Freestyle skaters stage global battle

Top skaters converge at the Cloverdale Rodeo this weekend for the World Roundup Freestyle Skateboard competition.

Darryl Grogan of the U.S. is one of the competitors at the World Round-up Freestyle Skateboarding competition in Cloverdale.

Darryl Grogan of the U.S. is one of the competitors at the World Round-up Freestyle Skateboarding competition in Cloverdale.

Skateboarding icon Monty Little brought the world’s best to Vancouver for Expo ‘86. Now he’s bringing them to Cloverdale.

He and several colleagues are tireless ambassadors for a high-discipline sector of skateboarding Little says has been in the shadows too long.

In staging the World Round-Up Freestyle Skateboard Competition, they hope to change that by taking advantage of a captive audience.

The Cloverdale Rodeo is Canada’s second largest rodeo, with an annual attendance of more than 80,000. “That’s a lot of potential spectators to skate for and to highlight flatland freestyle skateboarding,” he says. What’s more, the currently ice-free surface of the Cloverdale Curling Rink, which is hosting the Round-up, presents a flawless concrete floor.

“Skaters are going to love it,” he says. “It’s guaranteed to give us some outstanding performances.”

The round-up is a pro and amateur freestyle competition that’s drawing competitors from around the world. Some 40 contestants from at least 10 countries will be represented this weekend at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds, when the competition gets underway, Friday night, and continuing Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

There’s $10,000 in cash prizes up for grabs, earning RSVPs from skaters like Spain’s Kilian Martin, Darryl Grogan and Terry Synnott from the U.S., and Canadian Kevin Harris.

Nine-time world champ Guenter Mokulys of Germany has confirmed, along with talents like Mike Osterman (U.S.), Brazil champions Rene Shigueto and Per Cangaru, and women’s world champion Mic Murayama of Japan.

In freestyle, the emphasis is on technical tricks performed on flat ground, and competitors will go head-to-head in three daily competitions: best routine, best trick, and 360 spin-off.

The “Battle format” means skaters will be put into groups and will compete together, each taking turns performing their best tricks. If they blow one, they’ll have to sit out until their turn comes again.

Monty Little[Left, Monty Little tests out one of the four skate parks he’s helped design, Seylynn Skatepark in North Van]

There are three heats for each show, with a DJ spinning tunes.

Little expects the battle format will be a crowd pleaser that will keep everyone pumped up, and make it more fun for the skaters, too.

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