The 2016 Vans Hi-Standard Series takes place at Le Relais, Québec, Canada
When style is everything and the only rule is no spins over a 720, it's guaranteed to be contest vibe that maximizes fun for everyone. That's exactly what went down Saturday, January 23rd, when the 2016 Vans Hi-Standard Series rolled into Le Relais, near Québec City, Canada.
The second stop, after the series kick-off last week, saw incredible sunny blue skies, a warm-for-Québec -15˚C (5°F) temperature and a showing by Vans pros Phil Jacques and Will Lavigne who were on hand to help judge and hand out $2,500 in mostly $5-bills to all worthy competitors
Like every Vans Hi-Standard Contest the day was broken up into two parts: a Big Air-style jam and the Van Doren Rail Best Trick. To make the jump section fun for everyone of all ability levels, it featured two different take-off options--a 25- and 45-footer; and the rail section was made up of a flat rail, a flat-down rail followed by another flat rail.
For Vans pro Phil Jacques the best thing about the day was the chill vibe.
"The fact that the focus is on style and not necessarily the greatest trick, I find that cool," says Jacques. "It teaches the young kids to learn the basics with board control and style instead of going for it with a 1080."
But clearly some of the kids at Le Relais had a little more than a grasp of the basics during the Big Air jam. Max Desgagne took home many $5-bills throughout the day and earned the esteemed title of MVP.
In the Van Doren Rail Best Trick, it was David Touriginy who grabbed $200 for his impressive Half-Cab Nosepress Backside 180-Out on the flat-down-flat rail in the 15 and Under division. And in the super-tight 16 and Up category, Pierric Vaillancourt's sick Cab 270 Blunt on the same setup secured him the biggest cash prize of the day: a whopping three $100-bills.
For showing incredible heart, the Vans Hi-Standard Most Improved Rider went to Marguerite Sweeney and the Worst Bail of the day went to Sam Bouchard.
But for some of the more creatively-inclined, the best part was the House of Vans Art Workshop featuring Montreal artist, LeBicar, who was on hand adding his own custom artwork to a few pairs of Vans Classic Slip-Ons and inviting Vans Hi-Standard Series spectators and family to create their own custom works of Vans art. The standout winners here today were Elliot Laplante-Nadeau, Elisabeth Lecompte, and Olivier Desforces.
And always a huge hit with the crowd at every stop, Vans staff were busy at their tent as the base of the hill on the waffle irons keeping the masses filled with tasty waffle-sole inspired treats.
The next North American stop of the Vans Hi-Standard Series is at Waterville Valley, New Hampshire on Saturday, February 6th, after the series returns from across the Pacific Ocean with stops at Mellow Parks, Beijing, China and Phoenix Park, GW, South Korea next Saturday January 30th, 2016.
All competitors are encouraged to pre-register for all North American events, which close the Thursday before each contest. For more info on the Vans Hi-Standard Series, go to vans.com/histandardseries.