Words, video and photos: Liam Teague
It’d been a long four years since the last competition down at The Level, so there was certainly an air of high expectation surrounding this event. And it certainly didn’t disappoint. A combination of good music, a brilliant turnout, some amazing skating and some entertaining mic skills from Pasty made for an truly memorable day.
Weather was always a concern as the day approached, and feeling the drizzle as I got off the bus in Brighton I was naturally a little apprehensive, but the park was still more or less dry upon arrival and the rain held off for the day. The jam even started more or less on time, a rare occurrence in skateboarding I’m sure you’ll agree.
The jam started off with the qualifying rounds, taking the form of groups of three or four skaters at a time with a two minute run. This saw a very impressive number of entrants, which would have been even better if it weren’t for the large group with good intentions but who had unfortunately arrived too late to sign up. Nevertheless there was some amazing skating on display in both the sponsored and unsponsored groups, including the likes of Level locals Louis Cooper, James Kilpatrick, Tom Felix, Amir Williams, Isaac Miller, Stevie Thompson, Voi Smith and many more.
After the heats were done and a short interval of absolute chaos with 300 kids trying to skate at the same time, it was time for the finals, which consisted of the best performers from the qualifying rounds each having their own individual two minute run. I can tell you it certainly is nerve wracking knowing that all eyes are on you, but that didn’t seem to phase any of the entrants as some even more impressive skating was churned out by the park regulars who all obviously know the park like the back of their dirty hands.
The unsponsored finals were up first. Mini gangster Ollie Chapman managed 3rd for his stylish run. Henry Kanning took second place for his effortless skating, cruising about the whole course ollieing and grabbing everything in sight. But it was young ripper Isaac Miller who took first place, getting a frontside flip over the big bank to bank gap, one of the most solid, nonchalant tre flips I’ve seen over the hip, and much more amazing skateboard trickery.
Finally were the big guns, the sponsored finalists. This was where we got to witness some absolutely incredible tricks and crazy consistency from the riders, all going big and going off.
3rd place went to Tom Felix, skating everything with his powerful style. He took a rocket speed crook down the handrail, and a scorpion like slam trying to feeble it. He also managed an absolutely huge benihana over the bank to bank. You geeks might just change your mind on that trick when you see it.
James Kilpatrick came 2nd. His run was absolutely mindblowing, landing literally everything with effortless style and finishing off his line with a line 270 flip over the bank to bank.
But the final place went, just as it did 4 years ago, to ex Karma pro and Brighton ghetto man Amir Willams. He certainly earned his place and tore the park a new one with a backlip down the rail, frontside flips out the the quarterpipe and amongst much else pulling a perfect flip frontside boardslide down the rail at the end of his run.
Honorable mention goes to James K, who won a hundred quid put up by Nike 6.0 in their “Killing it” comp, sort of a MVP deal. Well deserved as well, James ripped it up all day, just after winning the Crawley comp last week.
Just time for a best trick comp at the end, with the handrail being the object chosen for the hungry kids to sack themselves on on the quest for some free proddy. A vast amount of NBD’s went down all in the space of about 20 minutes, including Louis Antoine’s flip back fifty, a flip noseslide from Tom Felix, and Aaron Revell taking the prizes with a faultless front feeble.
And that was that, just time for the product toss which saw dozens of kids kicking each other in for shirts, stickers, a beef pie and even an empty cardboard box! Thoroughly entertaining and as always a little embarrassing to watch, but if it keeps ’em happy then so be it, these idiots are the future of skating!
All in all a great day had by all. A huge thankyou to all involved in making this day happen, and it couldn’t have been done without the support of everyone who showed up, whether to help out, get involved, skate, watch and cheer, or just mug kids for stickers.