To come back down to earth after this intense and joyful weekend, that seemed more like a huge family meeting than an international pro and amateur contest in longboard dancing and freestyle, is not easy.
But let us start from the beginning.
Bianca Kersten, Jelle Lemmens and their crew invited the whole longboard dancing and freestyle community for the seventh time to the Klokgebouw, the temple of longboarding, in Eindhoven in the Netherlands.
Of course, hundreds of longboarders from around the globe followed the invitation and started their journey to our mecca of longboarding.
Most of the riders arrived on Friday before the contest. As usual, the weekend starts off with a huge skate session at the Stadhuisplein – right in heart of Eindhoven. Although I have attended at almost every event, I haven’t been to this pre-event session for years, as I am usually busy with last organizational meetings with the SYCLD crew. But this year I had the chance to go to the session and it was mind blowing. The city center of Eindhoven was invaded by longboarders. I have never seen such a huge free skate session ever. The positive vibes and the sunny day was a perfect start for the weekend.
As usual SYCLD was a two day event. On Saturday the dance and freestyle competitions for non-sponsored open, non-sponsored women, hippie jump and best G-turn took place. On Sunday followed best grom, sponsored open, sponsored women and the best trick contest.
Once again the organizers recorded a higher number of contestants than the year before. Over 245 participants from 32 countries took part. And as the number of women contestants doubled to over 60, also the non-sponsored women competition was part of the event.
I had the pleasure to be part of judging team. But as we were a bigger team this year, I had the privilege to get ‘a day off’ and only judge on Sunday. On the first day of the event I could chitchat with the community, play endless games of S.K.A.T.E and breath-in this tremendous atmosphere. Everyone I met had a big smile on their faces. Inside the Klokgebouw you entered a world where people were skating from dusk till dawn in three different halls, sponsors having their stands to promote their fresh stuff, and the organizers, volunteers and judges whizzed around to make all this to a great happening. Stepping outside the venue the beautiful weather and the green in front of the Klokgebouw invited the riders to sit jointly together talk about the news in the community, their participation at SYCLD or their plans for this season. It was perfect.
Day 1 of SYCLD
On Saturday evening the winners of the first competitions were selected. The best G-turn showed Sven Schiefer (SUI) with his one-foot manual G-turn and almost indefinite turns. He blew the judges minds. Second became Sebastian Eberlein (GER) and third Yordan Petroff (BGR).
(Photo: @spin_skate / @mari_aprilfool)
At the hippie jump contest it was quite surprising that the winner was not a 2 meter person who outperform every jump of a significantly shorter skater. No other than the 35 year old godfather of longboard dancing and freestyle Mr. Lotfi Lamaali from France jumped over 140 cm what almost equals his own height 😉 He had to use all his skills to beat his compatriot Charles Patfoort in a tight finish.
(Photo: @spin_skate / @mari_aprilfool )
In the non-sponsored division the judges Aboubakry Seck, Achel Machin, first-time judge Katarzyna Haj, Christopher Weggler and boardfather Maarten Frouws got to see a great level of skating. Among over 90 competitors in the non-sponsored open contest three riders got to the podium. The Korean Jiwon Jung snapped the well-deserved first place showing a complete package of stylish moves and mellow freestyle tricks. The second place went to Sebastien Rambourg (FRA) and third on the podium was Onno Nijzink (HOL).
In the non-sponsored women division the number of participants double in comparison with last year. Maria Arndt from Spin Skate, Giulia Alfeo and Jelle Lemmens started an initiative and reached out the women in the community to encourage them to participate. It succeeded and 27 women – more than ever before – took part at the non-sponsored women contest, many of them for the very first time.
Laira Juliana Trindade came all the way from Brazil and showed her smooth skills with lots of flow. She made it to the first place in front of Sol Castro from Peru and Hyojin from Korea.
Family, we make our own universe for two days, composed out of new friendship, random game of skate and a lot of dance parties!Guleed Yussuf – SYCLD super host
Day 2 of SYCLD
The sunday started with the best grom contest where 12 young guns showed their talents. It was incredible to see how much fun those young riders had in the runs and that all of them seemed to have no stage freight at all. The best grom of the day was the 12-year old Arsène Bernier.
In the best trick competition the 80 contestants had two tries to show their most complex single trick in their repertoire. As usual the judges were hurled out of their seats watching so many insane tricks. Most of them were not landed in the competition unfortunately. But nevertheless, I was really impressed of the creativity. One rider jumped even off his board to do a backflip. If he would’ve landed this trick he would’ve been definitely a candidate for the podium. In the end the winner of the best trick comp was Duo Duo from China. He was followed by Bum Seok (KOR) and Tom Bos (HOL).
I was really looking forward to the second day of the event as I was part of the judging team together with Maarten Frouws, Lotfi Lamaali, Achel Machin, DoYoung Gwon and the Dude. I must admit, it was a challenging day but I enjoyed every second of having the honor to give my full attention to over 100 riders on that day. Why was it so challenging? Well, over the last couple of years the level of tricks but also individual styles has risen significantly. Consequently, it was harder then ever before for the riders to qualify for the finals. All this makes me proud. It means, that our sport is progressing and I am sure that we have not reached the end yet.
Photos by @mari_aprifool, @spin_skate, @anjawphoto,
For a weekend the longboard community got together and launched itself into a bubble. Just another world. Openness, bright smiles, no boarders. Pure!Philipp Baumann – SYCLD finalist sponsored open
In the first round of the open division 20 out of 84 competitors qualified for the semi-final. Half of them qualified for the finals. The women competition consisted of 27 riders fighting for 8 places for the finals. I personally have never seen such a variety and amount of trick in a contest before. Some of the riders let the judges in disbelief showing new invented trick combinations. As the level was so high the competitors had to take high risks to show complex tricks and/or combos. For some the mixture of risk and tension was too high and got out of the game for victory.
By the end of the day the best riders from the women and open division stood jointly on the podium. The winner of this year’s sponsored women contest is Jiny Kim (KOR) followed by Sugar from China and Antonine Champetier (FRA).
In the sponsored open division nobody else than Mr. Niceguy and AWHOU lover Jongbin Jo (KOR) won. Jongbin showed extremely consistent runs with complex tricks, smooth step combinations and tons of flow. The second place went to the last year’s champion Aboubakry Seck (FRA) and Duo Duo from China who won SYCLD sponsored open two years ago became third.
This is it. Two intense days full of stoke, joy and longboarding were over once again. I think I am not exaggerating to say that this edition has been even better than the ones I have seen before. First, thanks to the organizational team around Bianca Kersten and Jelle Lemmens and our superhost Guleed Yussuf the whole event is a blast. Second, thanks to the progress all riders make every year. The level we have reached is so good and I am already looking forward to see what comes next. And third, thanks to the community. The people do not come to SYCLD just to compete, they join the event to meet the family, sharing experiences, see old and make new friends and to shred together. This is incredible to see and personally one of my most motivational factors to be active for the scene.
The SYCLD at the beginning of the season is the best fueel to keep the freestyle & dance engine running every year.
I am sure to see you all next year again!
And if you do not want to wait another year to meet the community join us in Berlin on 22 June 2019 for the AWHOU! Longboard Tournament Vol. 2!