15. 5. 2014
Stvanice Island opened its doors to the public already on Friday afternoon to see riders testing the brand new street course. The bowl has undergone only one change in form of extended wallride with pool coping on top giving riders more speed to send huge airs over both bowls' corners. From the beginning, it was apparent that the new street course would be all about speed due to all-around transitions but as it turned out, this new shape suited to rather technique oriented riders. After 6 P.M. the pre-qualification of European riders only ended and everybody went for a drink.
Saturday belonged to qualifications. Austin Sealholm, Greg Lutzka, Max Kruglov or Max Habanec were nailing down difficult tricks all the time, it's amazing how professional riders don't care much about warming-up, they just come and kill it on first. Although the street qualification runs had not been over yet, the stands around bowl slowly started to fill. Between two to three o'clock the stands were chock full of people. It's been always like this but never were the stands full three hours before a bowl qualification. No wonder, who would want to miss probably the best bowl skater, only 19-teen years old Brazilian Pedro Barros? From the beginning, it was clear that the bowl riding will be something to see. The young were on fire, red-bull kids flying in stylish stalefish grabs all over the place and Pedro Barros had to slow down a little, as the bowl seemed too small for him.
After qualifying sessions, some went to the bar to drink in some energy for the evening and some stayed in the bowl and the street cranking it up. The night belonged to the legends Steve Olson, Dave Hackett, Pat Ngoho and Christian Hosoi who turned up to prove the 50+ age is not a barrier. And they killed it! Steve Olson surfed the bowl in a big style a speed. Dave Hackett nailed down frontside five-o everywhere finishing his runs with stylish laybacks. But everybody was eager to see Christian Hososi. He skated the bowl in big speeds pulling big airs over both corners and above the wallride. But the most stylish skater was Pat Ngoho. His fronside boardslides were absolutely perfect! The man who killed it the most though was Greyson Fletcher who came in slightly tipsy but nailed down everything he wanted - what an amazing skater. The rest of the evening was in a cool atmosphere and everybody looked forward to the next day - the day of finals.
Sunday kicked off with the Bowl final that began a little earlier than initially planned, so some people did not catch it. It's a pity, organizers didn't manage that well this time. However, Adrex was on site and I must honestly tell you that I have never seen better session in Stvanice bowl than this one. Only the best ten elite riders made it to the final; Pedro Barros, Alex Sorgente, Danny Leon or Murilo Peres. Unfortunately for Murilo, he injured himself at the second heat and finished nine. It's a pity, he would certainly made it podium. It was also great to see the only Czech rider Martin "Jurda" Jurasek in the finals. Who knows him knows what an amazing guy Jurda is, on and off the skate. Although finishing last, he once again proved that he belongs to the elite. Before the final started, red-bull kids put on a show skating the bowl in 4+ people at once flying one over the other one or two. I don't know what they feed them with but it was unreal:)
The bowl final was divided into two heats and two runs for each rider. Greyson Fletcher again nailed down everything he set his mind to, he must be somehow glued to the board. His huge one-foot airs to the bigger sections of the pool were incredible. Danny Leon skated amazingly good, it's good to see he progressed so much over the last year. Pedro Barros killed it big time with his massive 540, at least 2 meters above the wallride! Crazy! But the biggest hell was still to come. Final jams, when the riders got to skate the pool simultaneously were unreal! Martin Jurasek were going for it, the jams are kind of his thing. Alex Sorgente skated in the jams as if he would be the only one in there not to mention Greyson Fletcher passing other skaters inches away. I would also point out Bjorn Lillesoe of Denmark. He skated in Pedro Barros's heat and although finishing 7th, he certainly showed off.
Despite the incredible Barros's run, the win went to only 16-year old Alex Sorgente who was on fire. 360 over the corner, huge airs and difficult tricks - all in a brutal speed and a smile on his face. After the thrilling final, the legends turned up to compete at "Bowl Legends" competition. It was more like a jam than a competition but they put on a good show. Steve and Dave proved they are not ready for the scrap heap and their surf style was nothing but a proof. Dave Duncan, a Mystic speaker, put down a microphone for a bit to join the legends. The win went to the one and only, Christian Hosoi for his big airs, flawless style and run full of old-school tricks . He also tried to send a huge method grab over one of the corners at the buzzer, one that even Pedro Barros wouldn't be ashamed of, but didn't land it.
After the bowl competition all moved over to street course to see women and men finals. Once again, the women competition came down in favor of Leticia Bufoni. Men's finals started around 6 o'clock and each rider had only two minutes to show his best. 10 best riders made it to the finals among who were two Czech and two Slovakian riders. Martin Pek nailed down all his tricks clean and it was apparent after the first run he was a hot candidate for the win. Last winner, Ryo Sejiri, took it easy, nailing down some difficult trick but there was something missing in his runs. Richard Tury killed it from the start, hitting the rails all the time, which secured him second place. Austin Sealholm was maybe a little bit down as he could have been the first skater ever to win Mystic three times. He skated good and nailed down some difficult tricks but it wasn't enough this time. Who know what would have happened if Stvanice kept its old look. Max Habanec skated great all the weekend, unfortunately he messed the finals which resulted in 7th place. If I should point out something it'd be Vincent Milou's unique style full of flips. After the finals, the besttrick took place and the most popular feature seemed the stairs with rails, which the skaters took by a storm. At one point it seemed as if somebody was spilling out the skaters out of a bag right on the stairs. And Dave Duncan fired it up even more, offering everybody 50 bucks to go crazy - it was great. Dario Mattarolla's fronside grind in the corner where only few would dare to go (due to a hole between transitions you do not want to fall down into) is also worth mentioning.
After the ceremony, all met at the bar to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of this legendary skateboard event. It was a great party that carried on at the streets of Prague and adjacent hotels till early Monday hours. I think that the Hotel Hilton employees will speak long time about what was going on in there:) See you next year!
Christian Hosoi and Pat Ngoho