Feature Article

BEST OF BOTH / Diary of a madman

Kevin and Thilo tie for 1st place and then Ronnie chimes in as the 3rd person.

Ron Yerman
Ronnie Yerman – frontside nosedive

After finalizing the thought of hosting the 2nd annual best of both contest the big question was: “how do you keep it core and avoid selling out?”

Well, I wanted to make it bigger and badder than the first one, especially since we also had the new 40 foot mini and a freshly paved street area. Crowning the only skater owned mini skatepark in Europe. The first idea was to invite somebody over from America who was unsponsored but a killer skater in his own league. Going to Concrete Disciples and asking the magic question was easy, the poll on the forum was a hot one with fan favorite Ronnie Yerman from Fontana CA. coming out of the poll as the winner.

In between one sponsor said goodbye and the terror started. I had Lars Greiwe of Carhartt providing the other 50% of the batch of money I needed. After several feverish calls people who cared chimed in to fill the gap, Tim Korbmacher/Carhart store Düsseldorf andJoerg Ludewig/urban supplies-thanks .They provided the cash and were also 110% supportive when it came to the idea of running something core that would be appealing to the masses.

One week before the contest started Ronnie showed up at Duesseldorf airport and he stayed with us for a week. Blind dates are dangerous, everybody knows that and I also had extremely bad experiences in the past. Ronnie made a more than positive difference. Super friendly, stylish ripper, good buddy, humble, whatever you want-he has it. The Californians can be proud to have such a ripper among their rows, that’s for sure.

The week before the contest started was short, well at least the days were extremely long with preparations.
Kevin Wenzke and Ronnie Yermann are the new international skate buddies couple, that’s for sure. The only thing missing was them exchanging kisses. All kidding aside it was really cool to see such a great acceptance and comradery!

Saturday morning came and along with that a huge crowd and a good attendance of skaters. An international mix and a huge crowd made this thing blow through the roof on Saturday and Sunday. Lets start with the kiddie contest sponsored exclusively by the vibes store in Duesseldorf. A class with a max age of 13 was well attended and sported some new local talents and other kids traveling long distance to be part of the contest to happen. Yannik Klueh taking 3rd place after only 4 months of skating the factory bowl with some nice indy airs, good carving lines and 50/50s. That’s how you progress in a short time and get stylish too when you hang out with the guys at the factory bowl, Kevin Wenzke being his biggest inspiration Yannick proved the point that pool skating is alive and kicking. Erik Sprinborn took 1st place and Christopher Koop 2nd in a class of 12 participants.

After that the am contest started and in a heated battle with ams who didn’t look like ams, due to the talent shown anticipations were high regarding the pro contest to follow these heats. Like out of nowhere one name made it to the top with a totally unique stile and tricks long forgotten. Not really olds chool and also zero newschool Dennis Degenhardt fills the gap between those time lines. It was almost like watching on of those old powell flix a la “ban this”. Layback rollouts, backside grab roll ins, crailslide over the deathbox, fakie 360 boneless, airwalk fingerflip to tail-these were some of the tricks that skyrocketed him into 1st place ams.

Kevin Wenzke 6ft fs air
Kevin Wenzke 6ft fs air

At that time crowd of spectators was already growing immensely considering the small dimensions the factory bowl offers for spectators. When the pros started it seemed to explode. Lots of good folks present to make this one a special for the crowd. The final 6 contestants showed high tech bowl skating to the max with Ronnie and Kevin battling it out for highest airs in the deep end 6-7 foot were normal for those two. Thilo Nawrocki laid down some fine lines and also the first transfer from the factory bowl into the mini ramp next to it. In the end when the dust settled Kevin walked away being the #1 for this day followed by Thilo, Ronnie, Björn, Jason, and Dennis.

The crowd went wild at this contest and the next thing to follow it was the after contest party which had 2 bands playing: Torpedo Monkey and Electric Eelshock made a damn good show and the beer was flowing and flowing and flowing. A lot of beer has been devoured that night and so it came to the point that almost everybody had a hangover the next day, the contest got delayed and finally made its way to the OMSA bowl which is a backyard bowl and way harder to skate than its big brother. Everybody was in for a surprise when Jason parks tore it up to the max and showed the younger ones how to kill it, he earned a well respected 1st place for his attempts to thin down his indies. Thilo ruled the upper bowl with fluid and consistent lines including airwalks, switch 360 grinds over the deathbox and various other antics. Kevin got 3rd due to his flu which came through that day, the masses of alcohol consumed the night before didn’t really help him to kill the virus it seemed..

Julian Dykmans fsollie melon grab
Julian Dykmans fsollie melon grab

It came to the last big thing that day when we had the highest air contest at the factory bowl with a purse of 1500 euros. Only a few brave warriors made it down there. Martelleur, Dykmanns, and, and, and they all couldn’t match what Ronnie and Kevin set as a standard. Kevin didn’t even participate in the beginning and Ronnie set the standard with a 5 foot air. Then Kevin comes in and blows it up to 6 .both riders were extremely handicapped, Kevin had the flu and Ronnie a few very painful injuries from the last few days. The heat was on and two crowd pleasers battled it out, both extremely close together. Ronnie comes up with a 6 footer into hang up followed by a fat splat into the flat of the deep end which took him out for the rest of the contest, big bummer to say so. Kevin being reluctant to win like this throws in almost 7 feet of air and a few more attempts to go for 8 and more. He wins it and then the surprise of the day happens. at the awards he announces that he is more than willing to share this trophy with his buddy Ronnie who walks into the bowl not really understanding what’s going on at this moment. Kevin showed again why he is a role model in this sport and set another example. What a perfect way to finish a good and fun-filled 2 day contest.

At the end of this article I really want to thank a few people where I can’t say it often enough: Hans, Joerg, Tim, Alex, Thilo, Kevin!, Johannes and his superdad, my wife for hosting skaters and taking care, and all the others, if you’re not listed here you are in my head for sure! Finally everybody wants to know who is the best of both:

Kevin and Thilo tie for 1st place and then Ronnie chimes in as the 3rd person.

See you soon enough for the 3rd best of both contest hosted by pavel!

More pics by Tim Korbmacher and Gerd Rieger