; Sandro Dias fell twice but as he's (understandably) a crowd favourite he got the roar over some other chap - but the riders take to this gig like ducks to water, understanding it's a crowd pleaser and never failing to put on a great show.
For the snowboarding, Stefan Maurer put down a solid double backie and got into the final as the only snowboarder. The shredder cannonball was pretty rad too. Then, come the final Maurer decided to try a frontside doublecork 10 - a trick he's only tried 4 times - and from the moment he got airborne it all went to bollocks. Clawing through the air as he spun and flipped, it looked like he was a gonner. He hit hard on his back and his head but looked to have gotte away with it as he got up, but I was later told he looked pale and shaken so here's hoping he's OK. In the end, Sandro Dias took the crowd's cheers to add an Ultimate Crossover Champion of the Universe title to his extensive list of achievements. That dude goes so much bigger than any of the other skaters, alley-ooping and travelling so far on every hit so it would be a bitter and twisted man who would begrudge the Brazilian his win.
That was that for last night and so we headed off to see Trevor Andrew play in some club. When we got there they weren't letting anyone in and the 'holding area' was getting more and more full of inebriated folk. Then there was a bit of argy bargy so thoughts of pepper spray and being squashed gave us the perfect excuse to avoid a leathering and get the hell out. No hangover. Moral high ground.