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World Freestyle Championships - Review

Russians, French, Americans, Brits, A New Zealander…. No I’m not talking about the G8 summit, there’s only one thing I’m referring to, and it isn’t the meeting of the world’s greatest politicians. I’m talking about the meeting of the world’s greatest freestyle mountainboarders.

The crème de la crème.

The elite.

All in one location for what was the worlds best mountainboard event to date: The Fat Face Night Air World Freestyle Championships.

The racing, on Saturday the 9th of July, had been more relaxed than normal though certain riders were still giving it everything they had, with riders such as Tuai Lovejoy of team Terfware, Tom Kirkman of team Exit and SWmbcs very own local rider Richie, all pushing themselves and their boards to the limit, standing out from the rest as they flew down the insanely technical and well built course.

As the day went on cars slowly started piling into the car park, and more and more people showed up on the hill as the prize giving was finishing. This was it. After months of planning, days of labour and god knows how many pounds spent to make it all happen, all the effort was about to pay off and as the first of 30 or so riders dropped in to hit two gigantic table tops the spectators knew they were in for something special.

The event was made up of 30 riders in 3 different rounds, consisting of 5 jumps each over 2 huge tabletops. After the first heat the 10 lowest scoring riders would be knocked out then the top 20 would go through into the second round, after each rider had taken their 5 jumps the lowest scoring 10 would be knocked out and then the top ten freestyle mountainboarders in the world would go through into the final, 5 jumps each under flood lights with a hill full of people cheering them on.

In the first 2 rounds the riding was impressive and there were a few surprises with Jack Chew, Mick Kirkman and Niki Forcast all riding exceptionally well, and with New Zealander and Team San Francisco rider Ben Toulmin throwing down 180 rewind one footers, with all of these riders managing to put on a good show with the likes of team Exit and Leon Robbins. As the flood lights came on the level of riding increased with riders upping the ante to ensure their place in the final, huge styled airs and 360 grabs over the last jump ensured Jack Herriots place in the final as did Ig Wilkinsons smooth 360s over both jumps.

As the final 10 strapped in the sheer determination and enthusiasm could be seen on the tired and battered faces of those who had been riding all day, with every rider ready and waiting for their chance to ride and pull off the best tricks mountainboarding has ever seen. With £500 up for grabs for the winner, £300 for second and £200 for third place each rider was ready to do what was necessary to try and get on the podium. This final round was where the magic began.

Right from the first round it was obvious which 3 riders would be fighting it out for the top spot; Tom Kirkman, Alex Downie and Leon Robbins all stood out with amazing style, technical tricks and amazing amplitude. Every rider in the final was busting huge moves with styled backflips and rodeos over both tabletops from Arno VDV, smooth inverts and big spins were being spun by visiting American AJ “ladies man” Lawson and Joe Dickson was spinning backflips like there was no tomorrow.

The thing that made Tom, Leon and Alex stand out was the style and height at which they did some of the most technical tricks known to mountainboarding. Alex was going huge with floaty off axis 360s and 540s and styled inverts managing to clench 3rd place, Leon was being uber sick with 360 grabs over the first 35ft jump and then landing 360 one footers over the second tabletop snatching 2nd place but it was ATBmag rider Tom Kirkman who stole the show; his flips over the first jump were floaty and styled, one run consisting of a corked 540 spin over the first jump then landing in switch and hitting the second table top and throwing down a switch rodeo must have impressed the judges but it was his perfect corked 720 over the second jump which got the crowd shouting wildly and ensured he took 1st place at The Fat Face Night Air World Freestyle Championships.

The firework display that night wowed the spectators even further and the party afterwards had free alcohol and that signature chill out vibe that can only be found sat round a fire with friends in the south west.

A huge thank you has to go to everyone at the South West Mountainboard Centre, ATBmag and anyone else who helped out in any way but most importantly Fat Face clothing for putting mountainboarding up there with Snowboarding, Surfing and Biking and helping to promote mountainboarding to the masses.

Words By Rhys Crilley

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