Although it was hard to be sidelined at the Combi Classic this year, it was nice to have the opportunity to take a step back to fully appreciate how far girls skateboarding has come since the contest’s inception.
The combi serves as a great marker for how much the pool of talent has grown. Only a few years ago, WCS had a challenging time finding 12 competitive female bowl skaters to invite to the girls division at the Protec Pool Party. Now, the pool floods with girls and women from all over the world, all of who can hold their own in a challenging bowl.
This year’s event featured 35 skaters ages 7-51. There were 3 divisions: 14 & under, 15 & up and Pro.
The 14 and under division was particularly impressive. Standouts included: seven-year-old Minna Stess who was doing proper backside airs in the round, nine-year-old Brighton Zeuner who was rock n’ rolling everywhere including the finger hip, 50-50ing the round and popping backside airs, and 10-year-old Spencer Breaux who was airing fs and bs over hips as well as doing front 360s and fakie inverts.
Pauline Branom’s beautiful indy airs just barely missed the podium. Her combination of airs and sweeper combos put her in 4th.
However, Bryce Wettstein was going higher, faster and grinding further, earning her 3rd place in the 14 & under division.
The second place finisher was a newcomer from Japan. Kisa Nakamaura had a quiver of tricks that set her apart from the rest. Her lines were filled with big backside airs in the square, front smiths in the round, fs 360s and even miller flips.
Australian sensation Poppy Starr soared into first place with bs airs taller than herself. She linked huge airs with 5050s through corners and gay twists. Despite a tough slam looping out of a gaytwist in the finals, Poppy came back strong and finished the finals with a powerful run through the entire bowl.
The rate at which the AMs are progressing is incredibly impressive. So many of these girls have learned a ton in the past few months since Exposure. A prime example of this is the winner of the 15+ division, Beverly Flood. Despite fracturing her wrist the night before the contest, she pieced together consistent lines full of perfect airs including liens and mutes and even proper inverts stalled on her crushed wrist.
Beverly’s tenacity and consistency earned her a well-deserved first place finish in the 15 and over division.
Jordyn Barratt was right behind her with speedy frontside grind reverts all over the bowl. Her lines also included rock n’ rolls in the square corner and b-s 5-0s in the round.
In 3rd place was Brittany Conrad with 5050s, backside airs and back ds in the shallow.
The absence of Mimi Knoop, Lizzie Armanto, Hunter Long and myself allowed a new dynamic in the Pro division. Many were especially excited by Arianna Carmona’s decision to finally skate in the Pro division. She has been winning all of the amateur competitions and destroying the combi on a daily basis. She recently worked many new tricks to perfection and flawlessly incorporated them into her contest lines.
Arianna Carmona was, without a doubt, the most consistent skater that day. She didn’t step off her board throughout prelims or finals. She held great speed through corner boardslides, 5050s over hips, bonelesses, backside airs and corner airs. Her consistency, lines and speed earned her 4th place in her first pro contest. Congratulations, Arianna!
Everything Nora Vasconcellos does oozes with style and grace. Her backside airs are nothing short of an artform. Unfortunately, her short runs kept her off the podium and she finished in 5th place.
Right behind Nora was Nicole Hause. Nicole is a treat to watch, she is full commitment all the time, even if it means hitting your wheels on the coping on the way in from a 3 ft bs ollie. She blasted head-high frontside airs and ollies into 6th place.
It’s always a treat seeing Alana Smith skate. One day she’s skating the Phoenix AM with the boys of street skating, the next day she’s blasting on vert. Her last run blew everyone away: Huge back stales, speedy hurricanes and even blunt to fakies in the round.
Allysha was going so high I think she gave herself a nosebleed. However, after cleaning herself up, she poured her entire bag of tricks into the bowl: Bonelesses into the corner, lien tailslides, judo airs, body jars, stalefishes into the corner, les twists, inverts…
However, Julz was on fire. She charged with Hewitt-like lines into Frontside 5050s through corners, andrechts over hips and a variety of airs. Each trick was an amazing combination of fierce speed and immense precision. Her last run was well over a minute long and used every corner and hip in the bowl. Even when it looked like she was losing speed or steam, her next wall would miraculously crush a dozen coping blocks. Julz Lynn knows every inch of the combi.
I’m glad I had the opportunity to feel the energy and excitement of the families, supporters and fans that came out to watch the event. It seems counter-intuitive for Vans to keep something so progressive a secret. Perhaps they will see the value of making the Girls Combi Classic a public event. It would not only help grow women’s skateboarding by allowing more than the current loyal fans to watch the contest, but could also bring many new customers to their store. Let’s cross our fingers for a public event with a live webcast next time…
1. Julz Lynn $4,000
2. Allysha Bergado $2,000
3. Alana Smith $1,000
4. Arianna Carmona $900
5. Nora Vasconcellos $700
6. Nicole Hause $500
7. Sara Thompson $400
8. Erin Wolfkiel $250
9. Katherine Folsom $150
10. Cara Lawson $100
11. Jean Rusen
12. Denise Fleming
Am 15 and over
1. Beverly Flood $500
2. Jordyn Barratt $300
3. Brittney Conrad $200
4. Alisha Stevens
5. Kayla Caballero
6. Christin Borski
7. Cheryl Jumao-as
8. Mary D’Antoni
9. Canasas Burns
Am 14 and under
1. Poppy Starr Olsen $500
2. Kisa Nakamaura $300
3. Bryce Wettstein $200
4. Pauline Branom
5. Spencer Breaux
6. Annika Vrklan
7. Minna Stess
8. Hannah Chumley
9. Brighton Zeuner
10. Tarryn Ross
11. Michelle Yoon
12. Jordan Beal
13. Klara Vrklan
Check out our previous year coverage: