Action Sports

Action Sports with Leigh Roche

Dropping In: Action Sports Best of 2015

You may have the gears to succeed, but you also need the engine. - Rodney Mullen, skateboarder

The year 2015 had tons of amazing, strange, and historic moments in action sports. Here are a few of my personal favorites from last year.

1 Street League Series Women’s Super Crown World Championships

Hands down, this was the highlight of the year. SLS brought the ladies on board to share the highest echelon of skateboarding competition with their own Super Crown Championships. Brazilian shredder, Leticia Bufoni killed it and her fellow countryman, Kelvin Hoefler won the Men’s Super Crown title, the first rookie to ever do so.

2 Simple Session BMX

Simple Session is an international BMX contest that takes place annually in Tallinn, Estonia and features some of the best riders from across the globe.. Drew Bezanson won his fifth Simple Session title, sealing the win with a death-defying ninja drop to barspin from the metal fence way above the course.

3 Burnside Skatepark 25th Anniversary

This historic spot under the Burnside Bridge in Portland, Oregon is the world’s longest  lasting DIY skate spot and it celebrated its silver anniversary on Halloween in 2015 with a bowl bash! The rain didn’t stop the festivities that went down in the  Dreamland Skateparks 
 freshly-reconditioned bowl. There was music, pyrotechnics, and costumes.

Must See: Lucas Chemotti created a short documentary about the history of Burnside, Under the Bridge: 25 Years of Fighting for Burnside Skatepark.  

4 Van Doren Invitational- Huntington Beach

The Van Doren Invittional is one of the classic events that highlights the warm weather revelry of action sports! It went down in Huntington Beach, California, USA as part of the annual Vans US Open of Surfing in late July through Early August. The action in skateboarding began with the ladies shredding the concrete bowl by the ocean. Allysha Bergado won the third annual Van Doren Invitational women’s bowl contest, taking on 20 top female bowl riders to get her first ever spot on the Van Doren Invitational podium. Bergado was able to edge out Lizzie Armanto, the winner of the past two VDI. The USA women had a lock on all three podium spots and the top six finishers. Ben Hatchell took the men’s bowl title, sharing the podium with Pedro Barros and Chris Russell. 

5 Voodoo Jam

Voodoo Jam was Stop 3 on the 2015
 BMX Flatland World Circuit. New Orleans, Louisiana, USA hosted the 11th annual Voodoo Jam BMX Flatland contest, an international event that attracts the best Flatland riders in the world. The battles were hypnotic,  intense and gnarly, with more RPMs and artistic athleticism than ever. Voodoo Jam veterans and both two-time Voodoo Jam champs, Matthias Dandois took first, squeaking by last year’s winner, Yohei Uchino. Dez Maarsen was absolutely stellar in his first Voodoo Jam, riding into the third place spot.  

6 Vital BMX Game of BIKE

This BMX event is a fun event with some of the most fun BMX freestyle riding ever. Jake Leiva won top honors in Park, after riding in Vital Game of BIKE twice in the past and being eliminated in the first round, so his win was extra sweet. Broc Raiford won the Vital Game of BIKE Street contest, adding to what was an amazing year for him. Raiford had a  jaw-dropping part in Volume BMX’s video, The Finer Things and finished the year with yet more unbelievable riding in Volume’s Signature Series video.

7 World Skateboarding Federation World Skateboarding Championship

Skaters representing over 50 countries gathered in Kimberley, South Africa at the World Skateboarding Federation Kimberley Diamond Cup Skateboarding World Championships, October 7-10, 2015. So who skated away with titles? Jimmy Wilkins took the win in Vert; Nyjah Huston in Street; Team AKAM won the Rider Cup; Alexis Sablone won the Women’s Street; Damien Phillippe won the African Street World Championships; Damian Bramley won South African Vert Championships;  Kelly Murray won South African Women’s Street Championship; and Brandon Valjalo won the South African Street Championships.


8 Cory Kennedy Nike SB Chronicles Vol 3

Cory Kennedy’s part in the latest Nike SB Chronicles full-length video closed out the year on a phenomenally high note. Kennedy is a versatile, fluid rider, skating just about any surface in this footage-- walls, bowls, ledges, and uneven pavement with grass-filled cracks. Kennedy nimbly destroys flatland, an assortment of rails, and catapults himself over some of the biggest and most visually exhilarating  gaps and architectural features for a captivating video that is a dance with the urban environment and is definitely  worth more than one viewing.   The full vid is available on iTunes. 

We may not know what skateboarding is. No, we know what it is now too. Falling down and getting back up.- John Cardiel

9 Damn Am Select Series

The 2015 Skatepark of Tampa Street League Damn Am Select Series an amateur skate contest that provides a pathway for skateboarding’s young talent to not only garner exposure for their craft, but also qualify into both Tampa Am and ultimately the Street League Series Nike SB Pro Open. The Damn Am Select Series had some of the most unbelievable riding, tricks and other antics ever. Yoshi Tanenbaum took the Damn Am of the year title, after completely annihilating the course in New York, Woodward West, and Atlanta. Dashawn Jordan and Micky Papa did not make this task an easy one for Tanenbaum!


10 Kaleidoscope - Kriss Kyle

Kriss Kyle, one of the most unique and creative BMX riders out there, in a collaboration with Red Bull Media House and director Ben Scott, of Ridley Scott Associates, created one of the most visually exciting, surreal riding films ever- Kaleidoscope. The video features obstacles that change and move, and there are amazing optical effects as Kyle finds lines and executes tricks in a dynamic environment that must be seen to be believed. Even people who are not fans of BMX will be captivated by this project; the film is so visually compelling.