Hello Hello. Stephen @whataspoon here to talk about all things Winterclash.
Winterclash is a competition for aggressive skating that has been going on for well over 10 years now. It has grown into probably the biggest and most anticipated aggressive skating competitions on the globe with the world's best riders travelling to it from all corners of the world. Winterclash has been held at a few different locations when it first started out but it has certainly found a home in Area 51 Skatepark Eindhoven in the Netherlands. Personally I have attended the event 5 times now and I plan to go every year from now on. Let’s dive into what Winterclash involves and what happened at Winterclash 2023.
Winterclash is not just an aggressive skating competition. It’s more like a festival for skating. We have a bar with drinks and food and there are always so many side events like live podcasts, trade shows, screenings, panel talks and afterparties. Every year they seem to add more good stuff to the schedule and I can only see it getting better and better as the years go on.
We had special guests like the Jump Street Podcast doing live chats with pro riders with an audience at Area 51 and also at home from a live stream. This is great as the audience really gives the interview a more natural feel with some participation. This year we had interviews with two huge pro riders Nils Jansons and Richie Eisler. It was great to hear more about their stories and to hear them motivate others to achieve their own goals.
We also had the pleasure of listening to some panel talks hosted by Wheel Scene’s very own David McNamara. These consisted of “Plastic boots and innovation” and “Future of Blading Media”. There was another talk hosted by 3 female riders who were talking about the challenges they face when skating as a female. All of these involve a microphone and some riders/YouTubers to talk openly and answer questions about the chosen subject to the live audience at Area 51.
The tradeshow consists of skate shops and brands who like to show off their products and get some sales whilst a few thousand rollerbladers pass through the event. This is great for people who don’t normally get to try skates on or see products up close. Big brands like Powerslide, FR, SEBA, Adapt and Razors were all there to showcase some of their fresh gear.
At the nearby Hotel “The Blue Collar” Screenings and more events take place before and after the Area 51 fun. We had “The Life of Jon Julio” and “Full circle” both of which are documentaries about 2 very successful rollerbladers Jon Julio and CJ Wellsmore. Here you can see the documentaries on the big screen and hear the star talk about it before, during and after. At the hotel Wheel Scene also hosted a pub quiz for those skaters who are great with skating knowledge.
On the Thursday evening every year, the Hangloser gang host their own bowl competition where the winner can win 100 beers from the bar. During this event they dress up as referees with red cards in their pockets holding up signs telling the riders which tricks they need to try. If the riders do not land the correct trick then they get a red card and they are out. This event is such great fun as it is treated less seriously than the actual Winterclash competition itself. This is more of a laugh but usually still brings many hammers. During the final 3 pros battled to win the beer jumping from the bowl to skate the barrier holding the audience back before returning to the bowl. This was won by FR rider Diako Diaby who managed to grind the further along the barrier before jumping back to the bowl.
The competition itself consists of Junior, Amateur, Female heats on the Friday before the finals on the Sunday. The pros will do their qualifying heats on the Sunday just before their own final as this is the main event that everyone will want to see. Each rider will skate in a group of 4 or 5 riders for 4 minutes as a jam session doing whatever tricks they please in the main park course. The course consists of huge obstacles that are funded by the sponsors and that are built and added to the original skatepark in the week leading up to the event and revealed for the first time on the Thursday. 3 judges will watch the riders compete and score them on how difficult, creative and dangerous their tricks are. The riders who use the park and land the best and most difficult tricks will proceed to the finals on the Sunday.
The park is always difficult to skate which means you are guaranteed to see some epic tricks from the riders who are risking it all. The finals consist of another 4 minute jam session of 4/5 riders who then get a final trick each to do in their own time with everyone watching. During these final tricks the crowd tends to invade the park to surround the obstacle that the skater has chosen to skate. This normally results in the skater being bombarded and lifted by fans after landing an impressive trick.
Winterclash 2023 went off no different to the previous years. Maybe even more as this was the first one since 2020 due to the covid-19 pandemic forcing Winterclash to stop for 3 years. The slogan on the entrance read "Nice to see you again" which I felt was a nice touch.
The results of the competition were as follows:
Faction Skates Best Trick Competition
I Roll NY Most Creative Trick Competition
1. Fabian Mathie
2. Liam Gratwohl
3. Jakob Esselmann
4. Michal Pietrzak
5. Tijn van Gaalen
1. Victor Daum
2. Ren Fujiwara
3. Justas Karcauskas
4. Lenny Jourda
5. Lauric Picard
1. Daniela Salgado
2. Chihiro Azuma
3. Armelle Tisler
4. Kaili Randmae
5. Carla Pasquinelli
1. Julien Cudot
2. Joe Atkinson
3. Jaro Frijn
4. David Sizemore
5. Bobi Spassov
Be sure to head to YouTube after reading this and search for Winterclash 2023 to see many videos about the event, the tricks that were done and to hear that signature Winterclash roar from the crowd that we all know and love. Winterclash will also produce an aftermovie for you to see which will appear on their Instagram in the next coming weeks. To see the whole finals event, check Ricardo Lino's live stream which shows all the tricks, winners and some crowd reactions.
See you next year at Winterclash 2024.