Eleven of the world’s best skateboarders made Red Bull Roller Coaster a one-of-a-kind skateboard contest again that drew thousands of spectators to Munich’s Olympic Park. Friday’s international qualifiers already set the bar high, but the intensity and the vibe of Saturday’s finals topped everything one might have expected.
In the end, it was reigning champion Jake Ilardi (USA) and – celebrating her return to competing professionally – Alana Smith (USA) who proved themselves to be true all-rounders on the shred sled and rightfully took the title of “Most versatile skateboarder in the world”.
Smith had already dominated the international qualifiers on Friday and was more than hyped to place first in the finals of a skateboard contest after taking a longer break from competing professionally.
Starting off with a 50-50 on the Cliffhanger Rail, she landed her signature kickflip disaster on the Speedy Spine perfectly and continued with a strong run that she ended with a big indy over the Wipeout Watergap to defeat Jordyn Barratt (USA) and Catherine Marquis (GER).
She explained: “I thought it was incredible! I really enjoyed the mix between street and park and the fact that we did get to skate with all the guys. Of course it’s fun to skate with the girls, too, but when you actually get to mix it up with everybody we all have a blast!”
In the men’s finals, last year’s winner Ilardi put the pedal to the metal and went all-in with two unbelievable runs to win with ease from American Alex Midler and Spaniard Jaime Mateu. He had placed second in the qualifiers and knew that he would have to give it all if he wanted to stand on the podium again.
Ilardi said: “It is all about having fun out here in Munich. Practice your tricks a lot and stay focused. Go fast. I would love to see a lot more events like this. There are a lot more skaters who have adapted to both terrains. This win is 10 times better than last year. I nailed the first two runs. It took a lot of pressure off the last run.”
Skateboarding is not solely about competing – above all it’s about having fun and Mateu incorporated that credo. Although his final run was long over and he had no chance of touching Ilardi’s score, he threw himself down the extension of the Highstriker Quarter with a nollie blindside 180 into the transition which he took three hard slams for to finally land for the crowd.
The same goes for Briton Alex Hallford, who placed first in the qualifiers but could not keep his scores high in the finals. Being the only skater who had successfully ridden the BF Goodrich Tire, he wouldn’t stop skating until he had cleared the loop again for the loud crowd.