Talented riders flocked to Penticton’s Youth Skatepark on Go Skateboarding Day, June 21.
They were there for the Okanagan Street League Series that attracted 40 competitors. Rob Burnett of Freeride Boardshop said the level of skaters was “incredible compared to a few years ago.”
“The kids are just getting better and better,” he said.
Among the group were amateur to pro level skaters competing in contest formats consisting of flow, control and impact.
Flow section competitors are allowed to use the entire skatepark (except the bowl) and are given two, one-minute runs to show their ability to use the entire course and demonstrate tricks on obstacles. The control section competitors are given five chances to score their best trick on any obstacle, except the bowl and the features used in the final “impact” section. That final section has the competitors hit the same obstacle six times and score two tricks. The competitor with the best combined score wins the contest scored by five judges with the highest and lowest scores thrown out and the average of the three remaining judges counted.
Winning the pro division was Kelowna’s Kevin Ramsay, who was rewarded with $300 and prizes. In second was Vancouver’s McKenzie Keller taking home $150 and prizes, while Prince George’s Curtis Carlick earned $50. Penticton’s Johnny Benny placed fifth. In the amateur division, consisting of mainly Penticton residents, Michael Toma was first, while Tyler Phillips was second and Jarrod McParland was third.
“I really wanted to do something different, new and mostly I wanted to get away from the old ‘jam format’ that is typically used in skateboard contests,” said Burnett. “Kevin has a very bright future in skateboarding. He is almost unbeatable at contests like these in the Okanagan at the moment.”
Burnett was also impressed by the talent the amateurs possessed. Burnett expected to see kids who had never competed in a contest. He saw the opposite.
“The competitors looked like seasoned veterans,” he said. “The whole idea for this category was to give kids the opportunity to compete in a contest for free and see where their skating stands compared to their peers while at the same time celebrating Go Skateboarding Day with all of their buddies. In my opinion skateboarding needs a bit of a boost in Penticton at the moment, and events like this get kids stoked on the sport and excited to continue progressing their skills.”