Words and Photos: Natalie Langmann
It was well fitting to let loose the non-point collecting, non-prize winning event of Boarderstyle to kick off Monster's Shred Show in Whistler yesterday. Boarderstyle is a hectic and carnage-filled event in the name of fun that puts heats of four shreds going neck-and-neck down a hairy boardercross course of whoops and banks, with added slopestyle features: a step-up over stairs with trees that funnel riders into tightness, a non-trick required rail that you just need to find speed over, ending up with a step-down into a final jump that requires a mandatory spin off the end; whereas, you're pretty praying that you're not hucking into your homie beside you.
Best part is? If you're hauling into the last jump, and you're in third and you throw down a better rotation, or even fourth and you pull out a super sick trick, you'll advance over the fastest guy to the finals. Let's just say, the judges were out to shatter dreams this year – no holds bar, someone was going to get bumped out if their tricks didn't hold up. As head judge (and creator of Boarderstyle) Paul Rak explained the tricks weren't as strong to bump anyone out last year, but this year there was a well-rounded group of shreds in the finals with some solid tricks up their sleeves: TTR point collectors like Jon Versteeg, backcountry shreds like Beau Bishop and Warren Williams, old-school shreds like Kevin Sansalone and Rube Goldberg, to a couple of team managers, Travis Williams and Myrosha Daley, and super loce's like Zach Wade who will wait all year to take this one day off from banging nails to come throw down.
Coming into the sem-finals, a heat of Travis Williams, Myrosha Daley, Richie Johnson, and Kevin Sansalone upped the ante and dreams did indeed get shattered: Williams, known for being one of the fastest riders in the valley, came across the finish in the lead but not with the strongest trick, a no-grabbed Frontside Three; whereas, Daley and Sansalone were right behind with grabbed and stomped Fives.
Williams was given the bump and into the finals the carnage ensued. Versteeg crossed the finish line first with a Backside Seven to take his second win in Boarderstyle, followed by Sansalone's Backside Five, Marty Jaureguialzo with a massive Front Flip and Daley switching it up with a Cab Five.
"The last run was pretty crazy a lot of tension coming in," said Versteeg, rocking the grand prize of a very shiny crown. "I had last pick of the gate, so I was in the farthest right one, but I was first out of the gate, and I just hooked left, and pretty much cut everyone off to find a good line for the first turn, and after the second turn, I was still in the lead. I said to myself, 'Well don't look back; just go as fast as I can.' As for the evolution of the course, Versteeg admits, that the first year when he won, that the jump was pretty small. "When you are coming around the final corner so fast, you don't want to lose speed; you want to go fast as you can, but then you'll end up going to the bottom of the jump, so it's rad they built the jump a little better this year with a longer landing."
As for second-place Sansalone, this was his first year, and he almost "pussed-out", but Goldberg's heckling made him stay. "It was gnarly; the fog was so thick," he admits, "but the course was fun; although, the last jump which was pretty hairball. Jon is fast; he's a powerhouse and has more tricks off the last jump, so I was pretty stoked to be there right with him."